SOURCE: Marriott International

Marriott International

October 16, 2014 11:14 ET

Birmingham Luxury Hotel's Painting Mystery Solved by Former Police Officer

Birmingham Marriott Hotel Portrait Revealed to Be Sir Henry Samuel Wiggin

QUINCY, MA--(Marketwired - Oct 16, 2014) - In a true Sherlock Holmes-like tale, this hotel in Birmingham city centre set out to solve the mystery behind a portrait that's hung behind the front desk since the hotel opened in 1991. After making a public appeal and offering a slap-up dinner for two as a reward, the mystery has finally been solved.

The portrait of a man and his dog was identified as Sir Henry Samuel Wiggin (1824-1905), a prominent city businessman and magistrate who lived nearby. Wiggin also held posts as Governor of King Edward School (Five Ways), Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire and Member of Parliament for Staffordshire and Handsworth; he became a Baronet in 1892.

The two decades-old mystery was, coincidentally, solved by former West Midlands police officer Ray Richards, who first saw the painting in 1998 when he was acting as a liaison officer while former US President Bill Clinton was staying at this 4-star hotel in Birmingham for the G8 Summit.

"I was fascinated by the painting," says Richards, who retired from the force after 30 years to set up a private investigation company. "When no one at the hotel could tell me who this obviously important man was, I decided to do a little research of my own. This was when the Internet was in its infancy, and there was nowhere near as much information available back then as there is now. But after quite a bit of local digging, I eventually came to the conclusion that this eminent personage was in fact Sir Henry Samuel Wiggin. I also managed to unearth a picture of Sir Henry, which was quite a good likeness of the hotel's mystery man."

Gordon Tyler, manager of this ICC Birmingham hotel, was delighted at the discovery; now his receptionists will be able to tell curious guests the identity of the man in the oil painting.

Discovering the past is part of the delight of staying at the Birmingham Marriott Hotel, where visitors can travel back in time at Warwick Castle, more than 11 centuries old, and Stratford-upon-Avon, an 800-year-old market town that is the birthplace of Shakespeare.

About the Birmingham Marriott Hotel
Known for its responsive service, comfortable accommodation and attention to detail, the Birmingham Marriott Hotel is the destination of choice for business, events and weekend breaks. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel features luxuriously appointed guest rooms with a king bed, spacious work desk and high-speed Internet access. Business-friendly amenities extend beyond guest rooms to include six meeting rooms, onsite parking and expert catering and audiovisual services. The hotel is one of the few in the area to offer expansive wellness facilities, which include a fitness centre, indoor pool and spa with massages, facials and other relaxing treatments. A favourite with locals and visitors, the hotel's West 12 Bar & Grill offers casual dining with steaks, fish and chips and an extensive wine list.

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