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Abbeydale Picture House

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A big cinema on a prominent corner site, built in 1920; ciné-variety from 1928. Until being equipped for talkies in 1930, the silent movies were accompanied at first by an orchestra, later by a Clavorchester organ.

Closed in 1975 it became an office furniture store, with the seats removed and the balcony partitioned off. The stage was also lowered at some time. Despite these changes it has been fairly described as ‘still one of the best preserved cinema buildings in Sheffield’.

The exterior is faced with white faience. A round, domed corner tower with stained glass windows is set behind a balustrade. Original canopy now absent. The raked auditorium is subdivided horizontally but still has much of its original ornamental detail. The single balcony bows out into boxes on either side of the proscenium; panels and oval reliefs on walls; panel with Grecian figures over proscenium. Arched ceiling.

The stage house (35m x 9m deep) has a grid which extends only over the downstage half. Safety curtain intact.

A proposal to convert the building into a mosque failed. In 2004 a charitable company obtained a grant for a feasibility study aimed at restoring the building and reopening as a centre for performing arts and visual media.

Built / Converted
1920
Dates of use
  • 1928 - 1930
Current state
Extant
Current use
Converted to other use (main building disused; basement, snooker hall)
Address
Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Further details
Other names
-
Events
  • 1920 Owner/Management: Abbeydale Picture House Ltd
  • 1920 Design/Construction:
    Dixon & Stienlet (Arthur Whitaker) (North Shields)
    - Architect
  • 1921 Alteration: ballroom with sprung floor added in basement
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1928 Alteration: improvements to stage and dressing rooms
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1928 - 1930 Use:
  • 1930 Alteration: sound system added for talkies
    Unknown
    - Architect
  • 1950 - 1975 Owner/Management: Star Group
Capacities
  • Capacity
    Original
    Description
    1800
  • Capacity
    Later
    Description
    by 1941: 1560
Listings
  • Listing
    II
    Comment
    1989
Stage type
-
Building dimensions: -
Stage dimensions: -
Proscenium width: -
Height to grid: -
Inside proscenium: -
Orchestra pit: -