Restoration has begun on Liverpool’s historic Albion House to transform it into a Titanic-themed hotel.
Albion House was built in 1896 on the corner of James Street and is recognised by its ‘streaky bacon’ exterior due to the use of striped red brick and pale Portland stone. The iconic building was home to the shipping company, White Star Line, which is famous for its vessel Titanic, which sank after hitting an iceberg 101 years ago.
Once rumours of the disaster began to spread, families gathered at the Albion House in hope of news. Officials were too afraid to leave the building so began shouting out names of the deceased from one of the balconies.
Lawrence and Katie Kenwright who run the hotel business Signature Living, purchased the Grade II-listed building for £1.6 million with the aim to transform it into a boutique-style hotel. The conversion, which is set to cost £5.5 million, will be called ‘Signature Living Hotel – The Home of the Titanic’, in memory of the vessel.
A spokesman for Signature Living said: “Our team have quite a job on their hands in balancing the style, fun and overall unique nature of our accommodations with the integrity and preservation of such a landmark building.”
Howard Nelson, the founder of the Titanic Heritage Trust, told JMU Journalism: “These buildings get neglected and by the time they get round to restoring them it’s too late. So the mere fact that it’s being restored now keeps the legend alive.”
Mr Nelson added that in the future he would like to see a Titanic exhibition within the hotel to further preserve the legacy. He stressed his desire for it to be done in good taste and to reveal some of the original features.
In more recent years, the unique features of the Albion House have been covered with false ceilings, creating smaller rooms which hide the original and ornate interior.
The movie-inspired hotel is set to open its doors in April next year, initially on weekends only, with work continuing throughout the year to complete the multi-million pound project.