The Principal London

The Principal London
General information
Location Russell Square, London, UK
Coordinates 51°31′22″N 0°07′30″W / 51.5227°N 0.1250°W / 51.5227; -0.1250
Opening 1898
Management Principal Hotel Company
Design and construction
Architect Charles Fitzroy Doll
Other information
Number of rooms 373

The The Principal London [1] formally known as Hotel Russell is a four-star hotel, located on Russell Square, Bloomsbury, in the London Borough of Camden, owned and operated by the Principal Hotel Company. It was built in 1898 by the architect Charles Fitzroy Doll. It is distinctively clad in decorative thé-au-lait ("tea with milk") terracotta, and was based on the Château de Madrid on the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. Its restaurant, which was named after the architect but has since been renamed Tempus, is said to be almost identical to the RMS Titanic's dining room which he also designed. Also in the hotel is ‘Lucky George’, a bronze dragon on the second floor stairs. An identical copy was on the Titanic.[2]

"Lucky George"

Known for its palatial design, the hotel's fixtures and fittings included £25,000 worth of furniture, an ornate Pyrenean marble staircase and an interior sunken garden. Each room was fitted with an en-suite bathroom, a great innovation at the time.[2] A sister hotel by the same architect, the Imperial Hotel, was also built on Russell Square, but was demolished in the late 1960s.[3]

The life-size statues of four British Queens above the main entrance were the work of the sculptor Henry Charles Fehr. The hotel's four suites are named after them: Victoria, Elizabeth, Anne and Mary.[2]

The façade, by Doll, incorporates the coats of arms of the world's nations as they were in 1898 in the spandrels of the first floor.[4]

The hotel was one of the few that were not taken over by the War Office during the Second World War. It survived the war largely intact, but the magnificent dome that stood on the roof was badly damaged in an air raid of 1941 and not replaced.[4]

See also


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