Later in the same magazine from which I scanned yesterday’s pictures, there’s another side entirely to the Ind Coope & Allsopp estate.
Yesterday’s pics seemed to offer a window onto the golden age of the pub as a centre of the community. But this age was passing even as it was being recorded. A few pages on, we get a big feature on the new jewel in the company’s crown: the Hotel Leofric in Coventry.
The magazine uses the word ‘splendour’ to describe it. What word would you use?
While it was being prepared for opening, the manager slept on a mattress on the floor. 300 men were working on it, and their wives were bussed in from Burton to do the cleaning.
If you don’t fancy that, there’s the snack bar, boasting a quick counter meal and “the longest bar in the Midlands”. This huge room is windowless, but “modern lighting and air-conditioning give it an all-the-year-round summer atmosphere”.
My favourite bit though is the cocktail bar, with its “unusual wall decoration”. Yes. Unusual. That’s a good word. This “intimate yet opulent” setting features a “cosy lounge atmosphere with a delightful Emmet-type mural.”
The thing is, last year I stayed in a hotel in Sheffield that looked pretty much identical to this one, clearly untouched for at least thirty years. It was so appalling, I went all the way through anger and disgust in a second, and came out the other side and actually enjoyed the tackiness, the sense of desolation, the broken dreams of mid-century modernism, the short-sighted folly of the architects who sought to build a brave new post-war world, futuristic and yet, at the same time, with no provision whatsoever for surviving in any decent shape beyond the present moment it was built.
Funny how the average boozers featured elsewhere in the magazine would still look appealing today, innit?