Finding Dad’s Hotel

We arrived in London after an eight-hour flight from Atlanta. Neither my husband nor I had slept much, but that did not matter.  There was a lot to do on this particular trip—some sightseeing, some research, and the ceremony honoring my Irish-inventor ancestor, Louis Brennan. I had mapped out the itinerary for each day, and my husband–being a very good sport–agreed to accompany me on my mission to locate the Kingsway Hotel, where Dad’s family had stayed on their way to the Soviet Union.

The first stop was a local history library, which turned out to be a rather lengthy walk from our hotel, not the easy stroll which I had assured my weary spouse it would be. Nevertheless, armed with a map and a lot of determination, we plotted our route and set out.  Thank goodness he has a very good sense of direction and was somehow able to get us there.

The woman I had been corresponding with was working that day and was able to locate a photograph of the hotel taken two years prior to Dad’s stay in 1931.  According to our map, 64 Guilford Street, the site where the hotel had been located, was a short walk away. Had it not, we both would have been quite unhappy.

Walking the same streets I knew Dad had walked as a young boy preparing to begin a new life in a foreign country was both exciting and sad for me.  Seeing how far the hotel had been from all the sites they visited made me rethink his family’s five-day stay in London.  Knowing they were there during the end of December, and learning that the Underground (the London rail system) existed at that time, I now think they may have ridden the train during their stay, which must have been fun for Dad. I was pleasantly surprised to see how nice that area is and imagine what it must have been like for the family to walk those same streets.  It was very different from the small New Jersey town they had left behind.

I took a picture of what it looked like today, and compared it to the photograph from the library and am quite confident it is the same building.  Next stop on my research of Dad was to be a trip to Southampton.

64 Guilford Street near Russel Square

64 Guilford Street near Russel Square

About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
This entry was posted in Dad, Jersey to Leningrad, Off Topic- Ireland & England and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Finding Dad’s Hotel

  1. Pingback: The Stars Were Aligned in London | Do Svidanya Dad

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