Architect: Mangnall & Littlewood
Developed by the Southport Hotel Company (funded mainly by Manchester merchants), the Birkdale Palace Hotel was built on a 20 acre site fronting the Birkdale shore. The 200ft long luxurious hotel opened in 1866 at a cost of £60,000 and was a very grandiose building, having magnificent reception rooms and 75 bedrooms.
A long standing rumour was that the hotel had been built the wrong way round, so instead of the hotel front facing out to sea, it faced inland. It was also said that the architect, William Mangnall of Mangnall & Littlewood then committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the building. Unfortunately for lovers of ghost stories, research has revealed that there is no evidence that the hotel was built the wrong way round and William Mangnall actually died of consumption at Lord Street, Southport, two years after the hotel was opened.
In 1881 the hotel was completely refurbished and the grounds were reduced to five acres, as the hotel had previously gone into liquidation. A variety of baths were installed, a pipe built to draw in salt water from the sea and an elevator installed to all floors. It re-opened with over 60 staff, as a Hydropathic establishment. Later, electric lighting was installed, produced by a steam driven generator. The hotel was still in use up until the 1960s, when its final owners, Heddon Hotels, went into liquidation and were wound up in 1967. The hotel was demolished in 1969.