Sadly now closed, the the Crown Hotel was opened in 1899 by entrepreneur Frank Crocker. It featured a lavish interior with ornate plasterwork and much use of different coloured marble. In 1987 it was renamed Crocker's Folly in reference to an apocryphal story about Frank Crocker. The story goes that he built the hotel in order to profit from the new Great Central Railway terminus that was then in the early stages of construction at Marylebone. Unfortunately his research was lacking and it turned out that the land nearest the hotel became part of the extensive Marylebone Goods Station, with the passenger station situated the best part of half a mile away. The story then goes that in despair and facing ruin he killed himself by jumping out of one of the upper windows. Certainly the last part of the story is demonstrably untrue - Crocker died of natural causes in 1904.
11th May 2012.