hi,clare..i lived almost by rowton house, in highgate..is there any way to re post ypor pics, please, as i have just found this site..i have many photos, some arieal,from the 60s, showing rowton house..i am looking for photos of highgate,..regards..christy.Hi,
It is a truly remarkable building, Lord Rowton really put thought into these buildings. He personally over saw the build, chose linens, equipment and supplies, he priced and tried to look out for the common man. This is a fully functioning 108 year old building. It's bound to have flaws, but won't we all at that age.
I have just returned from a sentimental visit, and yes lots not all of the original features have been preserved, restored or mimicked ... I say mimicked...where the glazed brickwork has been removed from view (it's a listed 2 building, they are not allowed to remove any interior unless pre-approved, so it was plastered over or paneled...all improvements have too be temporary/removable)...the hotel owners commissioned carpet with brick pattern...giving the bricks new life subliminally.
Behind the scenes, most of the hallways, preparation and storage areas still have the glazed brick walls, lots of circular and feature windows. As a listed building the sash windows have to be repaired or maintained.
The rooms are small but as expected, food is good. You can find very good rates online.
My Grandparents ran the Highgate Hotel 1975-79, I spent many a happy time there. I helped (played) in the kitchens, service bar in the food hall...handing out cutlery.
The men staying would be quite genuine, most understood the rules.
My Grandparents told me you can only help someone if they want to be helped. What could be provided was...i.e. shelter, bed, food and washing facilities at a minimal charge...the pool, games rooms, events were organized by the lodgers. The borders earned privileges, most were rarely turned away (drunkenness was not acceptable) . If anyone wanted jobs, they were given the respect of proving their worth (that's all most wanted and some had just re-entered the community from prison, hospitals or been displaced without credentials to support themselves)...there was always something that needed to be done.
Thievery was not acceptable, everything was counted, logged and there were resident books. Waste was not tolerated, and my Grandmother made sure it was clean.
When boarders passed, my grandparents often tried very hard to locate family and pass along the borders effects. Sometimes, they'd find savings, stuffed behind the panels in the rooms or in mattresses, pillows...this was too given to the family.
The residents always said good morning, please and thank you to my Grandparents, many greeted my sister and I. They would remember us when we visited. Or on their return would often bring trinkets, honey and cards for us. My sister and I would make blue peter style decorations to decorate the day rooms for holidays etc.
It was rare I came across an aggressive border, I always felt safe and would see most of the building daily, while collecting laundry..rubbish or just left to my own devices...most of the day the building was fairly empty. The kitchen was my favorite, lots of baking and 4 sacks of potatoes became the biggest pile of steaming mash you'd ever seen. I helped make green jelly (in charge of the spoon...chief stirrer), with a piped dollop of cream. Buckets of soup and drums of raisins for rock cakes.
The management company my Grandparents worked for folded in the mid eighties, by that time they were managing a place in East Anglia.
When I returned to the UK after much traveling, I looked the place up. I am glad it is still there and in good hands. Now I have my Grandfather's slides, pictures and memorabilia...I will be putting together a fairly comprehensive history of the place.
I will be going back.
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Pictures taken from roof top of Highgate Hotel/Rowton House 1976-79