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(18 Posts)
hottentottentott Sat 29-Oct-16 22:04:07

Never thought I would feel sad for the loss of a building (other than my own home, of course), but the last couple of days in Exeter has left me desperately sad.

Born in London, raised in Devon, lived all over the world, but now back in Devon for good. Ask me for the big 3 buildings in Exeter & I would say:

The Cathedral, because it's the cathedral & everything else in Exeter defers to it.

Bobby's (formerly Debenhams, now John Lewis), because it was probably the ugliest building in Britain (Still is, because it is so prominent on the city's skyline).

The Clarence, because it was so nice and comforting.

Back in the late 60's, we lived in one of the most backward & remote corners of Devon. For various reasons to do with education, religion, family, logistics and who knows what all else, it was decided that my siblings and I should go to boarding schools on the far side of the country where grandparents lived. hmm

As the oldest, I was first to go; but the trip up to grandparents for the handover was clearly a problem for struggling self-employed parents. So, aged 10, I volunteered to do the journey on my own, provided I was provided with a smoked salmon sandwich from the Royal Clarence (I had already worked out how to get from Paddington to Liverpool St, so the journey was a doddle). This offer was readily accepted, and smoked salmon sandwiches from the Royal Clarence became a staple part of my schooling: the filling was definitely thicker than the slices of bread, and they were thick enough! grin

I love smoked salmon, and eat it whenever I can; but I don't think I have eaten a smoked salmon sandwich since I moved to secondary school 40+ years ago... Not a conscious decision, but I think a recognition that no one was ever going to do a better smoked salmon sandwich than the late, lamented and very smokey Clarence. sad sad sad

I do hope that I am not the only one who has happy memories of this wonderful place at the apex of Exeter's cathedral green.

WatchingFromTheWings Sat 29-Oct-16 22:12:13

I'd never heard of this place until yesterday. Having seen the footage and read a bit about the history (the age and the fact it was the first hotel in the U.K.) even I'm a
little sad about it!


VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Sat 29-Oct-16 22:13:20

It was a beautiful hotel, I stayed there last year for a night and ended up hunting for the same mattress for my own bed....!

Such a shame, I hope they rebuild it in the identical style.

Mamabear14 Sat 29-Oct-16 22:15:05

I'm only 20 mins from Exeter, and it's been all over local social media. It's incredibly sad, everyone I know is feeling quite gutted about it.

Lilaclily Sat 29-Oct-16 22:18:40

Aged 10 you went on the tube alone? Amazing!

ShoesieQ Sat 29-Oct-16 22:22:06

I didn't know it well,but had a wonderful meal there for my 40th.A very sad loss.We can only hope that it will be rebuilt eventually.

SloanePeterson Sat 29-Oct-16 22:27:15

I'm an Exeter girl but moved away some years ago. It's really struck me how useless I feel being so far away. Which is ridiculous as there's nothing i could do if I was there anyway. But it makes my heart hurt sad the green had already changed before we left, all the trees I used to sit under and play with baby dd and get takeout pizzas from ASK and eat on the green were felled some time ago so when we went back last year the green seemed too open and empty than how it should have done to me. I'm really feeling a lure to go back to Exeter and almost pay my respects, see if for myself. I still can't believe it's gone. And thank his it wasn't worse. But what a scar on the city this will be, for so long the reminder of what was lost will be there for all to see. I hope they manage to salvage what they can for the museum and then hopefully rebuild.

Curious0yster Sat 29-Oct-16 22:30:26

It's really awful. I'm local and it has been horrifying watching it all unfold. It's such a beautiful part of the city and I'm actually nervous about seeing it 'in the flesh' as it has just been destroyed.

I really love your smoked salmon story :-)

Stinkerbelle37 Sat 29-Oct-16 22:38:58

It's so sad. And I can't believe there hasn't been more about it on the news...

Will they rebuild as it was, or put something modern in as a tribute? All the modern stuff looks great initially, but then seems to go out of fashion and look awful (1970s concrete anyone...). And this needs to be something that stands the test of time for centuries, not decades.

And Exeter knows all about losing a building in a run of beautiful buildings - it's so clear where the bombs landed in WW2, as more often than not you get some ugly building plonked in between something beautiful. Please don't let that happen here...

I think I'm hoping it will look the same on the outside, but be totally modern and beautiful on the inside.

Just so glad they seemed to have stopped it going any further. I honestly thought we were going to lose the shops on the high street, Ship Inn etc. And I really hope that whoever was doing the renovations on the gallery was fully paid up on their insurances. Because this is going to be expensive....

WooWooChooChoo Sat 29-Oct-16 23:00:45

I am born and raised in Exeter and my siblings and I have all had our wedding receptions at the Royal Clarence. I'm so sad about losing this beautiful building. We had so many happy memories there.

Exeter has already changed so much recently, losing some of its uniqueness along the way, and now Cathedral Green won't ever be quite the same as it was.

wiccamum Sat 29-Oct-16 23:07:15

I feel so sad abou this. It was a beautiful and historic building.

I had a lovely weekend away there. I was pregnant with DD, morning sickness just fading. My DH wanted to take me away now the sickness had stopped. We had a great time. I remember the lovely free standing bath, the massive bed....we snuggled up and watched Dr. who!! The restaurant was fantastic, the views over to the cathedral....oh it was so gorgeous, a really memorable trip.

I'm sure mine are one of many happy memories of the hotel. It breaks my heart when we lose places like this 😢

blankpieceofpaper Sat 29-Oct-16 23:16:59

I went to university in Exeter (so good I went twice) and a friend had their reception there.

So many lovely and happy memories of the Cathedral green in all seasons - a bright summer's day or in the misty dusk, cutting in between the Clarence and other those historic buildings on the way back to the High Street.

I remember being so shocked when I learn what the impact of the Blitz had been and the devastation on the city.

It's so sad for the city and its people - the fire crews and volunteers are amazing. I hope something can be salvaged from it.

IrregularCommentary Sun 30-Oct-16 00:38:23

It's been so horrible watching it unfold. I went to university in Exeter as well as working there afterwards for a while and I love the city. Cathedral Green is one of the nicest spots and I've spent many any enjoyable evening in the Clarence.

One that particularly sticks in my mind was being in the bar there after hours when Jools Holland came in having performed at Powderham that weekend. He gave a fab impromptu performance at the bar (pretending to play the piano) for the people he was with and the whole atmosphere of the evening and the place was just great.

I'll be so sad to not see it when I next visit.

PickAChew Sun 30-Oct-16 00:54:24

Agree about the 1970s concrete. Dh and I were disagreeing about the passing of the Durham passport office, this evening. He never saw the beauty in it. I loved it, but turd (wtf sort of autocorrect is that?), RUED the crap materials that had been used.

GreenGinger2 Sun 30-Oct-16 05:48:03

We're all gutted here. So many memories of my kids playing and eating on that green weaving our way through those eating right in front of the hotel,kid's grandparents treating us now and again to a drink and meeting us there on their day trips down from London. Always a lovely atmosphere.

Surely they could rebuild it in keeping,very similar.<clutches straws>sad

Spottyladybird Sun 30-Oct-16 06:14:56

I'm gutted. Only been to Exeter once but DH and I had lunch at the Royal Clarence for our first wedding anniversary. We always planned to return but have had to wait as babies, mortgages etc have got in the way. Sad to see such a beautiful building burn.

PedantPending Sun 30-Oct-16 07:02:11

Taken on Christmas Eve 2013

ForalltheSaints Sun 30-Oct-16 07:35:31

YANBU- hope it can be rebuilt. Also think of those who work there and how they are affected.

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