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THE MARPLES

Not many pubs have the history that The Marples had. Firstly let's look at the most infamous evening of it's history.

MARPLES HOTEL - THURSDAY DECEMBER 12th 1940

Standing on the corner of Fitzalan Square and High Street, the site was occupied during the 1870s by the Wine and Spirit Commercial Hotel. By the late 1880s it was known as Market Street Wine Vaults. The owner was a John Marples, and the licence held in the name of Edward Marples. Despite a further change of name to the London Mart, regulars always referred to the pub as Marple's. It's official name was still the London Mart in 1940. The building itself was seven stories high comprising of guests bedrooms, concert rooms, bars and lounges with a network of cellars - it was thought of as a solid and safe building. The photograph taken below shows Marples on the right with a local firm of nurserymen next door in the three storey building.

The first warning of the raid came at seven o'clock on a cold and clear winter's evening and as the night wore on the intensity of the raid grew especially in the city centre area. At 10.50 p.m. C&A Modes department store which lay opposite the Marples on High Street received a direct hit. Flying debris from the explosion crashed into the Marples pub injuring a number of customers who were taken down into the cellars to receive attention for their injuries. At 11.44 p.m. fifty four minutes after the explosion at C & A's, a German high explosive bomb completely demolished the building. William Reading a Corporation Inspector who was in the nearby Fitzalan Square transport offices at the time recalls

"When I rushed outside I saw that the Marples building had been hit, the building had collapsed and where it had stood was a heap of rubble fifteen high"

It was thought that no-one would have survived the explosion but nevertheless rescue work commenced the following day at 10.00 a.m. Miraculously over the next few hours seven men were pulled alive from the wreckage. Two of them actually walked away unaided from the scene and were never heard of again. Of the other five who were pulled out, only one Edward Riley age 36 of Ecclesall Road, was from the Sheffield area. The other four were

1. John Watson Kay age 46, Boma Road, Trentham, Stoke on Trent respectively.

2. William Wallace King, Arbett Parade, Bristol

3. Lionel George Ball, Knowle West, Bristol

4. Ebenezer Tall age 42, Clarissa Street, Shoreditch, London

"They told vivid stories of how they spent the night trapped in the cellars. How they could hardly breathe for smoke and dust...how they dug with their hands to make an air vent - how they dozed, weary and light-headed from the loss of blood."

Mary Walton in her book " Raiders over Sheffield" ascribed the tragic loss of life to the fact that the roofs of the cellars in the London Mart were not strengthened. The people who survived the explosion were said to have been in the smaller bottling cellar that had a stronger ceiling.

Given the buildings size and structure the staff at the pub thought that it would be able to withstand significant bomb damage. A case of complacency? Possibly but I think the more likely cause is the size and impact point of the bomb on the pub which caused the building to fall in on itself.

We can never know for certain how many people died in the explosion that devastated Marples. Over the following weeks 64 bodies were recovered from the rubble and the partial remains of six or seven other people were also identified. The force of the explosion and the ensuing collapse of the building meant that only 14 people could be visually identified : the remainder were identified through their personal belongings that had with them when they died.

The most accurate estimate is that 77 people were in Marples at the time of the explosion and 70 died as a result of the injuries they received. It was without doubt the worst single incident for loss of life in Sheffield during the whole war.

The clearance of the site took many weeks. It was estimated that over one thousand tons of rubble had to be removed from the site before it was cleared. The site lay derelict for 19 years.

Above is a photograph that was taken in 1950 that still shows the damage that occurred ten years earlier. The cleared area to the left of the gutted building is where the Marples once stood

At the end of the decade, a full nineteen years after it was destroyed a new public house was built by John Smith's Ltd. It re-opened in 1959 and was for the first time officially known as Marples. The pub traded right up until the early summer of 2002 when it was suddenly closed. It was thought the pub was undergoing the usual periodic refit but it tuned out that the pub was closed for good. It remained empty until the early part of 2003 when it re-opened as "Hein Gericke" motor cycle accessories shop. The floors above the shop are believe or not occupied by student flats

The above photo was taken in 1940 and shows the Marples pub just a few months prior to its destruction. On the opposite side of the road is C & A Modes department store which received a direct hit on that Thursday evening. The buildings further up High Street were to suffer major bomb damage that night.

Information above taken from the following excellent website - http://www.chrishobbs.com/marples1940.htm

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As a child I remember the Marples site with all the hoardings around it. On the wall of the next building to it, was a huge advert which was for Milady Toffee. Funny how things stick in our minds. I was told that before rebuilding commenced, quick lime was put over the site. However, I have no proof of this.

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I used to drink in the Marples in the 80s and I remember people used to say that you had to wipe your feet when you left.It was a good pub.

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i also called in with a few mates in the 80's. it was the first call on the pub list on a friday or saturday night.

also got a few old bottles/flagons with marples on them.

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i also called in with a few mates in the 80's. it was the first call on the pub list on a friday or saturday night.

also got a few old bottles/flagons with marples on them.

Would the bottles be WILLIAM MARPLES & Co. Ltd (Mineral water manufacturers)

Have a look Here & scroll down

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As a child I remember the Marples site with all the hoardings around it. On the wall of the next building to it, was a huge advert which was for Milady Toffee. Funny how things stick in our minds. I was told that before rebuilding commenced, quick lime was put over the site. However, I have no proof of this.

Hi,

I believe various treatments were periodically applied to the site in the first few years after Blitz. As noted earlier, it wasn't

redeveloped until the late 1950.

The site itself also seemed to have had profound effect on people. It was enclosed within a wooden fence and from time to time, people would place flowers against the fence or attach them to the fence itself.

If you were passing with your parents, you would get clip round the ear if you slowed down to look or dawdled. Sometimes there were kids in town on the their own and if they were thought to be hanging around the fence, they were told to clear-off and mind their own business, not only by the police but passers-by.

When the site was eventually cleared, and before redevelopment, it was briefly a car park. I knew people, my father being one, who would never dream of parking there. Many people looked on it as almost hallowed ground.

Regards

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Would the bottles be WILLIAM MARPLES & Co. Ltd (Mineral water manufacturers)

Have a look Here & scroll down

W. MARPLES. 45 silver street sheffield. gingerbeer bottle, pictorial of a circular saw

W. MARPLES. 43-45 silver street sheffield. 10oz and 6oz codd bottle,pictorial of a circular saw

W. MARPLES. beer bottle

J. MARPLES. 2 market street sheffield. slab seal flagon

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And what of the man who gives his name to the tragedy. John Marples died 19th August 1908 and his obituary was reported in the Sheffield Telegraph dated 30th August 1908

John was cremated on 21 August and then interred in the family grave in Sheffield's General Cemetery - 28th August 1908

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1901 Census

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1891 Census

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1881 Census - can't find him (in the easiet census of all ...)

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1871 Census, first wife

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1861 Census 2 Market Street

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1851 Census - Father was a publican ... but which Pub ?

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1841 Two parts

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Casualty List Marples Hotel - 12 December 1940

From the Imperial War Graves Commission, via Sheffield Fire Brigade website.

Source

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My dad's cousin, on leave from the RAF, is believed to be under the Marples. He was seen drinking there on the night of the Blitz and never heard of ,or seen, again. His name, however, doesn't appear on the list of casualties!The basement where the casualties had sheltered was filled with quick- lime when they gave up all hope of finding anymore remains.

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These pictures are from a postcard on Ebay but as bidding has ended on the item I thought they would be better in this thread.   -----------     https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Advertising-Postcard-The-Lounge-J-Marples-Fitzalan-Square-Sheffield-/303298984825?ul_noapp=true&nma=true&si=eQsVCh%2BPzwXhY2FB6lCsCJ9DuOU%3D&orig_cvip=true&nordt=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

marples_lounge.jpg

marples_lounge_rev_cropped.jpg

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Wow doesn't it look posh, bet it was glorious in it's day. Thanks for sharing these. 

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6 hours ago, SteveHB said:

JM_co.jpg

Are those spittoons at the base of the bar?

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