Marples Hotel: World War Two Blitz memorial blue plaque to be unveiled in Sheffield city centre

A Blue Plaque is to be unveiled in Sheffield to remember the 70 victims of the Blitz who were killed when the city’s Marples Hotel was bombed 84 years ago.
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The attack, which flattened the hotel on December 12, 1940, caused the largest single loss of life in Sheffield during World War 2.

At the time, the site on the corner of Fitzalan Square and High Street was occupied by an ornate seven-story pub, in which some took shelter in the basement during the air raid.

The site is now occupied by a pawn brokers.

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He was concerned that, over time, the site would be forgotten by the people of Sheffield.

“I was worried that it would gradually fade into obscurity, and I just wanted to help prevent that,” he said.

“I remember people of my parents’ generation talking in hushed tones about the Marples. In my generation, all ‘Sheffielders’ were aware of it, but my own children and grandchildren knew nothing about this piece of history.”

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He added: “I’m really pleased to be getting this plaque up, but for a not terribly emotional person I think I might just shed a tear on the day.”

“During research in the centre it was obvious that you can’t do a history of the city without including the Blitz. Equally, you cannot do the Blitz without including the Marples.”

The blue plaque will be unveiled in Fitzalan Square by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Colin Ross, on the building where the Marples Hotel once stood, on Saturday, April 6 at 11.30am.

It willl read: “On this site stood the Marples. During WW2 on the 12th of Dec 1940, a bomb destroyed the building, killing an estimated 70 people who were sheltering in the cellars.”

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Two nights in December 1940 changed the face of the city forever. Nearly a tenth of the city’s population were made homeless on December 12 and 15. Over 2,000 people were killed or wounded.

Great swathes of the city centre was flattened. Many of Sheffield’s department stores were gone in the blink of an eye – Atkinsons, Walsh’s, Cockaynes, Redgates and more.

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