It was a pleasant morning in the hotel lounge. It may have been raining outside but inside there was the clink of cups of tea, the clank of a pot of coffee, subdued music in the background. Sugar – ‘one lump or two?’ I settled into my armchair while Howard and John told me about their long association with the Great Central Railway route and Sheffield. We were in the lounge of the Royal Victoria Hotel, once the station hotel for the long gone Sheffield Victoria station. It was as if we were catching the ‘South Yorkshireman’ to Marylebone that very morning (11 30 sharp!). But, then, the hotel closed in 1970 to be reborn in 1972 under the Holiday Inn brand. Today it’s something of an icon for Great Central fans in Sheffield.
The Victoria Hotel. Image: Picture Sheffield
Far be it from me to become a contributor to Trip Advisor but I have to say, readers, it is a comfortable place, of some style. The original layout and fittings have largely been restored under a group of enthusiasts and the Managing Director, Hermann Beck. Once again you can walk the wide corridors, climb the sweeping staircases with wrought iron balustrades, admire the photos on the walls of the railway in Sheffield and even gaze at locomotive nameplates – two ‘footballers’ (LNER class B17), impartially ‘Sheffield United’ and ‘Sheffield Wednesday’. You, too, can pretend to be Edward Watkin, albeit briefly (Sir Edward to you, please). Outsi