We are absolutely delighted to have signed a long-term lease for this historic Grade II listed building, a former cinema of the early 20th century, and presently the only one of its era left in Sheffield. The largest and most luxurious cinema around, it was often referred to as the “Picture Palace”, because of its glamorous cream and gold colour scheme, period plaster, faïence tiles, stained glass and turrets. Today it luckily still has most of its original features, including its grand plaster vaulted ceiling!
As mentioned The Abbeydale Picture House is a former cinema, originally opened on the 20th of December 1920; the cinema had seating for 1,560 people, and also included a ballroom and a billiard hall. Originally, it was intended to be used as a fully-functioning theatre, however up until 1930, cine-variety instead played a major role at the Abbeydale, before the inevitable arrival of the “talkies” – talking films; at this time the stage was used purely to house the sound equipment. Fast-forward to the mid-1950s, and the cinema was purchased by the Star Cinema Group, which decorated the entire building and installed new projection and sound equipment, including a wide screen. The cinema closed on the 5th of July 1975, and was subsequently used as an office furniture showroom until 1991. Since then, the restoration project has been undertaken by multiple groups, including The Friends of Abbeydale Picture House, and the current owner Phil Robins with Hand Of, who previously operated screenings and the café up until last year.
Our projection room was restored by the Projected Picture Trust, to include 35mm film screenings.
With our 25 year lease in-tow, we look forward to continuing this project. We’re having ongoing discussions with the council to bring it back into use, and look forward to what lies ahead at The Abbeydale Picture House!
Although some facts are known about The Abbeydale Picture House, parts of its history is still shrouded in mystery, and so we are currently in the process of uncovering as much as possible of this fine buildings past; if you, or someone you know can help us with this, please do e-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org