During almost all of their married life, Meg and Charles Richardson had lived in the large old Georgian house that he had inherited from a spinster aunt. The   house   had   five   acres   of   land;   this   included   a   lake,   which   was   a   short   distance   away   from   the   house.   Charles   met   Margaret   when   they   were   both   in their   late   teens.   They   had   studied   art   together   at   the   local   college.   Charles   wasn't   very   rich,   and   made   a   small   profit   from   paintings   he   crafted.   He   also worked   for   the   local   press   drawing   cartoons   for   the   newspapers   such   as   the   Birmingham   Mail.   This   small   income   wasn't   enough   to   pay   the   family   bills, especially with a young daughter and even younger son to provide for. The   Richardson's   by   1951   had   turned   their   home   into   a   guesthouse,   which   provided   bed   and   breakfast   to   travellers   heading   to   and   from   Birmingham   -   the road through Kings Oak at the time was also the main road into Birmingham. All   that   was   to   change   with   the   announcement   of   the   motorway.   1958   saw   Charles'   widower   mother   die   and   money   raised from   her   estate   helped   the   Richardson's   buy   the   land   on   the   opposite   side   of   the   road   from   their   home.   It   had   been   a wasteland   since   the   cottages   that   once   stood   there   were   destroyed   during   the   Second   World   War.   Charles   planned   to   open a   petrol   station   on   the   site;   The   Kings   Oak   Service   Station   opened   in   1959.   It   was   renamed   the   Crossroads   Service   Station in 1963. In   1960   Birmingham   City   Council   issued   details   of   a   brand   new   motorway   that   was   to   be   built   close   to   Kings   Oak   -   so   close in   fact   -   it   cut   through   a   number   of   residents   land.   One   such   family   affected   by   the   development   was   the   Richardson's   and their B&B. When   the   motorway   development   began   Margaret   and   Charles   decided   to   close   the   guesthouse   down   -   as   the   work   and road   disruptions   made   it   impossible   to   operate.   During   this   time   the   Richardson   home   became   a   hostel   for   the   motorway workers,   and   later,   the   motel   builders.   The   new   motorway   also   affected   Meg's   sister   Kitty   and   her   husband   Dick   Jarvis. Kitty's   newsagents   on   the   South   East   side   of   the   main   road   into   Kings   Oak   had   to   be   demolished   to   widen   the   route   into the   village   as   part   of   the   new   slip   road.   They   relocated   to   a   store   in   Heathbury   where   Dick   already   worked   in   a   pottery. She opened a new newsagents store. Construction   work   began   on   the   motorway   in   late   1961   after   the   compensation   money   had   been   paid   to   the   various estates   who   lost   land   with   the   development.   In   the   same   year   Charles   Richardson   died   of   a   heart   attack.   He   left   his   widow Margaret   to   bring   up   their   two   children,   Jill   and   Sandy.   With   some   of   the   compensation   money   and   a   hefty   bank   loan Margaret   -   more   fondly   known   as   Meg   -   decided   to   take   advantage   of   having   a   motorway   running   near   her   home.   More often described these days as a Motorway Service Station back in the 1960s the buzzword for such a place was a motel. Richardson   opted   to   use   mainly   a   bank   loan   to   create   the   motel   in   order   that   should   the   venture   fail      she   could   pay   the bank   back   with   the   compensation   money   -   rather   than   risk   losing   her   home   -   but   if   it   did   prove   profitable   she   could   then invest the compensation payment in expanding the complex. With   planning   permission   granted   the   new   motel   was   swiftly   built   over   18   months   between   October   1961   and   March   1963.   The   motorway   opened   in January   1963   -   the   motel   soon   followed   in   April   of   the   same   year.   Because   the   Richardson   family   home   stood   on   the   side   of   a   cross   road   junction   Meg decided   to   call   her   new   motel   'Crossroads'.   And   it   soon   was   the   place   to   be   for   the   locals   and   travelers   alike.   It   seems   travelers   -   not   used   to   the   motel idea in the UK - enjoyed the family feel that the motel prided itself on, it was far from common, the motel oozed middle-class values and good service.
Motel History
Directors      of      Crossroads Motel     limited     at     various points     during     the     1960s included: Meg Richardson Tish Hope Bernard Booth Gerald Lovejoy Louise Borelli
Despite   not   being   an   overnight   success,   Crossroads   did   over   the   months   build   up   its   cliental   -   and   by   November   1964   the motel   was   doing   a   reasonable   trade.   It   wasn't   long   before   the   motel   had   another   rival   nearby.   In   1965   the   Fairlawns   Manor House, just one mile away on the same road, was converted into an upper-class hotel by Hugh Mortimer. The   future   of   the   motel   was   threatened   in   1966   when   a   council   proposal   to   extend   the   motorway   would   have   meant   its demolition, in the end the plan was aborted. It   is   safe   to   say   Fairlawns   management   (excluding   Hugh)   were   not   impressed   with   the   Crossroads   Motel.   The   manager Louise   Borelli,   and   her   trouble   making   brother   Kenneth,   soon   set   about   a   hate   campaign   to   close   the   rival   accommodation down   -   however   all   efforts   failed.   Things   took   a   turn   for   the   worse   when   Kenneth   kidnapped   motel   owner   Meg's   daughter Jill,   because   Hugh   had   spurned   Louise's   advances.   At   this   time   Hugh   and   Meg   were   engaged   to   be   married.   After   this incident   Meg   called   off   the   engagement.   It   was   all   very   much   tit   for   tat.   Without   Meg   knowing   her   schoolboy   son   Sandy broke into Fairlawns and switched all the sugar for salt. By   the   1980s   the   motel   boasted   over   fifty   chalets   after   the   building   underwent   a   number   of   revamps.   The   first,   in   1967, saw   the   modern   motel   foyer   rebuilt   in   a   more   traditional   style   -   although   an   explosion   had   forced   this   change.   More alterations and extensions were added in 1973 and 1976. In   1982   a   major   rebuild   took   place   after   a   fire   in   November   1981   had   destroyed   most   of   the   1960s   buildings   and   gutted   the 1970s   renovations.   In   the   same   year   Meg   left   the   motel,   with   the   shares   going   to   her   daughter   Jill.   Other   shareholders included   David   Hunter,   who   bought   into   the   motel   in   1971   and   later   accountant   Adam   Chance   and   businessman   J.Henry Pollard. The   fire   proved   lucrative   for   Crossroads;   it   enabled   the   motel   to   expand   into   a   huge   complex   with   improved   bar   and restaurant   facilities.   The   motel   namesake   -   the   cross   road   junction   was   replaced   with   a   roundabout   in   1982   as   part   of   the improvements   to   the   site.   There   were   also   plans   to   take   over   the   Slotter   Lodge   manor   house   next   door,   however   not   to the   motel's   advantage.   J.Henry   wanted   to   open   a   supermarket   on   the   site.   It   in   the   end   didn't   happen,   after   strong   protesting   from   the   motel management.
The opening ceremony was documented in the local newspaper 'Castlewich Clarion' - and this is how the Crossroads Motel came to life in print: KINGS OAK AT A CROSSROADS, April 18th 1963; "I   name   this   motel   Crossroads,   and   God   bless   all   who   stay   here"   said   Meg   Richardson,   46,   owner   of   the   Crossroads Motel   which   opened   yesterday.   As   she   spoke   those   words,   Mrs   Richardson   popped   open   a   bottle   of   champagne   and the   resident   grounds   man,   Phillip   Winter,   28,   raised   a   union   jack   on   the   motel   flagpole. A   grand   affair   for   the   launch of the new humble establishment. After   a   round   of   applause,   Mrs   Richardson   gave   a   small   speech.   "First,   I   want   to   thank   you   all   for   being   here   today.   I am   indeed   lucky   to   have   so   many   good   friends.   In   particular,   I   want   to   thank   Mr   Prescott   my   bank   manager.   We   often think   of   bank   managers   as   hard   men   who   send   us   nasty   letters   when   we   have   an   overdraft.   Thanks   to   Mr   Prescott,   I have   the   biggest   overdraft   you   can   imagine!   The   motel   is   my   overdraft,   and   I   want   to   thank   Mr   Prescott   for   all   his patience   and   kindness   in   helping   me   to   raid   his   bank   vaults   to   pay   for   it!   I   want   to   also   thank   Hugh   Mortimer,   for building the motel." Crossroads   Motel   has   been   built   by   Mortimer   Developments,   and   the   new   building   has   been   styled   to   blend   perfectly in   with   the   family   home   that   it   is   attached   to.   The   motel   boasts   a   restaurant,   bar,   swimming   pool   and   currently twelve chalets, however by the end of 1965 Mrs Richardson expects to have forty chalets open. Reminding   the   attended   crowd   that   she   is   originally   from   Scotland,   Mrs   Richardson   burst   into   a   Scottish   accent   as she   declared,   "There's   a   wee   dram   for   all   o'   you   waiting   in   the   hoose!"   With   this   announcement   the   gathered   guests ventured   into   the   smart   modern   foyer.   Attending   the   occasion   the   Mayor   and   his   wife,   Rev   Guy   Atkins,   Otis   Brown, owner   of   The   Running   Stag,   Peter   Hull,   manger   of   the   Rivoli   cinema   and   many   villagers   also   turned   up   for   the ceremony. Speaking   to   us   later,   Kitty   Jarvis,   49,   local   newsagent   -   and   also   Mrs   Richardson's   sister   -   told   us   "I   am   so   very   proud of Meg. I wish I'd had the guts to do something on this scale."
Directors      of      Crossroads Motel   limited   in   the   1970s included: Meg Richardson David Hunter Tish Hope Mortimer Investments Adam Chance
Directors      of      Crossroads Motel   limited   in   the   early 1980s: Meg Mortimer Adam Chance Jill Chance David Hunter Barbara Hunter J. Henry Pollard
In   1985   the   entrance   of   the   motel   moved   from   the   East   of   the   main   building   to   the   West; with   the   entrance   and   reception   relocating   into   the   Georgian   part   of   the   buildings.   This change   also   saw   the   motel   expand   with   a   number   of   floors   added   for   what   were   described as   executive   guest   rooms,   the   outdoor   chalets   were   also   retained   but   modernised   for   a more   upmarket   cliental   -   Crossroads   was   finally   brave   enough   to   directly   compete   with   its nearby rival. The   renovations   brought   about   after   the   entire   site   was   sold   off   to   hotel   group,   Major International   Hotels   -   much   to   the   distaste   of   Meg's   daughter   Jill   who   had   hoped   to   keep the   motel   a   family   affair.   In   mid-1985   Charles   Richardson's   former   Petrol   Station   and garage was demolished in order for a more trendy Leisure Centre to take its place. It   wasn't   too   long   before   the   establishment   was   once   more   a   family   run   business   -   however not   the   original   family.   In   early   1987   the   motel   was   sold   to Tommy   Lancaster   and   his   family run Red Ox business. September   1987   saw   the   motel   transformed   into   a   luxury   hotel.   The   once   nearby   lake   was now   right   next   to   the   hotel   so   a   waterside   patio   area   was   added   to   make   the   most   of   this. It was a far cry from its early days as a basic low budget motel. The   Crossroads   Country   Hotel   was   later   renamed   the   Kings   Oak   Country   Hotel.   After   the death   of Tommy's   wife   -   who   he   had   bought   the   motel   for   -   it   was   once   more   placed   on   the market.   It   ultimately   went   into   the   hands   of   another   chain.   The   Three   Crowns   Group,   overseen   for   the   takeover   period   by Daniel Freeman - the step-son of former MIH boss Nicola Freeman. For   a   look   at   the   history   of   the   Kings   Oak   Country   Hotel   back   into   the   Crossroads   Hotel   as   seen   in   the   relaunched   series   of   2001,   head   over   to   Crossroads 2001  for more information. Pictured below the motel lakeside, and to the right the various signs used in the later years. More branding can be found here .
Owners   of   the   motel   from 1985 to 1988: Major       International Hotels (85-86) Tommy   Lancaster   (86- 88) Three    Crowns    Group (88-   )
Information   from   'Crossroads   Episodes',   TV   World/TV   Times   Magazine,   My   Life   at   Crossroads   by   Noele   Gordon,   the   Crossroads   Years   by   Jane   Rossington,   the   Crossroads   fiction   paperbacks   and   magazine   mini stories. Photographs courtesy of John Jameson Davis, John Drury, James Feltham/Granada / ITV Archive and ATV Archive Text: Copyright Crossroads Fan Club 2018.
Above:   MIH   logo   (85-86)   and Below:   the   motel   logo   (85- 87).
Above:     The     logo used   on   motel   signs and               badges internally, 1985-87. Below:     The     final two hotel signs.