Crookes Picture Palace 1912 - 1960

In 2003, Sheffield City Council were approached by commercial property developers who were interested in developing the site of the Crookes Picture Palace in Crookes. For many years the former cinema building had served as first a Co-operative Supermarket and then a Co-operative Discount store. Various attempts were made over the last few years  to develop the building, but these were usually thwarted by the Co-op's insistence that there should be no competition to their adjoining store. Needless to say the building itself suffered and in July 2004 it looked pretty forlorn and neglected. In fact, according to the developers, it had become an "eyesore" and only fit for demolition. The chances of the building surviving are zero given the alacrity of the Sheffield planners in demolishing the city's heritage. So here is a description of the building when it was Crookes "window to the world"

The Crookes Picture Palace - 1950's

The Crookes Picture Palace opened its doors on 2nd December 1912. The building was primarily a brick building with a cement frontage. Above the entrance to the cinema were some embossed decorations and the name "Crookes Picture Palace". The front of the building was flush with the adjoining shops and a blind alley ran down one side of the building to accommodate the queues waiting to see the films. From the small foyer a door on the right gave access to the stalls whilst a series of steps lead up to the rear of the auditorium. The auditorium was a single floor with the audience only sitting in front of the stage. A heavy red curtain covered the screen when not in use.  A raised section at the rear had a steeper rake than the rake in the stalls. The overall capacity of the cinema was 660.

The entrance fee varied from 2d in the front seats nearest the screen (always known as the pits), to 6d for the raised seats at the back of the auditorium. The show normally consisted of a Pathe newsreel, a travel film, a comedy film and then the main feature film. There were also serials which usually ended on a cliff-hanger, "only to be continued next week".

 

The proprietors of The Picture Palace were Hallamshire Cinemas Ltd. In 1931 a Western Electric Sound System was installed. The cinema remained open until 2nd April 1960 when it shut its doors for the final time. The last film to be shown was the Brigitte Bardot classic "Babette Goes To War" and "Senior Prom" with Jill Corey. 

Crookes Picture Palace - April 1960

Photograph taken from J.P. Turley's "Sheffield's Yesterdays - Places, People and Pubs" (1993)

After its closure as a picture house , it reopened for sometime as a bingo hall and then was converted for use as a supermarket.

 

 The Crookes Picture Palace - July 2004

A small article that appeared in The Sheffield Star in September 2004 gave the building a temporary reprieve from the developers but in 2005, I was surprised when the building was refurbished and became offices for Merlin Estates, the area's most prominent property developers. But their occupancy proved to be short-lived - the company went into compulsory liquidation in 2009 owing millions of pounds to over 300 creditors. It is now a Sainsbury's supermarket

Sources

In Memory of Sheffield's Cinema's - Richard Ward

Crookes - The History of a Sheffield Village

Photograph taken from J.P. Turley's "Sheffield's Yesterdays - Places, People and Pubs" (1993)

 

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This page was last updated on 08/08/14 16:47