Monday, 23 March 2015

Hallam Tower Hotel, Sheffield


Designed by Nelson Foley of the Trust House Architectural Department, construction started in 1963 at a cost of £1 million. The Hallam Tower Hotel, owned by Trust Houses Group Ltd, opened on 24 March 1965 and at opening boasted 136 bedrooms over its eleven stories, employed nearly 150 staff members and covered a three and a half acre site. The hotel included facilities such as the Vulcan Room restaurant which featured a colour scheme of "orange, yellow, pale wrapping paper brown and sour green", the Sheffield Plate Grill (a quick service buttery), decorated with "a series of Sheffield trade signs, none of them later than 1910 and most of them mid-19th century" and a colour scheme of pink, red, black and white, and the Downstairs Bar, described in the original press release for the hotel thus; "A dark intimate room with a club-like atmosphere enlivened by turquoise blue upholstery. Dark lincrusta walls. 18th century Hogarth engravings. Silver Trimmings."

Being one of the first luxury hotels built in the region since the end of the Second World War, the city and the building's owners were keen to capitalise on the hotels modern look and it appeared in an advertisement for the Ford Galaxie 500 and in the promotional film; Sheffield… City on the Move. Several times during the 1960s the hotels restaurant appeared in Egon Ronay's Guide to British Eateries and achieved a four star rating from the AA. For the 1966 World Cup, Hillsborough Stadium was the 'home' ground of the Swiss team, their over night accommodation was the Hallam Tower Hotel. One incident occurred when the Swiss fielded a team which left out two of their star players, against Germany due to said players arriving back at the hotel an hour after curfew the night before. With the takeover of Trust Houses Group Ltd by Forte Holdings in 1970 the building came under the ownership of Trust House Forte. In 1978 the hotels management attempted to move away from what it dubbed "the sweatshirt and jeans brigade" by only accepting bookings from rock bands so long as they dressed were appropriately inside the hotel and didn't swear while in the hotel restaurant. During the miners' strike in the summer of 1984 Daily Mirror proprietor Robert Maxwell had a secret meeting in a room on the top floor with National Union of Mineworkers leader Arthur Scargill which he had asked Mirror journalist John Pilger to arrange. Up to that point the paper was supportive of the strike and Maxwell put himself forward as a mediator between the National Coal Board and the NUM. According to Pilger, in his book, Hidden Agendas (1998) the meeting went badly and turned the Daily Mirror against the strike.

By 1986 the building was known as the Hallam Tower Post House Hotel and a year later was subject to a £750,000 refurbishment which also saw the opening of the gym, whose members boasted members of the Sheffield Wednesday football team, its then-manager Howard Wilkinson, along with boxer Herol 'Bomber' Graham. The hotel later became known as the Forte Crest Sheffield and the Posthouse Sheffield. In 2001, the hotel became the Holiday Inn Sheffield West.

The hotel eventually closed, along with the attached Spirit Health Club, on 18 April 2004, with some staff transferring to the Holiday Inn Royal Victoria in central Sheffield. The building was sold to development company Hallam Grange Ltd. for £6.3 million later in 2004.

Since its closure the building has stood empty, although planning permission was granted in 2009 for a redevelopment of the tower into residential units, as part of a wider redevelopment which would create 132 residential units on the site. Hallam Grange and their architects', Sheffield-based Axis Architecture, had been working on the scheme for three years, with the granted scheme being of smaller bulk and different layout to that originally proposed. The granted scheme would add an extra floor added to the rear of the tower, with some being removed from the front portion and the whole building reclad.

In September 2013, Hallam Grange placed the building on the market for sale with the Sheffield residential development office of Knight Frank.


All photographs are available as prints or canvas with or without the border. Message for size/ prices.

Esoteric Eric

1 comment:

  1. Hallam uni have interested history i have learn your article
    i hope that you are gonna write more about Hallam thank you,,,

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