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'It would be lovely' - Descendant of Royal Hotel's famed architect welcomes plan to revive it

PUBLISHED: 16:24 08 May 2019

The Royal Hotel, Bank Plain, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The Royal Hotel, Bank Plain, Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The proposed renaissance of a historic city hotel has been welcomed by a descendant of its famed architect.

Shirley Place, the great grand-daughter of Royal Hotel architect Edward Boardman. Picture: Bill SmithShirley Place, the great grand-daughter of Royal Hotel architect Edward Boardman. Picture: Bill Smith

It emerged this week that investment company Turnit Capital has lodged a bid to bring the Royal Hotel on Bank Plain back into use - 42 years after it closed down.

The grand building was designed by Edward Boardman and first opened to the public in 1897. However, in January 1977 a decline in trade - largely attributed to its lack of parking facilities - saw it closed down.

After four decades though, it could now once again become a place for visitors to the city to stay, with Accor Hotels lined up to run it - to the delight of Shirley Place, the great grand-daughter of Mr Boardman himself.

Mrs Place, who lives in Hoveton, said: "It is lovely to think it could be a hotel again - I'm sure it will take a lot of work to do and the architects will have a real challenge but will be worthwhile.

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"I do slightly worry that it isn't the best place for a hotel though, given the car parking situation though."

The bid would see an extension built on the upper floors of the building to form a rooftop restaurant and bar, with 127 rooms set to be included.

Mrs Place added: "My great grandfather did not design the building to have en-suite plumbing, for example, so it will be quite the task.

"I must admit, I haven't visited the hotel as much as other buildings my family designed, however I do fondly remember going for the odd lunch there and it looking very grand inside.

"I am fascinated to see what it will look like again if it does come back into use though and would be delighted to visit it."

The bid has already been welcomed by members of the Norwich Society, who hailed the importance of Boardman architecture to the history of Norfolk.

Vanessa Trevelyan, a spokesman for the Norwich Society, said: "Boardman's buildings really define Victorian Norfolk and the Royal Hotel is one of the most impressive of his works. It would be lovely to see it back in use."

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