Abbeydale Picture House
Abbeydale Picture House (later Abbeydale Cinema) is a former cinema in the City of Sheffield, England. When opened by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield on 20 December 1920 the picture house was the largest and most luxurious cinema in Sheffield, it was often called Picture Palace because it was decorated in cream and gold with green velvet seats made of dark mahogany. It also had many intricate decorations and carvings as well as a mosaic floor in the foyer and a glass canopy with a marble pillar on the outside of the building. The first film shown was The Call of the Road ( IMDB entry). The cinema had seating for 1,560 people and also included a ballroom and a billiard hall (the latter is still in operation). Cine-variety played a major role at the Abbeydale until 1930 when the "talkies" talking films came in and the stage was then used purley to house the sound equipment. In the mid 1950's the cinema was taken over by the Star Cinema Group which meant the entire building being redecorated and a new cinema technology being fitted including a new permanent WIDE screen. The cinema closed on 5 July 1975 and was used as an office furniture showroom until 1991. In 1989 the building was given a Grade II listing by English Heritage. In 1991 the sprung floor in the ballroom was ripped out and Abbey Snooker and Bar Abbey were put in, they are still there to this day. In 2003 the Friends of Abbeydale Picture House"boasting patrons including Michael Palin, Peter Stringfellow and the John Lewis Partnership"was formed to "restore and manage the 'Picture Palace' as a community centre for the performing arts and visual media." They officially became the owners of the building on 21 December 2005. The Abbeydale Picture House has regular performances and fundraisers to try and raise money towards the restoration. As it is part of English Heritage the building is open for guided tours on the second weekend in September.