When Sheffield had more cinemas than there were films to watch

Back in the 1970s cinemas were as plentiful as the films on offer. We went as a family to Studio 5,6,7 which was just beyond the Wicker Arches coming down Spital Hill.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 1:06 pm

And one film I remember us going to watch was Bedknobs and Broomsticks, starring Angela Lansbury and even Bruce Forsyth.

The cinema had a reputation for more adult material if I remember correctly, but did also cater to families.

I often think about Studio 5,6,7 when I drive across The Wicker on Derek Dooley Way, as the crossing is roughly where it was.

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Studio 7 Cinema, The Wicker, Sheffield, pictured in 1968. Originally the Wicker Picture House which opened in 1920 Finally closed in 1987 and demolished

Going to the cinema for me back then was a big deal, as going to watch a film wasn’t a regular thing for me, like it was to many of my friends.

I remember them talking about Saturday morning cartoons at the ABC cinema on Angel Street.

Imagine that – a full morning of cartoons – bliss!

It is something children of today can get without even leaving their beds.

ABC Cinema, Angel Street, Sheffield 29 August 1985

Cinemas before and just after the Second World War were nearly as plentiful as the pubs, with few people owning TVs.

This was the main means of seeing moving pictures, news reels, and films.

I never went to the cinema that often as a child, but another particular film I remember was Jaws.

This film came out in 1975, and told the story of a large shark roaming the seas around a small summer resort town called Amity Island in America, feeding on the odd unfortunate swimmer.

Directed by Steven Spielberg and based on the novel by Peter Benchley, Jaws grossed box office income in excess of $21,000,000 in its first ten days. This film was groundbreaking in many ways, staring many well known stars of the time, such as Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss.

The fear factor was immense in the cinema and in reality for those who dared to venture into the seas around the world after seeing the film.

Sheffield was buzzing about the film at the time, and it even had merchandising which was very prevalent and a new thing.

I felt like everyone had seen this film apart from me, everyone in the school yard spoke vividly about the plot especially the more gory details, it did feel like I’d actually seen it.

It felt like everyone had been to a great party, and I was the only one who hadn’t been invited.

Jaws was definitely the most talked about film event of the time.

So three years later when Jaws 2 came to Sheffield in 1978, I was definitely going to this party.

Again it was studio 5, 6, 7 which came to my aid, with memories of the first Jaws film from the school yard, my anticipation was rewarded.

There was all the tension, anticipation, fear and gore of the missed first film and it did not disappoint.

With the added bonus, when the credits rolled at the end of the film I just sat there for a while on my own and lo and behold the film started again, so Jaws 2, two times in one afternoon.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.