Abbeydale Picture House celebrates 100th birthday
Opened on Dec 20th 1920, the Abbeydale Picture House was a large, ornate and luxurious suburban cinema, built during the Hollywood boom of the ‘Roaring 20s’.
The cinema could seat over 1,500 people and was the largest in Sheffield. After many years of gradual decline and then a shift towards restoration, the building was leased to CADS (Creative Arts Development Space) in 2017 who repurposed it as an event and studio space and are currently in the middle of a large restoration project. 2021 will see a year of events celebrating the history of the building kicking off on Jan 17th 2021 with an all day event from the Yorkshire Silent Film Festival. More info on this event can be found on the dedicated web page. (Please note, this event was originally planned for Dec 20th, if Sheffield remains in Tier 3 then this event will be postponed until a later date when current COVID restrictions are relaxed.)
To help with their centenary celebrations, CADS would like to hear from the public, do you have memories, pictures and stories to tell. Please send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the social pages for the Abbeydale Picture House
When the Picture House first opened, it included a ballroom and a still functioning billiard room. Initially intended to be used as a fully-functioning theatre, the arrival of the ‘talkies’ (films with recorded sound) led to the stage being used to house sound equipment in the 1930s. New projection equipment was installed in the 1950s, these now vintage projectors are still in situ in the vast projection room, but the cinema stopped functioning in 1975. After some time as an office supply showroom the restoration of the building began in 1991 with groups such as The Friends of the Abbeydale Picture House and the current owner, Phil Robins, all contributing time and cash to restore and maintain the building.
In 2017, CADS took on the running of the building, leasing from the owner Phil Robins with the long term goal of fully restoring the building for use as an event space, licensed cafe and studio space. This is in keeping with the other buildings CADS manage around Sheffield. Since taking on the building, CADS have overseen the restoration of the projector units so that cinema can now show films again. They have also completed many tasks to modernise and repair the various spaces inside and outside the building and have installed new facilities. They have also hosted many private and public events and partnered with a diverse range of organisations including Tramlines Festival, Sensoria, Migration Matters, Doc/Fest, Reel Steel and Village Screen.
Mark Riddington, Venue Coordinator and Project Officer for Abbeydale Picture House said. “CADS are absolutely delighted, and incredibly proud to be able to celebrate the 100th birthday of the Abbeydale Picture House – one of very few buildings of it’s type remaining in the country, and building that has survived against the odds, and is still entertaining people 100 years after it first opened its doors on December 20th, 1920, as Sheffield’s largest, and most luxurious cinema to date!”