The Classic Cinema just before it closed in 1982 - Hyde Park flats are in the background

Sheffield now and then pictures show huge changes in Fitzalan Square - including wartime tragedy

Fitzalan Square in Sheffield city centre was once a buzzing area, filled with shops, banks, pubs and cinemas, then went into a long decline and has now been newly renovated.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:34 pm

These pictures chart some of those transformations, starting with the building of the central post office in the early 20th century, which itself now has a new lease of life, thanks to Sheffield Hallam University. Another early arrival was the Electra Picture Palace, which underwent several changes until it was finally destroyed by fire in the mid-1980s.

A statue of King Edward VII has watched over many of those changes, including a terrible tragedy that took place in December 1940, when the seven-storey Marples Hotel was flattened. The Nazi bomb killed dozens of people sheltering from the bombing in its cellars, that were widely believed to be a safe place.

It was the single greatest loss of life during the war in Sheffield.

As the city centre developed, the once-busy area became increasingly dingy and unwelcoming. Finally, the square was designated as part of a Knowledge Gateway, running down to the Cultural Industries Quarter around Brown Street, and has been completely revamped.

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