A Secret Room and a Hidden Picture

A Hidden Picture and a Secret Room
Discoveries at the Savoy

A small room, the existence of which had not previously been known, and a picture which must have been concealed in a wall the last 17 years, were some of the discoveries that were made recently at the Savoy, where the new Restaurant Foyer is being’ “secretly” constructed.

A dummy wall between the present Foyer and the old Winter Garden – an exact replica of the original – has screened operations for the past two months. The new Restaurant Foyer is being opened after Easter.
The room, was found under the steps of the Della Robbia fountain in the Winter Garden,” said an official for the Savoy Hotel.
“The existing plans of the Savoy do not account for the room which apparently had not been used for years. It contained nothing but two old chairs.
“The picture must have formed part of the mural decorations of the original Winter Garden 20 years  ago. It is the portrait of a lady of the Louis XVI period, and the plaster with which it had been covered, instead of harming the picture has, if anything, preserved its freshness.
“The probable reason for its concealment is that when the Winter Garden was redecorated 15 or 20 years ago it was thought that the picture was painted on the wall itself, or it may be that it was not thought worth removing. Its long imprisonment, however, has dried the canvas on which it was painted and when the plaster was removed last week the lady practically fell away from the wall.”

Source: Skegness Mablethorpe and Alford News 7th April 1926

Another mystery which needs solving! And it’s not gonna be an easy matter!

I feel it’s unlikely that the Savoy Hotel, referred to in the story, is the one on North Parade which we know today – the stretch of buildings look like they were all completed at the same time. I’ve looked on the 1894 Skegness street directory and the 1928 Skegness street directory and cannot find a “Savoy Hotel” in a prominent position (ie on the Parades). There was a Saville House on the stretch formerly known as Frederica Terrace, which burned down in the Skegness Fire in 2007. But even so, this stretch ended with Callow Park House which butted up to the Pleasure Gardens. So I think we can discount this as a possible mistake in the article.

The dates connected with the Winter Gardens are perplexing, too. We’re told “the Winter Garden was redecorated 15 or 20 years ago”, which is strange because a plan for the Winter Gardens didn’t appear in an old newspaper until 1909, indicating it wasn’t even built then.

We need to hang on to this story until further clues can be gleaned! We’ll readdress this problem soon!

Putting all that aside, isn’t it a wonderful revelation about the secret room and the hidden picture? Once again we’re left wondering – where is it now?

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