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Abbeydale Picture House

A Grade II Listed Building in Nether Edge and Sharrow, Sheffield

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Latitude: 53.3594 / 53°21'33"N

Longitude: -1.4798 / 1°28'47"W

OS Eastings: 434715

OS Northings: 384845

OS Grid: SK347848

Mapcode National: GBR 9FT.7K

Mapcode Global: WHDDP.7TKJ

Plus Code: 9C5W9G5C+P3

Entry Name: Abbeydale Picture House

Listing Date: 24 August 1989

Last Amended: 12 December 1995

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1246428

English Heritage Legacy ID: 455105

Location: Nether Edge and Sharrow, Sheffield, S7

County: Sheffield

Electoral Ward/Division: Nether Edge and Sharrow

Built-Up Area: Sheffield

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): South Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: St Peter and St Oswald Sheffield

Church of England Diocese: Sheffield

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Listing Text

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 14/08/2012


(East side)
Abbeydale Picture House

(Formerly Listed as: ABBEYDALE ROAD The Abbeydale Picture House (A & F Drake Ltd))


Cinema, 1920 with late C20 alterations, by Dixon and Stienlet of North Shields, steel frame clad in white faience tiles to principal north-west and north-east elevations and brick to rear elevations, slate roof raised at south-west end to incorporate fly-tower, Neo-Baroque with Art Deco influences, Classical style interior.

PLAN: Principal frontages to north-west and north-east sides with main entrance to north corner. Secondary entrances to both principal frontages. Auditorium to centre of building with stage and dressing rooms to south-west end, foyers and public rooms to ground, first and second floors at north-east end, along with attic. Basement snooker hall and bar (formerly ballroom and billiards rooms).

EXTERIOR: Set on sloping site with taller SE rear elevation with basement access. Small cupola-style vent with shaped lead cap to centre of main roof.

North-west elevation: Abbeydale Road street frontage. Seven bays. Series of doorways to ground floor; four with moulded surrounds and double keystones (one damaged), doors largely removed and boarded over. Bays divided at first floor level by partly fluted Ionic pilasters with linking entablature that carries around north corner and across north-east elevation. Small square window openings to first floor of bays 1 & 6 with 3-over-3 sashes, moulded surrounds and double keystones. Nine-light fixed pane oculus windows to rest of first floor with double keystones and decorative garland surrounds, raised panels below. Decorative cast iron canopy brackets with rings below first floor windows (canopy now removed). Panelled parapet with shallow segmental pediment to bay 6, fly-tower behind. North corner entrance: Curved corner with altered entrance to ground floor consisting of large square opening to left with later inserted double doors with integral fanlights, identical opening to right with later inserted glazing. Three tall multi-paned round-headed windows to first floor with moulded surrounds and double keystones. Two small square second floor windows with keystones and 3-over-3 sashes (some glazing bars removed) above entablature flanking faience panel reading 'CINEMA'. Parapet originally surmounted by open balustrade (now removed and kept in storage). Circular turret above and behind with squat Ionic pilasters separating triple-light stained glass windows each depicting the Star of David, topped by a large leaded dome.

North-east elevation: Six narrow bays. Ground slopes down to left. Faience tiles painted over to ground and basement levels. Doorway to far left with replaced door (originally accessing basement ballroom, now a snooker hall). Bays divided at first floor level by partly fluted Ionic pilasters; two to centre reduced to capitals only. Wide segmental pediment incorporating entablature to base above the three centre bays, windows arranged symmetrically below to each floor. Paired multi-paned sash windows (some with altered glazing and bars removed) to centre on each floor flanked by single windows; those to first floor are taller with plain surrounds and single keystones, those to second floor have rounded heads (projecting above entablature), keystones, and relief panels below. Remaining first floor windows consist of two small square windows with moulded surrounds and double keystones to left bays, identical window to far right. Shallow segmental parapet pediment to bay 1.

Rear elevations: Blank to south-west side. Exit and loading doors to south-east side, multi-paned and 1-over-1 sash windows, some openings blocked-up. Later ramps access the ground floor level.

INTERIOR: Classical style decoration throughout, including moulded cornicing and architraves, Greek-key friezes, decorative plaster cartouches and medallions depicting cherubs, children and Grecian female figures, wall pilasters, decorative plaster ceilings, and plaster wall panelling. Some original 4-panel doors.

Entrance foyer: Altered ticket and sales areas, ceiling mouldings, cornice incorporating egg-and-dart moulding, original black and white tesserae floor (partly under later covering) with geometric patterned border. Main stair to north east corner of foyer rises from basement (access sealed-off) to second floor. Large former cafe and lounge foyer to first floor above entrance foyer with access to balcony. Smaller second floor rooms above (some damaged plaster decoration) with access to rear of balcony. Enclosed small winder stair to north-east corner off second floor foyer leads to plain attic (original projection and rewind rooms) with inserted suspended ceilings. Original fireproof projection room (now with later plyboard wall panelling), equipment removed, metal box and hatches survive under later panelling. Ventilation machinery survives to domed turret.

Main auditorium: Barrel-vaulted ceiling with moulded ribs and coffering, elaborate plaster decoration to walls (damaged in places). Single curved theatre-style balcony to north-east end and north-west and south-east sides, supported on square piers, partitioned to north-east end and with later suspended ceiling. Original seating removed to both circle and balcony. Later partition walls inserted to rear of circle, along with projection room. Secondary stairs to south-east and south-west corners of auditorium between circle and balcony. Stage and proscenium arch to south-west end, decorative frieze depicting Grecian figures believed to survive above proscenium arch under a later covering. 1950s iron safety curtain decorated with local advertisements. Back-stage: Plain back-stage areas and dressing rooms with painted brick walls to rear areas behind. Fly-tower with timber gantry and stair.

Basement: Some later partitioning. Former ballroom (now snooker hall) with raked ceiling, ceiling ribs with plaster decoration, replaced concrete floor, later Art Deco-style coloured ceiling lights, some original wall panelling to south-east wall but rest removed. Later inserted bar counters. Altered billiards rooms. Stairs to north-west side lead to exterior, some original panelled exit doors.

HISTORY: Abbeydale Picture House was constructed in 1920 for the Abbeydale Picture House Ltd to the designs of Dixon & Stienlet of North Shields. The building was opened on the 20 December 1920 by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield. The original seating capacity within the auditorium is unknown (the original plans were for 1,800, although these figures were normally exaggerated), but records show that in 1934 the capacity was 1,560. A ballroom and billiards hall were originally contained within the basement, and above the entrance foyer was a first floor lounge and cafe; both opened in 1921. The cinema also originally had an orchestra, which was replaced by a 'Clavorchester' organ (now removed) in 1921.

The stage was enlarged in 1928, the ballroom and billiards room altered, and the dressing room facilities were upgraded in anticipation of introducing cine-variety. However, variety was discontinued following the advent of talking pictures in 1930. In 1949 the cinema was extensively redecorated, although it is not known what this actually entailed. A panoramic screen was installed in 1954, and Cinemascope was introduced in 1955 following the building's acquisition by Star Cinemas.

The stalls closed in October 1974 and the final programme was held on the 5 July 1975. The auditorium was later used as a furniture showroom and warehouse, which ceased trading in 1991. In 1983 the ballroom was converted into a snooker hall and the original sprung dance floor was replaced with concrete. Since 1991 the building has been largely unused except for the basement snooker hall and bar.

Atwell D. 1980. Cathedrals of the Movies: A history of British cinemas and their audiences
Eyles A. 2005. Old Cinemas
Harwood E. 1999. Picture Palaces
Shaw C. 2001. Sheffield Cinemas 100-102.
Ward R. 1988. In Memory of Sheffield's Cinemas, 14 & 15.

Abbeydale Picture House is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is a good example of an early 1920s mid-sized suburban cinema with both cinema and theatre facilities, designed by the cinema architects, Dixon & Stienlet of North Shields
* The imposing Neo-Baroque exterior, which also incorporates Art Deco influences, is relatively unaltered and is highly detailed with faience tiled principal elevations, square and oculus windows with moulded surrounds and double keystones, and a corner turret with stained glass windows and a domed roof
* The Classical style interior retains many original and early features, including plaster decoration throughout, the auditorium with its barrel-vaulted coffered ceiling and balcony to three sides, the original proscenium arch, a rare 1950s iron safety curtain displaying local advertisements, and the former ballroom's ribbed and raked ceiling
* The original layout remains largely intact, including the main circulatory spaces and access routes.

Listing NGR: SK3471584845

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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