LONDON: Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square...and MORLEY'S HOTEL

No big surprise that the bits and pieces shown the past few days were from a vintage post card of London. Now the full image for your perusal.

Click on image to see it larger.

As I tend to do, I had to find something to research and I chose the hotel dead center, Morley's Hotel, opened in 1832. This proved to be a short search since the place no longer exists. By the 1930s it had been replaced by the High Commission of South Africa, in other words, their diplomatic mission.
South Africa House was built by Holland, Hannen & Cubitts in the 1930s on the site of a derelict hotel. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Well that's a bit nasty, isn't it? A derelict hotel indeed? Why just in 1920 a group from NewYork called the Colony Club intended on purchasing the place. So, was it derelict before or after we Yanks took over the place? Either way, it's gone.

But what of the old hotel? Here's a shot of it in 1920. It must have had some sort of interesting history since it stood right on Trafalgar Square. Surely a pigeon or two must have nested for awhile leaving something to history. Well, indeed:
I continued to sacrifice for the rest of the day; it didn't seem to me a sentient thing, as yet, to inquire into the means of getting away. My curiosity must indeed have languished, for I found myself, on the morrow, in the slowest of Sunday trains, pottering up to London with an interruptedness which might have been tedious without the conversation of an old gentleman who shared the carriage with me and to whom my alien, as well as comparatively youthful, character had betrayed itself. He instructed me as to the sights of London, and impressed upon me that nothing was more worthy of my attention than the great cathedral of St. Paul. "Have you seen St. Peter's in Rome? St. Peter's is more highly embellished, you know; but you may depend upon it that St. Paul's is the better building of the two." The impression I began with speaking of was, strictly, that of the drive from Euston, after dark, to Morley's Hotel in Trafalgar Square. It was not lovely—it was, in fact, rather horrible; but as I move again through dusky, tortuous miles, in the greasy four-wheeler to which my luggage had compelled me to commit myself, I recognize the first step in an initiation of which the subsequent stages were to abound in pleasant things. It is a kind of humiliation in a great city not to know where you are going, and Morley's Hotel was then, to my imagination, only a vague ruddy spot in the general immensity. The immensity was the great fact, and that was a charm; the miles of housetops and viaducts, the complication of junctions and signals through which the train made its way to the station, had already given me the scale. The weather had turned to wet, and we went deeper and deeper into the Sunday night. The sheep in the fields, on the way from Liverpool, had shown in their demeanor a certain consciousness of the day; but this momentous cab-drive was an introduction to rigidities of custom. The low black houses were as inanimate as so many rows of coal-scuttles, save where at frequent comers, from a gin-shop, there was a flare of light more brutal still than the darkness. The custom of gin—that was equally rigid, and in this first impression the public-houses counted for much.  —Henry James, London
from Bernard Brooks' Adventures: The Experiences of a Plucky Boy by Horatio Alger.

So Morley's Hotel is long gone. Raise a glass to the old place and those who passed through.

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