Celebrities galore, immaculately dressed staff and golden memories.
That's what Ronnie Joynes thinks when he thinks of his days at the Grand Hotel in Sunderland.
Thanks to Ronnie, we can now share some wonderful colorful memories of the Grand, which used to be a popular meeting place.
Unfortunately, the hotel no longer exists, as it was demolished in 1974, five years after its closure.
However, Ronnie remembers his heyday when he worked there between 1962 and 1966.
He met some of the biggest showbiz names of the time, including Hughie Green, Billy Fury, Adam Faith, Alistair Sim, Bob Monkhouse, Eden Caine, Helen Shapiro and Christopher Lee.
I remember how Hughie Green arrived with his entourage. It was late at night and the boss had closed the kitchen, so I went to prepare a sausage salad for him. He was so thankful he gave me 5 pounds
In some cases, it was not just a passing look at the stars.
Ronnie said, "I remember Hughie Green coming with his entourage. It was late at night and the boss had closed the kitchen, so I went to prepare a sausage salad for him.
"He was so thankful that he gave me a £ 5 bonus. That was almost a week's wage at the time. "
Then there was Christopher Lee, famous for his roles as Dracula in horror movies.
"I saw him sipping a Bloody Mary (tomato juice and vodka) that I thought was ironic," Ronnie said.
There are also many other memories. "I went up in an open cage one afternoon, and a guest asked me if I had a fire for her cigarette. I signed her and only then did I realize that it was Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner on Coronation Street).
And he also remembers the time when Helen Shapiro decided to play some pieces on the electric organ in a corner of the White Rose restaurant.
"I remember floating around and we had a pretty good conversation. This made my day at that time – 1963/4 – she was very famous for some pop songs, and Walk Back To Happiness was one, "said Ronnie.
He had many wonderful memories of the hotel itself.
"I remember countless employees from the main dining room, known as the White Rose Room. It was very artful with Victorian solid oak sideboards gleaming with cutlery. "
"There were many other smaller function rooms, all named after historical periods – Georgian, Jacobean, Victoria and Stuart.
"The manager was a Mr. Donaldson, who lived on the grounds with his wife and two children."
Ronnie's detail of the people he worked with is still as sharp as ever, and he remembered the head waiter, Mr. Desmond and Eric Blacklock, who were in tails and bow ties, with white vests for breakfast and dinner black.
Some of the many waitresses I remember were Yvonne, Hetty, Hazel (nickname: Stinging Nettle), Phoebe and Phylis.
"The waitresses were always immaculate in starched white aprons and caps.
"The receptionist was a lady named Dolores who worked with Jane Legge."
Ronnie added: "There was a great and friendly atmosphere at the Grand Hotel, and I have many pleasant and very happy memories of this sadly demolished building.
"I was just a trained apprentice at the time, but after a while I stood for the head waiter, Mr. Eric Blacklock.
"He was a tall 6-foot stocking gentleman who ran the dining room. I think he lived in Murton Colliery, his brother was a police officer.
"The two CEOs I remember were called Mr. Kitchener and Berry. Manager was Mr. Donaldson. "
Ronnie's Grand Hotel adventure ended in the early 1960s when he worked in the Southwest and London.
"I landed in San Remo in northern Italy for a while, and after 50 or more years, I intend to see my old favorites back in June."
In the meantime, Ronnie receives our thanks for some wonderful memories.
The hotel closed in January 1969 and was auctioned in 1971 with a starting price of £ 20,000.
However, no bids were submitted and it was withdrawn from the auction. Demolition followed in October 1974.
What are your memories of the Grand Hotel? E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org