The Waldorf, London

Pictured, in 1915: Madeleine Astor (1893–1940), a survivor with her unborn child of the sinking in 1912 of the RMS Titanic.

From the website Arthur Lloyd.co.uk:

“The Aldwych in the Strand, London, was created in 1902 but had been mooted for the previous decade. When the plans were finally agreed a great swath of London’s familiar streets was soon to disappear and along with them four of London’s great Theatres were to disappear too. The new circular road scheme was named the Aldwych, after the old Wych Street which was one of the casualties of the new scheme. (Arthur Lloyd lived at 39 Wych Street for a short period in 1892.) Also created in the Aldwych scheme was the street now known as Kingsway which reaches all the way up from the Aldwych to Holborn.

The four Theatres which disappeared for the construction of the Aldwych were the Olympic Theatre in Wych Street and the Opera Comique in the Strand which were both closed in 1899; the Globe Theatre in Newcastle Street which closed in 1902; and the old Gaiety Theatre in the Strand which closed in June 1902, although the Gaiety would be rebuilt on a new prominent site at the head of the new Aldwych scheme and reopen in 1903. Two other new Theatres would also be constructed on the Aldwych to accompany the Gaiety; the Waldorf and Aldwych Theatres, which were built either side of the new Waldorf Hotel as one huge block in 1905.”

In 1889, impresario Edward Sanders had decided to build a major West End hotel on the northern rim of Aldwych. Sanders partnered with accountant Thomas Wild to raise the sum of £700,000, with the assistance of William Waldorf Astor, after whom the hotel was named in gratitude.

The Waldorf has a 190 foot curving facade made of Aberdeen granite with a frieze of cherubs depicting the arts and sciences. Sanders and Wild hired the young architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie to build the hotel. Marshall Mackenzie (brother-in-law of distinguished Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh) went to New York to capture the pioneering new style in luxury.

The Waldorf, London, opened in 1908 with a vision to follow the American tradition of offering not just rooms but a place for passers-by to stop for dinner or afternoon tea, or just a drink.

In 1958, scenes from the “Titanic film” A Night to Remember were shot in the hotel’s Palm Court, as director Roy Ward Baker thought the Palm Court Lounge ideal for depicting the interior of such a ship.

John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV was a great-grandson of John Jacob Astor. Born in 1864, he was among over 1,500 who perished in the sinking of RMS Titanic during the early hours of April 15, 1912. His second wife, Madeleine (pictured), who had accompanied him on the vessel’s maiden voyage, survived, and gave birth to their child, John JacobJakey” Astor V, on August 14, 1912, at her Fifth Avenue mansion.

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