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Sheffield History

THE GAUMONT CINEMA Sheffield

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THE GAUMONT CINEMA

Barkers Pool - Sheffield

LOCATION

Heading from the top of fargate towards the city hall the Gaumont was the big building on your left

PICTURES

Pictures courtesy of Picture Sheffield.

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I queued all the way down the road at the side of the Gaumont down past Coles and round the corner again onto the Moor to see Return of the Jedi the day it was released...

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I queued all the way down the road at the side of the Gaumont down past Coles and round the corner again onto the Moor to see Return of the Jedi the day it was released...

Barkers Pool was one of the original town resevoirs and still runs under the area today. I worked at the Gaumont in the first half of the 1960s and had to check the water levels on a daily basis. During a stage production of the Bruce Forsyth Show the pump controlling the water level failed. The orchestra pit quickly flooded and the band played the first house with their feet in three inchs of muddy water. The show must go on......!

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No way !!

That's brilliant !!!

ha ha ha !!

Nice to 'sea' you to 'sea' you nice !

Do you have any photo's or stuff from the place ?

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No way !!

That's brilliant !!!

ha ha ha !!

Nice to 'sea' you to 'sea' you nice !

Do you have any photo's or stuff from the place ?

Strange as it may seem no. I could have had photo's and autographs of some of he biggest in the business but at the time it didn't seem important. At least I can say I talked to the Beatles, spiced up Bruce's act and fell out with Mick Jagger! But I'll save all that for another thread on another day.

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No way !!

That's brilliant !!!

ha ha ha !!

Nice to 'sea' you to 'sea' you nice !

Do you have any photo's or stuff from the place ?

Nice Quip but "nice to see you..." didn't come in untill he did the Generation Game.

The current one at this time was "I'm in Charge" from Beat the Clock on Sunday Night at the London Paladium.

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Not the greatest picture but hey

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Must have been taken late 60s, early 70s after twinning. Still my favorite building.

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The ABC was where I went as a child on a Saturday morning

Loved the series that they showed that left you on a cliffhanger at the end of each episode

But the Gaumont was a step up in class - absolutely fantastic and very posh

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And it not only had a Saturday morning film show, but this was followed with live rock n roll groups on stage.

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Looking at it now, it was criminal to demolish it as it was quite a classy building and look what replaced it :o

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Agree with that one - defintiely

The Gaumont was plush

Instead we get a red meccano set

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Agree with that one - definitely

The Gaumont was plush

Instead we get a red meccano set

This low resolution picture will give an idea of the decoration. The colour scheme was of plum and gold with powder blue.

The curtains shown here, I came to hate, as they sometimes jammed and only raised at one side. We then had to climb up the proscenium arch and haul it out of the way to start the performance. Not a favorite occupation for one who is afraid of heights!

The screen itself was unique and was rolled sideways into a huge vertical roll to clear the stage for live performances.

Link to auditorium photo on Picture Sheffield site

http://www.picturesheffield.co.uk/cgi-bin/...jpgh/s02725.jpg

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What an absolutely fantastic place that was

You're right about the decor being plush - I felt like I was going somewhere really special when I went to the Gaumont as a kid

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After working late on a technical problem at the Gaumont in 1964, I and a colleague, were only thinking that we would be in our beds in half an hour or so.

Leaving the building at 3.00am, we found that our Mini was blocked in by another Mini on the narrow gennell (ginnell?) down to Pinstone street. The other car belonged to someone living in a flat above the Pinstone Street shops. He worked for the Council lighting department and refused to come and move it.

We asked the local Bobby (he was sat in the Town Hall Police box) for assistance. Remember, the police had no radios in those days, just a whistle. Rather than sound his whistle, the Sergeant ran his truncheon along the roadside railings creating an awful racket. As if by, magic three policemen appeared from various shop doorways. After sizing up the problem, the Sergeant and his three constables carried the blocking mini clear of the gennell and allowed us to leave. They then replaced it in the gennell but sideways on, leaving just a few inches back & front. Would have given anything to have seen the guy's face when he saw his car.

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I used to go to the Gaumont before it was twinned. It was a beautiful Cinema/Theatre. My late Grandfather always referred to it as The Regent. Even after it was twinned it remained a 'Grand Picture Palace'. Whoever allowed its demolition ought to have been certified.

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Couldn't agree more, echo, the dividing line between so called progress and vandalism is very small sometimes.

Nearly forgot, welcome to the site.

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A one night concert at the Gaumont still sticks in my memory, basically because of a rather mean trick.

The show was called 'Rock and Trad' and presented by the (then) very new Robert Stigwood Organisation.

This show gave us several problems as the opening called for the entire cast to enter the theatre,

through the stalls and on to the stage behind a 'Trad Jazz' band. As the Gaumont stage was over six feet

higher than the stalls this problem had to be solved. It was eventually decided to build a stepped ramp

to make this posible. We then realised that the main curtains, which came down to the stalls level would

just cascade over the ramp. Very unprofessional and not to be tollerated by the manager, Harry Murray.

As a compromise the last twelve inches of the ramp was hinged and a pair of door bolts fitted underneath

to form a secure step. These locked into the front of the stage. As they say, sounded like a good idea at the time....

No guesses as to who had the job of raising the ramp and securing the bolts...

Everything worked fine at the rehersal (as things often do) but went horribly wrong when done for real.

Today, all theatres have cctv to see the auditorium from the stage. We had a guy peeking through the curtains.

We'd timed it so that the curtains would rise just as the band passed the front seats. What we hadn't thought of

was the slight delay between the signal to raise the curtains and someone pressing the 'up' button.

By the time the curtains cleared the ramp, the band were already at the first step.

First there was a guy with a huge drum strapped to his chest.

Unable to see his feet (he was a big lad and the drum didn't help) he caught the ramp with his heel

and shunted the whole thing sideways a couple of inches. (for those who have stuck with this tale from the start,

you will realise things weren't going too well at this point)

Unable to lock the bolts or move the ramp I had no alternative but to stick my shoulder against the flap and think strong.

Once the drummer had passed, the rest of the cast were a doddle and all stepped safely on stage.

The stage manager sent with this show was.....how can I put it.... a bit green.

He was tall, dressed in suit, tie and waistcoat and had a very public school accent. Obviously, we thought, someone's nephew

in Stigwoods organisation. He admitted this was his first show, and said he was there to learn.

A live stage show, (especially a one nighter) is not the sort of show where you have time to give tutorials.

He was an absolute pain. Asking questions and generally getting under everyone's feet and being in all

the wrong places at the wrong time.

We decided to give him something to do that would get him out from under our feet.

Fact: Every stage lighting board has a 'Master Blackout' button.

Fact: Stage lighting uses a lot of power.

Fact: People under pressure will believe anything if you say it with a straight face.

During the break after the first half, having warned everyone of the plot, I hit the master blackout button, leaving just the emergency and working lights on the stage. Suit and tie appears out of the darkness to ask what the problem is.

With a straight face I explain that because we are normally a cinema with only occasional stage shows, all electricity

has to be paid for by the visiting show. We fill up the meter before the show and bill them later,

but we've forgotten to fill up the meter.

Suit and tie springs into action and waving his wallet about asks what he can do. We say get as many shillings as you can,

he grabs a bowler hat belonging to the Trad band and disappears.

He reappeared 15 minutes later with a bowler hat crammed with shilling coins. Don't know how many sweet shops he visited, or newspaper sellers he had to turn upside down to get them, but he did.

We shamefacedly explained the gag (which he took in good part) and left him to ponder what on what to do with

50 quids worth of one shilling pieces.

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Couldn't agree more, echo, the dividing line between so called progress and vandalism is very small sometimes.

Nearly forgot, welcome to the site.

Just can't resist this picture. It shows the quality of the decoration and is the best I've ever seen. Don't know who's copyright, but will remove it if requested. It's just too good not to share.

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I won tickets to see the film with Slade in it (can't remember the name of the film..) it was premiered at the Gaumont and Slade came on live to open the film (not exactly "red carpet" material but exciting for it's day and to an 18 year old mesmerising) I loved the Gaumont, it WAS "posh"!!

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Here's a photo I took whilst experimenting with my camera on an open shutter

You'll also find a copy here:

http://www.rocknroll.force9.co.uk/cinemas/...o7.html#kingdom

I used to frequent the Gaumont a lot towards it's latter years , mainly to use the video library that they installed at the back of the foyer. The Manager at that time was Paul Archer, a smashing fella who loved the building and would tell you all about it.

He once took me to the little lane around the back (where the mini in the previous posting was) and pointed out a row of windows that could no longer be looked out of since the stairway behind them had been blocked off during the conversion to multi screens.

When the cinema was converted from 1 to 2 screens he pointed out that they had a JCB in the building, digging out to make screen one deeper and that when the 3rd screen was added, an extention was built on the roof which at first wasn't insulated, so in winter the audience froze and in summer it was boiling.

He fought to keep the name Gaumont, because the Rank Organisation called the majority of their cinemas "Odeons" and he told them that Sheffielders associated the name "Odeon" with the cinema in Fitzallan Square (which was by now the Top Rank Bingo).

I also asked why were they pulling it down, was it due to poor attendances? He said "No. If we get the right films the place would still pack out, but when a development company offers the owners a few million pounds for the site and will incorporate 3 moderns screens into the bargain, how could they refuse?"

As I said, a smashing & interesting fella.

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After working late on a technical problem at the Gaumont in 1964, I and a colleague, were only thinking that we would be in our beds in half an hour or so.

Leaving the building at 3.00am, we found that our Mini was blocked in by another Mini on the narrow gennell (ginnell?) down to Pinstone street. The other car belonged to someone living in a flat above the Pinstone Street shops. He worked for the Council lighting department and refused to come and move it.

We asked the local Bobby (he was sat in the Town Hall Police box) for assistance. Remember, the police had no radios in those days, just a whistle. Rather than sound his whistle, the Sergeant ran his truncheon along the roadside railings creating an awful racket. As if by, magic three policemen appeared from various shop doorways. After sizing up the problem, the Sergeant and his three constables carried the blocking mini clear of the gennell and allowed us to leave. They then replaced it in the gennell but sideways on, leaving just a few inches back & front. Would have given anything to have seen the guy's face when he saw his car.

HI, TSAVO, RE; THE GUY YOU HAD THE TROUBLE WITH IN THE LITTLE LANE AT THE SIDE OF BRAY BROS,I DOUBT WAS THE ONE WHO LIVED IN THOSE FLATS BECAUSE HE WAS MY BROTHER AND HE NEVER OWNED A MINI, AND AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME HE DID NOT OWN A CAR AT ALL, ONE EXPLANATION COULD BE, THAT HE HAD BORROWED IT FROM A WORKMATE,AND BEING THE AWKWARD SOD THAT HE WAS, HE WOULD HAVE SAID IT'S NOT MY CAR, DID YOU EVER KNOW THE OUTCOME OF THE INCIDENT, I NEVER RECALL HIM SAYING ANYTHING ABOUT IT AND WE USED TO GO OUT WIYH THEM IN MY CAR AT THAT PERIOD EVERY SAT;HIS NAME WAS LEWIS FEARNEHOUGH AND HE WAS A SURVEYOR AT THE LIGHTING DEPT ,BUT AS I SAY IT WOULD BE JUST LIKE HIM TO MAKE AN ISSUE OUT OF SUCH A SITUATION CHEERS SKEETS

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