The Harley – doctor’s house to student hangout

The Harley, Glossop Road. Image: Sheffield Star

The death of Dr Marriott Hall was tragic, but it kick-started a series of episodes that would give its name to The Harley, now a popular student bar and live entertainment venue, on Glossop Road.

In March 1878, aged 38, Hall was riding along Endcliffe Vale Road on his way to visit a patient at Broomhill Park. His horse threw him, rolled over him, and his head struck a kerbstone. He was taken to the lodge at Oakbrook, belonging to his father-in-law, Mark Firth, where his injuries were treated.

“Oh, my poor head,” he complained, and suffered a slow agonising death.

The son of the Rev. Hall of Greasbrough, Marriott Hall had been assistant to Mr Porter, surgeon, Eyre Street, afterwards appointed assistant house-surgeon at the General Infirmary, subsequently rising to top position.

He started practice with his brother, John, on Victoria Street, going alone at the Bath Buildings on Glossop Road about 1865, until joined by Dr William Cleaver ten years later.

When Hall married Sarah Taylor Bingham Firth, the daughter of Mark Firth, in 1866, their wedding present from the steel magnate was 334 Glossop Road, a new house and surgery added to the end of 1850s terraced villas at the corner with Hounsfield Road.

Hall’s widow remained until the 1880s before taking up residence at The Gables, in Ranmoor.

Dr Mariano Alejo Martin de Bartolome bought the house in 1886 and stayed until his own death four years later, after which it was bought in 1891 by the adjoining Sheffield Nurses’ Home and Training Institution for £1,500.

This organisation had been set up by James Henry Barber at a time when Sheffield’s population was increasing rapidly and often nurses had to be obtained from as far away as Lincoln. The new premises allowed for a staff of district nurses for the working classes.

At the start of World War One it became the Sheffield Queen Victoria District Nursing Association, with a staff of 25 nurses, which remained until 1928 when the building was sold to a group of Liverpool businessmen for £2,962.

The entrepreneurs formed a company, Harley Houses Ltd, acknowledgement of the building’s medical history, the name derived from London’s famous Harley Street, “to build, alter and construct, repair and sustain 334 Glossop Road, or any other premises, to use as a residential club or private hotel.”

Harley Hotel, at the junction of Glossop Road and Hounsfield Road, with an illuminated classified road sign used where the obvious route does not happen to be the main road. Image: Picture Sheffield

In May 1928, it opened as Harley Residential Club for professional businessmen and women.

“Elaborately and tastefully decorated and furnished, with three attractive and reposeful lounges, writing rooms, hot and cold running water in every bedroom, and with comfort, cuisine and service.”

It provided accommodation for 26 residents and visitors to the city, and within a year had been renamed The Harley Hotel, the biggest downside being its inability to obtain an alcohol licence.

The Harley Hotel remained until the late sixties by which time it had fallen into disrepair and was derelict for most of the 1970s.

After several temporary uses it was rescued in 2003 when it became The Harley, operated by Dave Healey, co-founder of Tramlines, as a pub, burger joint, hotel and tearoom.

The Harley played host to many bands, including Arctic Monkeys, ALT-J and Royal Blood to name but a few.

It closed in April 2019 due to financial problems, after which the building’s owner, Mitchell & Butlers, decided to take over the running of the venue, with the Harley Hotel existing upstairs with 23 rooms.

The Harley. Glossop Road. Image:DJP/2022

©2022 David Poole. All Rights Reserved.