Stunning portraits unveiled as work continues on former seaside hotel

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry with the stunning images he created, adorning the front of the former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

They are familiar faces who all have links with a coastal town.

And as work continues on a scheme to turn a historic former seaside hotel into 15 flats and a café, a series of stunning portraits are now adorning the front of the prominent vacant building.

The former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft prior to the paintings being installed

The former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft prior to the paintings being installed. - Credit: Mick Howes

With the former Royal Court Hotel on London Road South in Lowestoft having stood empty for more than a decade, Kirkley businessman Desmond Baldry has teamed up with the owner of the building, Safdar Khan, to brighten up the area.

Mr Khan, managing director of Lowestoft Court Apartments Ltd, commissioned Mr Baldry - who runs the Adams Family Shoppe but is also an accomplished portrait artist - to create a series of artworks to go on the front windows, which will then be displayed inside the building once it is completed.

The former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft with the paintings installed

The former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft with the paintings installed. - Credit: Andrew McMeekin

The former hotel was originally opened in 1988 and ran as a 22-bedroom hotel until it closed in July 2009.

former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft

The back of the former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

The building was then used as temporary accommodation for homeless people as well as an industrial space, before being purchased in 2019 by Lowestoft Court Apartments Ltd.

former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft

The back of the former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

East Suffolk Council granted permission in November 2020 for the long-derelict Royal Court Hotel to be converted into a café and 15 flats.

Desmond Baldry former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry with the stunning images he created, adorning the front of the former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

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Work has continued since then, with Mr Baldry's stunning portraits installed on the front of the building last week.

He said: "Saf asked me about a year ago, and the idea was to create portraits of people and venues connected with Lowestoft.

Desmond Baldry former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry with the stunning images he created, adorning the front of the former Royal Court Hotel in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

"It has given the building a facelift, with Kirkley on the up.

"Each one is an original acrylic piece on canvas measuring 175cm x 110cm.

"This has been my largest project so far as I have only been doing portraits a couple of years.

"Obviously I love to do it, and the portrait painting is getting off the ground.

"Saf has worked very hard to get this project together and he was very, very pleased with the finished portraits as they have links to Lowestoft's history with people past and present featuring.

"Everybody seems to like them, people have been stopping to take photos and they have already sparked a lot of interest."

Who features on the portraits?

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Sgt Harry Daley

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Sgt Harry Daley. - Credit: Mick Howes

From top (left to right): Britain's first gay policeman from Lowestoft, Sgt Harry Daley who went on to join the Met.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Claude Castleton

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Claude Castleton. - Credit: Mick Howes

Victoria Cross winner Claude Castleton from Lowestoft.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Justin Hawkins

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Justin Hawkins. - Credit: Mick Howes

Frontman from The Darkness, Justin Hawkins, who grew up not far away from London Road South in Lowestoft.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Michael Caine

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Michael Caine. - Credit: Mick Howes

Actor Michael Caine who moved to Lowestoft in the 1950s and lived in Kirkley.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Terry Butcher.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Terry Butcher. - Credit: Mick Howes

England football captain Terry Butcher, whose portrait Mr Baldry said was "one of the most detailed", hails from Kirkley.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Emmeline Pankhurst.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Emmeline Pankhurst. - Credit: Mick Howes

Emmeline Pankhurst, who was involved in setting up Suffragette offices on Waterloo Road in Kirkley in 1914.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Giarnni Regini-Moran.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Giarnni Regini-Moran. - Credit: Mick Howes

British artistic gymnast Giarnni Regini-Moran, who trained at the nearby Waveney Gymnastics Centre.

Robert Hook Lowestoft

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Robert Hook. - Credit: Mick Howes

Bottom left to right: Robert Hook, Lowestoft lifeboatman and coxswain who saved more than 140 lives.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of John Adamson

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of John Adamson. - Credit: Mick Howes

John Adamson Lowestoft’s first recorded fisherman of colour in 1901.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Charley Davison

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Charley Davison. - Credit: Mick Howes

Olympic boxer Charley Davison, who hails from Lowestoft.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Mariners Score in Lowestoft

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Mariners Score in Lowestoft. - Credit: Mick Howes

Mariners Score, a famous Lowestoft scene.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Sir Samuel Morton Peto.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of Sir Samuel Morton Peto. - Credit: Mick Howes

Sir Samuel Morton Peto, a civil engineer, railway designer, MP and Baronet, who is credited as being the maker of modern Lowestoft.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of the beach.

Portrait artist Desmond Baldry's painting of the beach. - Credit: Mick Howes

A scene showcasing Lowestoft beach.

Portrait artist Mr Baldry is available for any paintings/commissions and if you would like further details email him via desmondsoflowestoft@gmail.com