Thursday, 26 November 2015

Much earlier, in Sheffield.

Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield. 2015.

The hotel that we stayed in was the Royal Victoria Hotel which had been built in the mid nineteenth century as the Station Hotel for Sheffield Victoria Station. 

Steam train in Sheffield Victoria Station.
The back of the Royal Victoria
Hotel can just be seen.

I can remember that passenger train services from this station were withdrawn whilst I was studying in Sheffield, much to the disgust of one of the students in our digs who could reach his home in Manchester on a direct train from there.

I was surprised, forty five years later to discover that the station had disappeared almost entirely. 

The only evidence of its existence that I could find was the stone wall running alongside the old Station Approach and this short stretch of tiling on a wall. Several reproductions of old railway artefacts have been set into the wall – a letter from Oscar Wilde written on hotel headed notepaper, a wartime restaurant menu and this passenger notice also from the 1940s.

The interior of the hotel is resplendent in the massive and palatial Victorian style – high ceilings, chandeliers, ornate ironwork and elegant plaster mouldings on the ceilings.

Stairwell at Royal Victoria Hotel.
Inspiration for Escher?

 The stair well reminded me of one of Escher's famous optical illusion drawings. As I climbed to the upper floor I expected to find myself back on the ground floor or to be met by one of those waterfalls which ended up where it had just begun.

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