Magical memories of life behind the scenes at the Queens

Helping the Beatles to escape a throng of screaming girls by letting them access the Queens Hotel via the back entrance is just one of the fun memories Maureen Main has of her time as Head Housekeeper in the swinging sixties.

Six decades after she worked at the hotel, her daughter Vanessa arranged for her mum to take a trip down memory lane and have lunch at the place she remembered so fondly.

When the management team heard about Maureen’s close association with the hotel, they invited her back for afternoon tea and a tour that included visiting a refurbished bedroom and meeting Isis Spicer, who stepped into Maureen’s housekeeping shoes.

“I started working here at the end of 1961 until early 1964 when I left to get married and ended up taking on hotel management roles all over the country. I absolutely loved working at the Queens and the memories of my time here have never left me,”

recalled Maureen.

“The owners were called Mr and Mrs Harris and they had a suite of rooms on the first floor. Mrs Harris was a stickler for cleanliness and I remember her putting on her white gloves to check for dust – even running her fingers over the mattress springs to check they were clean,”

The hotel welcomed many stars through the door and Maureen had an autograph book where she collected signatures, sadly it is long lost but the memories remain.

Maureen happily recounted tales of meeting the Fab Four.

“They were such nice boys – so young and so polite. Outside on Osborne Road there were screaming girls of my age stopping the traffic trying to get into the hotel and my colleagues and I had to help Paul, John, George and Ringo to get into the back of the hotel unscathed – it was a magical time.

“Cliff Richard and the Everley Brothers also stayed

“I can remember when the comedy genius Tony Hancock stayed that he insisted on having all his meals in his room. He was a very private person and didn’t want to be around other people,” said Maureen.

Her weekly wage was only £4.50 but Maureen said she always felt rich and just loved the buzz of working at the hotel.

“There was always so much going on and living in-house up on the fourth floor, it sometimes seemed like I didn’t have a day off but I absolutely loved it.

“There was a lady called Mrs Hurt who lived at the hotel and she once gave me a blue dish as a gift and said she hoped I would have a happy life. Every time I look at it, I remember my time at the Queens,”

she said.

Returning to the hotel for her tour, Maureen was delighted to meet staff members and happily chatted about the good old days.

“The Queens Hotel truly is the grand old dame of Southsea. She has kept her authenticity and you can tell the team who are working here now really love to be associated with the Queens,”

she said.

Worked at the Queens Hotel?

If you used to work at the Queens Hotel and you have a story to tell, we would love to hear from you. Please email info@queenshotelportsmouth.com

23rd May 2022

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