The Bombing of Sheffield - 12th December 1940

When I was gathering information with regard to the destruction of the Marples public house during the Sheffield Blitz I discovered that the Marples was one of nine pubs that were totally destroyed that night. The others were

"...(The Angel's) first real claim to fame came in 1760, when it became the terminus for the first regular mail stage coach service between Sheffield and London. The coach was fancifully described as 'a flying machine on steel springs' which completed the hazardous journey in a mere six days. Travel in those days was a problematic affair - the adverts warned journeys would be completed "if God permits". Overnight stops on the way up to Sheffield included St Albans, Northampton and Nottingham. Later the time to the capital was reduced to three days, then 26 hours, and finally to just 16 hours before the railway made the service largely redundant.
Original prices for the trip were 2.2s (2.10) - or 153 in today's money, leaving twice a week at 5am. The coach traveling north linked with a service to Leeds.
By the time of its heyday in the early 1800s the inn saw stage coaches also arriving from and departing to Birmingham, Doncaster, Carlisle, Hull, Manchester and Edinburgh - the interchange of its time.
But the Angel also played another important role in the life of the growing metropolis. Sheffield still had in the early 19th century no proper theatre, with the townsfolk relying instead on groups of strolling players. Handbills surviving from the time show that some of this entertainment was available at the Angel. It was certainly an important meeting place - with a hall and courtyard both for meetings and balls, somewhere to see and be seen.
So central was the hotel to the city's social life that in 1815 it was the venue of the official dinner to celebrate victory at the Battle of Waterloo. Doubtless the fare that night was something special.
A more typical dinner menu of the time boasted baked foul, cold ham, Yorkshire pudding, loin of roast mutton and gooseberry pie - all for 1s.6d (7 and a half pence).
By the 1850s the Angel was a family-run business and was officially being termed a hotel, which at its peak contained 55 bedrooms. And by 1899 the landlord of the day was consciously reflecting his hostelry's glorious past with the creation of a large stained glass window depicting the first stage coach to leave for London.
The Angel's final years were less distinguished. During the First World War the building was taken over by the Ministry For Pensions - and it lost its drinks licence, which never was to return. Worse was to follow in 1934, when the company running the reopened hotel was put in the hands of receivers and it was forced to close.

In its final days the Angel was the headquarters of Sheffield's special constables - before its day of destiny with the Luftwaffe."

After the war the site was derelict for many years before it became the site of the ABC Cinema in 1961. The cinema closed in 1989 and was demolished soon after to make way for a prestigious retail development. Needless to say the site remained a temporary car park until the construction in 2003 of the Travel Inn Metro.

The A - Z of Sheffield Public Houses by Michael Liversidge adds the following information. Confirming that the original Inn was built in 1657 he then states that it was demolished and replaced by a new Angel in 1816. One notable feature was a terracotta angel by Rossi that adorned the front of the Inn. He also confirms that it was a Samuel Glanville who was the landlord at the time of the first coach services to London 

And finally, the following information I obtained from the excellent Sheffield History Forum

Angel - 15 Angel Street 1657 1940 283
List of Licencees

1779 - 1809 Samuel Peech
1822 Thomas Walker
1828 Edward Hancock
1833 Edward Hancock (1837)
1837 Edward Hancock
1841 Frederick Wilkinson
1845 William Walker
1846 Frederick Wilkinson
1849 Frederick Wilkinson
1851 Frederick Wilkinson
1852 Frederick Wilkinson
1854 Frederick Wilkinson
1856 Frederick Wilkinson
1861 Frederick Wilkinson
1862 Frederick Wilkinson
1871 John North
1881 Tom Harry Thompson
1893 John Chambers
1901 Paul Roder
1905 Paul Roder
1911 Mrs Mary Robinson
Earlier Samuel Glanville 1760 (died 14th July 1803, aged 83

Obituary, with Anecdotes, of Remarkable Persons -
Aged 70, after a life of great activity, utility, and enterprise, Mr. Samuel Peech, who had kept the Angel inn, at Sheffield for the last 30 years, and was well known throughout the kingdom as a considerable coach-proprietor and post-master.
Additional :9th October 1809
At Sheffield, far advanced in age, Mrs Peech, relict of Mr Samuel P. of the Angel inn there, whom she survived only a few weeks.

Other pubs in the area also suffered extensive damage some of which can be seen today. The Cossack which stands at the foot of Howard Street adjacent to Sheffield Hallam University's City Campus had the top floor and roof blown off in the raid and has been a single story "bungalow pub." ever since.     

The buildings of The Sheffield Free Brewery Co. (founded 1900) that were situated on Queens Road suffered a direct hit but thankfully the bomb failed to explode.

The other brewery that was hit by faired a lot worse. Thomas Rawson's and Co Brewery situated in Pond Street Sheffield was totally destroyed by enemy action and unlike the Marples was never rebuilt. The irony of the destruction was that in the late 1930's Sheffield Corporation was giving serious consideration to demolishing the Brewery itself and constructing a new technical college. The air raid flattened the site and the brewery was never rebuilt. It was developed after the war as Sheffield Polytechnic which is known nowadays as Sheffield Hallam University

The Kings Head on Change Alley


A Pub On Every Corner - Douglas Lamb 

A - Z of Sheffield Public Houses - Michael Liversidge

Sheffield History Forum

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This page was last updated on 16/02/15 06:45