The first hotel on the site was built in 1826 for the hotelier James Radley by the conversion of two 18th-century townhouses. It was built on the site of the former Ranelagh Gardens, the first open space for public recreation in Liverpool.
This hotel was replaced by another hotel in 1876 (pictured), which was bought in 1892 by the Midland Railway, being renamed the Midland Adelphi. A feature was a basement set of heated tanks to keep live turtles for turtle soup which was not only served but the basis of a significant business being sent to banquets, etc. around the country and beyond. The railway company replaced it between 1911 and 1914 with the present building, designed by Frank Atkinson. When opened, it was “regarded as the most luxurious hotel outside London”.
Owing to Liverpool being a major arrival and departure point for ocean liners during the early 20th century, the Adelphi served as the most popular hotel in the city for wealthy passengers before they embarked on their journey to North America. The RMS Titanic was registered in Liverpool (though it never visited the port), and the Sefton Suite is said to be an exact replica of the ill-fated liner’s First Class Smoking Lounge.
Guests at the hotel have included world leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Artistes appearing at the Empire Theatre, including Frank Sinatra, Laurel and Hardy, Judy Garland, Bob Dylan, and Roy Rogers have also stayed at the hotel. Rogers made an appearance outside the main entrance with his horse, Trigger.