in the beginning ….
Dudley or Duddeley as it used to be called, was predominately, a mining area. Dudley castle was situated on top of lime-stone workings. The whole area became known as “The Black Country” because of the mining and industrial trade, such as the chain mailing. Part of the chain used on the infamous Titanic was made in Dudley.
The railway station opened in 1850, the main hotel at the time was called “The Castle”. In 1896 a meeting was called to discuss the building of a new hotel, which was to be known as “The Station Hotel”, the license was granted and Wolverhampton & Dudley brewery proposed the building be situated on the corner of Birmingham Road and Trindle Road.
The hotel partially opened on the 28th May 1898, the building was black and white with a courtyard and stables. The main entrance for horses and carriages is now the entrance that is situated on the corner of Trindle & Castle Hill. At the time, it had a fountain situated where the traffic lights are now. Carriages and later cars could drop people off right out-side, infront of the main doors.
The fountain outside of the building had been moved from its original site at the top of Castle Hill, which made way for “The Earl Of Dudley’s” statue. The horses would have used the fountain as a drinking site before moving on their way.
Opposite the Hotel “The Opera House” opened in 1899, it brought to Dudley the rich upper classes, who would often frequent the Opera House in their masses.
In 1933, The Opera House burned down, bringing a sad demise and the end of an era. Eventually it was to be replaced by a fine modern theatre, renamed “THE DUDLEY HIPPODROME”. The same year that the theatre opened its doors in 1936, “THE STATION HOTEL” was extended and modernised. Many of the big stars that appeared at the Hippodrome chose to complement their visit to the Black Country by residing at The Station Hotel.
One story of this era is that when George Formby was starring at the Hippodrome he stayed at the hotel. A large crowd of fans gathered to get a glimpse of the star. And he reportedly performed for the crowd from the balcony of his suite! Other stars that have stayed at the Station Hotel include BOB HOPE, LAUREL& HARDY & JONNY RAY. The hotel was considered very upper class and modern for the era.
In the 60s, the hotel was modernised and a cocktail bar opened upstairs. In addition, a function room bar was added downstairs-this was reputed to be the longest bar in the country at the time! An elderly gentleman reminisces that after watching shows at the Hippodrome, he and his wife would long to visit The Station Hotel for an after-show drink but recalled that they could not afford to drink in such an upmarket establishment.
Going back to the beginning, researching the building was almost impossible due to the misplacement of many archive records. However, it is up to you to decide whether the folklore stories told about the hotel over the years are true or not…..
The story tells of a hotel manager who enticed a servant girl into the cellar. Spurning his advances and threatening to tell his wife, the girl was murdered by the hotel manager. He strangled and stabbed her then hid her body in a barrel.
When ‘Most Haunted’s’ resident psychic Derek Accora came to the hotel, he reported the name of a male spirit George Williams/Williamson whom was having an affair with a female by the name of Elizabeth Hitchen. George Williams allegedly murdered Elizabeth by strangling and stabbing her. Accora then revealed that Williams disposed of Elizabeth’s body by means of a chute within the hotel, which would have been used, at the time, for the delivery of bottles and barrels. Williams was then reported to have buried the body near the front of the hotel. According to Derek Accora, Elizabeth Hitchen’s body remains there.
The second spirit that Accora picked up on was that of George Lawley, whom he described as a writer who knew of Elizabeth’s murder and wrote about it in a ledger that he is reported to have hid. To this day, the ledger has not been found. It appears that a character of this name was a local historian who, at the time worked as a writer for the brewery!
Derek Accora also picked up on the spirits of two children. Catherine aged 6/7 who died under the wheels of a carriage and Richard aged 3/4 who passed away after a blood related illness.
The other, as yet unnamed spirit who Accora picked up on is rumoured to be sitting, waiting for someone in the infamous ROOM 214.
No one has yet to prove the existence of these spirits, as was mentioned earlier, there are many records missing.
Judge for yourself, come and spend the night at the Station Hotel.