Celebration to put historic Sheffield cinema on map

Abbeydale Picture House 21. Abbeydale Picture House'PictureJB
Abbeydale Picture House 21. Abbeydale Picture House'PictureJB
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Efforts to preserve a historic Sheffield cinema for future generations are stepping up – with a community celebration.

The iconic Abbeydale Picture House will host a vintage flea market of 75 stalls on Sunday.

And there will also be tours of the building, exhibitions and a gallery of artists’ impressions of the building.

It is all part of work to put the building – one of just two surviving pre-war and listed cinemas in Sheffield – on the map and secure its future as a community hub, boosted by the Sheffield Antiques Quarter whichhas developed around the area and created a destination in its own right.

Hendrika Stephens, chairman of the quarter, said: “The Picture House is a crucial building for the city because, of the 52 pre-war Sheffield cinemas built, fewer than a dozen survive, only two are listed and this is the only one with any hope of community use.

“It’s a rare opportunity for the community to get behind a building of this type with a real hope to save it for future generations.

“Sheffield has lost so much already – and the best have gone – but of the handful that remain the Abbyedale is the jewel.

“Incredible cinema buildings have already been lost to the city, often by fire culminating in demolition.

“Surely, it must be possible to save this one.”

The cinema dates from 1920.

It was formerly home to Abbey Snooker Club before Phil Robins bought the site, and then plans were approved to use the basement as a bar, table tennis and Italian street food restaurant.

There have been several recent events in other parts of the building – which houses bar Picture House Social in its basement – including a food market and others which have supported the development of the Antiques Quarter in the surrounding area.

Hendrika said: “The fact is that the Antiques Quarter vintage markets and events have brought more people to visit and enjoy the building than have stepped inside since it closed as a cinema in 1975.”

The vintage flea market starts at 11am this Sunday and finishes at 5pm.

It will also include music and food.

Entry is £2 for adults, free for children.

n To book a tour of the building with local historian Mike Higginbottom, visit www.sheffieldantiquesquarter.co.uk