The Sunderland woman who snubbed the chance to own a Lowry sketch

He was the painter who impressed the world.

Thursday, 14th September 2017, 11:39 am
Updated Thursday, 14th September 2017, 11:40 am
A nostalgic view of the Seaburn Hotel.
A nostalgic view of the Seaburn Hotel.

She was the Wearside woman who turned down a chance to have her own specially created piece of art from him.

The story of Sunderland mum Hilda Morritt is one of the first replies in our recent appeal for past memories of the Seaburn Hotel.

Hilda Morritt - pictured on the right on the balcony holding on to her headgear during a Royal visit - as the Queen Mother waves to the crowds below.

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We asked readers what they remembered of the hotel and whether they had a special family connection with the property in its days of the 1950s, 60s or 70s.

The response has been wonderful - and here’s the first.

Sunderland Echo reader Hilda Donaldson and her brother Colin might just have been the proud owners of a valuable sketch by LS Lowry.

That is, they would have been if their late mum Hilda Morritt had not turned down the world famous artist’s offer.

Hilda Morritt - pictured on the right on the balcony holding on to her headgear during a Royal visit - as the Queen Mother waves to the crowds below.

Her daughter, Hilda of Fulwell, Sunderland, was responding to our Echoes Appeal for readers to come forward with their own special family memories of the town’s four star Marriott Hotel in its Seaburn days.

And the story that she shared was one of ‘so near yet so far.’

Hilda explained: “Mother, who was a breakfast waitress at the Seaburn, often served Lowry during his holiday visits and even brought one of his jumpers home to wash.”

But then came the moment which will go down in history.

“One morning, he offered to do a sketch of the seafront for her and she thanked him but said she was not really interested in pictures,” said Hilda.

“She even told my brother Colin, who now lives in Cumbria, that they were not proper pictures because they had matchstick people in them,” she said.

Hilda, now aged 75, said she had heard that a hotel napkin just with Lowry’s signature on it had sold for £7,000.

And even if Hilda Morritt missed out on an opportunity, we’re hoping Echo readers will not.

We have teamed up with the city’s four star Marriott who would love to hear from you if you had a special family connection with the property in its Seaburn Hotel days of the 1950s, 60s or 70s.

Perhaps you had a 21st birthday party there, or possibly a wedding or engagement celebration.

Or there could be some other special reason to have fond memories of the hotel back in those days. Whatever your reason for getting in touch, we would love you to get involved in this nostalgic look back.

We will be printing a selection of more of your stories in our Wearside Echoes section over the coming weeks.

And the winner of the best contribution will be welcomed back to the hotel for a special lunch or dinner together with five other family members or special guests.

Marriott Sunderland Multi Property General Manager Eamonn Thompson said he was delighted that the Echo’s hotel memories appeal had attracted such a fascinating response so far.

Watch out for more great stories in the weeks to come and we have got some lovely recollections to share.

In the meantime, don’t delay - take a wander down your own memory lane today and put yourself in the running for special lunch or dinner.

There are two ways in which people can submit their memories;

l Email your contribution together with your telephone number and any pictures to [email protected]

l Post the, to Liz Codling at The Marriott, Queens Parade, Sunderland SR6 8DB - but still remember to include your telephone number.

Letters should be marked Seaburn Memories.

Readers should note that they should only send copies of pictures or those which don’t have to be returned.

l Wearside Echoes would also love to hear people who want to share their memories of any aspect of Wearside history.

Is there a pub, a restaurant, a school, a hotel or a well-known Sunderland event you would like to look back on.

Or perhaps you would like a helping hand with researching your family tree.

Whatever the reason, get in touch by emailing [email protected]