AT the bottom end of Lowesmoor in Worcester, where the road forks towards Rainbow Hill or Shrub Hill, there used to stand a very obvious property called the Harrington Hotel.

It always bore an image of faded glory, but that was not really true, because the Harrington never had any glory.

Neither was it a “proper” hotel, since it never had a drinks licence. It was a strangely quiet and faceless place.

For more than 100 years – until the end came via the demolition men’s wrecking ball in 1976 - it had chiefly been the haunt of commercial travellers and salesmen, who made use of its walking distance proximity to Shrub Hill railway station.

Although most local people knew where it was, because thousands passed by every day, few ever ventured in. Indeed, when this newspaper was writing its obituary as it crumbled to the ground, long serving members of staff could never remember having to go to the Harrington for anything.

It was built in the 1840s on part of what was a crab apple orchard. Flat-fronted and rather angular, it had 13 rooms (perhaps an ominous number) and was designed as a functional rather than luxurious hotel. Certainly not with hosting major functions in mind.

The adjacent street furniture didn’t help either. In front, on the road junction, stood an iron-railed public lavatory with a stone drinking trough for horses alongside. Not far away, on the other side of Lowesmoor, was the premises of Harrison and Bowen skin merchants with an attendant smell in warm weather.

It may not have been the most elite site in the city, but its trump card was its closeness to the station in the days when railways were the most popular form of cross-country travel. Salesmen arrived with their wares in huge wicker baskets and these would be pushed the half mile or so from the station to the Harrington by “out porters”, who took over from the “in porters” working within the station itself.

As well as taking the commercial travellers' baskets to their hotel, the porters would be engaged to come back the next day and push the goods from customer to customer as the salesmen went around the city. The heyday of the Harrington seems to have been in the early part of the 20th century. From the 1930s, as salesmen increasingly took to the car, it gradually went downhill. Its lack of a licence leading it to become little more than a glorified boarding house.

By the early 1970s the building was beginning to fall apart, but the cost of renovation and repairs even deterred the Social Services Committee from converting it into a hostel for the homeless. Other parties looked then turned away and it was some irony that no-one could afford the Harrington, known in its day as one of the cheapest hotels in town. So down it came.