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Zetland Hotel

The Zetland Hotel remains the most prominent feature of Saltburn, taking its name from the Earl of Zetland, who sold the Improvement Company the land on which to develop the town. He also performed the formal opening of the hotel on 27 July 1863. Designed by William Peachey, the building makes effective use of a splendid site, just comfortably back from the brink of a ravine leading down to the old village. This gives it splendid views along the coast and out to sea. A nineteen-eighties conversion into apartments has had minimal impact on the exterior.

The hotel was a pet scheme of Henry Pease, who persuaded his fellow S&D directors to undertake the project as a means of generating traffic. This spread any risk among a much wider shareholding base than that of the Saltburn Improvement Company. Having obtained the shareholders' consent at a general meeting, the S&D launched a design competition, whose winners were announced in March 1861. As with many such competitions, the outcome was unsatisfactory: one design had the best plan, another the best elevations. So, the job was handed to Peachey, working in harness with Henry Pease who could not conceal his glee at being able to shape the final form. Contracts were let at the beginning of August 1861, and the architect Alfred Waterhouse, then in the early stages of an outstanding career and well known to the Darlington Peases, was retained to make a quarterly inspection. Waterhouse found little to fault in Peachey's supervision.

The Zetland was originally contracted for just under £10,000 but the final total was reckoned in February 1835 as almost four times this, leading some railway directors to describe the expenditure as 'lunacy'. However, a quarter of that total was made up of furnishings and stock, almost ten percent was represented by an early extension of the building along Milton Street, and other extras included the stables. One suspects that Henry Pease, having bright ideas as the building progressed, will have had a big impact on the extras.

Rear view of the Zetland Hotel c1970, showing the trainshed which covered the continuation of the station platform.

The Zetland is set apart by two flanking roads, Milton and Dundas Streets, and enjoys unimpeded views to the east and south. The main, east front rises from a substantial terrace and features a central round turret rising to a lofty viewing platform on top of the 'telescope room'. Railway and carriage access was at the rear or west front, where a private carriage road linked the side streets. This road was bridged by a link to a separate billiard room while the kitchens were also distinct from the main building rather than being despatched to its basement, which was the customary arrangement at the time. All this displays careful planning, while the main elevations were carried through in a satisfyingly robust Italianate style.

At the back, along Milton Street, were stables, incorporating coach houses and bedrooms for livery servants. Pease did not wish them to have any windows onto the street, so Peachey provided a stately frontage in the form of a blind arcade. In a modern conversion to housing some well-designed windows have finally made it into this facade.

  Zetland Hotel Stables seen from Milton Street c1970

View from the Stable Yard





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© W. Fawcett, 2011