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Help needed!
Just off Fitzalan Square and now a Mecca Bingo Hall - what was the name of the cinema that used to be here?

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The Odeon. Opened July 19th, 1956  with “Reach For the Sky” and closed as a cinema 5th June,1971 with a double bill of “Carry on Up the Khyber/Jungle”. It opened as  Mecca Bingo,the following day.

 

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On 01/05/2018 at 21:54, rover1949 said:

ODEON

As a child I remember the steel framework being there long before the Odeon Cinema was completed. I was told that the building of the Odeon started in 1939 but was stopped because war broke out.

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That is correct. The building was halted when war broke out. It was a very different building to the one that appeared later. It had one of those huge tower “fins”, typical of Odeons of the time.

I’m glad they changed the plans as they did. The Odeon was a beautiful cinema...... the first post-war one to be built, with state-of-the-art projection and sound.

My Dad took me on its first Saturday, to see “Reach for the Sky”.

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Fantastic!

Thanks everyone - superb responses as always!

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I love this site, it answers every question you have!!

I never knew the Bingo hall was a cinema, this article as been really interesting, thanks for sharing.

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There were many cinemas which were converted to Bingo halls. It happened after the upsurge in television made people stay in rather than go out.

In some casesa "stalls and circle" type cinema would be converted half and half, so the stalls would change to bingo and the circle (with the projection box at the rear) would make a smaller cinema, sometimes with a new closer screen being used.

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8 hours ago, Hopman said:

In some casesa "stalls and circle" type cinema would be converted half and half, so the stalls would change to bingo and the circle (with the projection box at the rear) would make a smaller cinema, sometimes with a new closer screen being used.

 

That sounds like a crazy idea! Did it work well?

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I can’t think of any Sheffield Cinemas that did that? For one thing, if the cinema was not making money just showing films, I don’t think they could have found the cost of conversion and soundproofing needed to operate both.

Certainly, none of the City Centre Cinemas did that. The only reason that the Odeon closed was that Rank decided to enlarge the Gaumont by raising the roof and converting the building into two cinemas....Gaumont: 1 & 2

They were still large cinemas. Screen one even had a huge, Cinerama screen (Albeit ,not a 3 projector set up.).

it opened in July,1969 with “Ice Station Zebra” in Screen:1 and “Funny Girl” in Screen : 2.

It became too expensive to operate three large cinemas here so, they suddenly converted the Odeon to Bingo,which still operates today, long after the Gaumont’s demise.

That theatre has since had a false ceiling built to separate what was the Circle from the Stalls.

Most of the suburban cinemas changed to Bingo in the 1960’s....firstly on a part-time basis and later, full time. They were simply not big enough to separate into dual purpose buildings!

A few that changed to Bingo,that come to mind are:  Roscoe,West Bar - Roxy, Page Hall - Star, Ecclesall Road - Lyric, Darnall - Adelphi, Atterclifffe - Manor, Manor Top - Sunbeam, Firvale - Essoldo, Lane Top and many others.

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I was surprised to see that the Odeon closed in 71, I went there quite a lot so it must have been all in the 60's. The Lyric on Main Road Darnall flirted with Bingo by having one night a week for bingo in the 60's before becoming a full time bingo hall.  Did the Manor Top pictures do both at once for a time before becoming a full time bingo hall?

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I think this is the only cinema I have never visited in Sheffield (and its surrounding areas)..... In the late 60s I even worked for Rank Leisure Services and never got the chance to visit this cinema back then.

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There were several methods of conversion, some more successful than others. The ABC in Chesterfield was reduced to just the circle being used for films, with the stalls area becoming a pub and run by a different company. Another split stalls and circle and used the stage area as screen 3.

If you recall the Sheffield ABC which was a stadium design (one long sweep) this was never converted after they saw the disaster done at the smaller, though similar design in Doncaster. The front stalls became screen 1 and a new projection box was needed at the back. The rear stalls, the elevated section, were split down the middle. New screens were installed, for screen 2 the old projection box could be used and the exit was along the back of the new screen 3. It was screen 3 which was the disaster. A new projection box was needed which ate into the seating, but the real disaster was that the entrance was right in the line of sight of the old seats. There was a new screen, but the rows were not aimed at it.

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