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Grand Hotel (Brighton)
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The Grand Hotel is a Victorian hotel in Brighton on the south coast of England. It is located on Kings Road, the main carriageway along the seafront; one of several major hotels along this road. Following the fashion to include a hotel’s parent company in its name, it is also known as the De Vere Grand, but is more colloquially known by locals as simply The Grand. It was awarded 5 star status in 1988, but has recently gone out of ratings due to lack of investment.
The hotel was designed by architect John Whichcord, and built in 1864 on the site occupied previously by a battery house. It was originally built for members of the upper classes visiting Brighton and remains one of the most expensive hotels in the town. Amongst its advance engineering features at the time was the “Vertical Omnibus”, a hydraulically powered lift operated thanks to “Monster cisterns” in the roof. This was the first lift built in the UK outside London where only two others had been installed.
The building itself is an example of Italian influence in Victorian architecture.
There are 201 rooms in the hotel, including 8 singles, 115 standard twin and standard double rooms, 31 sea-view twin and sea-view double rooms, 42 “sea-view deluxe” rooms and 4 sea-view suites, including the “presidential suite”. The hotel also boasts extensive conference facilities for up to 800 delegates.
The hotel was bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on the early morning of October 12, 1984, in an attempt to assassinate the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the Conservative Party conference. The Bomb exploded at 2.51am 12 October. It had been hidden three weeks earlier behind the bath panel of room 629. Thatcher survived the bombing, but five other people died in the attack, including Roberta Wakeham, wife of the government’s Chief Whip John Wakeham, and the Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry. A prominent member of the Cabinet, Norman Tebbit, was injured, along with his wife Margaret, who was left paralysed. Thatcher insisted that the conference open on time the next day and made her speech as planned in defiance of the bombers, a gesture which won widespread approval across the political spectrum.
The hotel was re opened in 1986. The re-inauguration was attended by Margaret Thatcher. The Concorde flew low from the South to salute the opening.