The Picture House

The Building

The Abbeydale Picture House is an incredible, faience tile-clad 1920s cinema that sits on the apex of Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. Opened originally in 20 December 1920, it was the largest and most luxurious cinema in Sheffield, often referred to as the “Picture Palace” because of the luxurious cream and gold colour scheme. The cinema had seating for 1,560 people and also included a ballroom and a billiard hall.

Cine-variety played a major role at the Abbeydale until 1930 and the arrival of the “talkies” talking films; from this time the stage was used purely to house the sound equipment. In the mid-1950s 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 5 July 1975 and was subsequently used as an office furniture
showroom until 1991.

Over a decade later, the rebirth of this amazing heritage site began – 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.

The Project

CADS took on the lease for the The Abbeydale Picture House in January 2017, and we plan to continue the long-term restoration project to bring this incredible venue back into use.

CADS’ background is steeped in successful projects involving breathing new life into dilapidated and disused spaces. This project is bigger, but in principle no different to what we have done in the past. Building on the fantastic work undertaken by previous users of the building (Hand Of, Friends of Abbeydale Picture House), and the owner, Phil Robins, we will make all of the spaces within the listed site safe, event ready and vibrant! This will ultimately include the balcony spaces, all former bar and restaurant areas, the backstage area and smaller rooms. We’re already part way through this part of the project and are open for bookings..!

In the longer term, and as we build the financial resilience of the building, we will be applying for Heritage Lottery Funding to undertake a full restoration with the eventual aim of creating a nationally-recognised community arts venue that showcases and celebrates it’s cinematic history.

CADS South Yorkshire

CADS is a well established Registered Charity (No. 1151884) which began life in Sheffield in 2009. We are committed to restoring, revitalising and repurposing unloved buildings in the city, in order to provide affordable and appropriate spaces such that the local independent Arts, Culture and Creative Industries can flourish. To find out more about the work of CADS, visit our main website here:

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