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Sheffield History

THE GAUMONT CINEMA Sheffield

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Hi Skeets,

Thanks for the info. We had a running battle with the guy over a period of three or four years. Can't remember much about the car but he used to claim that he was on twenty four hour call and needed immediate access. It was a real pain when we had stage performances as that exit was used to smuggle the artists out at the end of the show. Groups like The Beatles left this way, so the access had to stay open. Never mind, after all it was 40 odd years ago so who cares, it's just another fun memory.

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Leonid Hambro (left) Borge's "Stooge" and Victor Borge.

Another memory in a long saga....

Of all the people I met while working at the Gaumont, probably the most memorable was Victor Borge.

He won all hearts on arrival by presenting the stage crew with ten crates of Carlsburg larger from the sponsors of the show. Borge was not a comedian in the accepted sense, much of his patter was just plain corny, but he had audiences in tucks within seconds. A gifted concert pianist, he practised for hours and in his show, comic timing was everything. I became fascinated with watching him set up one visual gag after another, to the extent of missing a 'blackout' lighting cue. It ruined the gag and I waited for the tongue lashing I deserved.

During the interval Borge came over to the lighting board and asked why no blackout?

I owned up and explained that I was trying to figure how he managed to appear to levitate a cup of coffee while telling a joke. "Ah", said Borge, "did you work it out"? I admitted that I hadn't and started to apologise for the lapse in concentration.

"Young man!, said Borge, "If you want to watch the show, you buy a ticket" and then removed the sting entirely by adding, "but it's well worth the money, yes?"

Probably one of the best funny men ever? Maybe, but a Gentleman? Definitely.

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Did he perform "Phonetic Punctuation" ?, brilliant.

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Sure did Richard and as always it went down a treat. On this one man show, his touring manager acted as a stooge wearing an outragious wig which Borge swiped and put on during a duet which involved their changing places at the piano....and.....

well you know how it was..... just brilliant

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First film i recall seeing here was Empire Strikes Back in 1981 with my uncle. Its a memory that i havnt forgotten. They were the days when going to the cinema was a big deal. Id probaly get taken twice, maybe three times a year. And we didnt have a video either! The anticipation of going to see the lastest blockbuster back then was sometimes overwhelming! Now, of course i go every other week and buy dvds like theres no tomorrow. But there was something very pure about seeing a film at a place like the Gaumont. The sense of occasion, the decor, the excitment, the fact that you could digest and think about a film for weeks after seeing it. I also remember a little newsagent type shop next to the Gaumont too, where my mum used to stock up on sweets etc to take in with us!! Looking at some of those pics it really was criminal of them to tear the place down. Other films i saw.. Return of the Jedi 1983 long line for that one! A View to a Kill 1985 Rodger Moore looking quite old..... :huh:

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I think the shop may have been called Cinema Dainties.....could be wrong though, it was a long time ago.

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Anyone remember when the balcony collapsed at the Gaumont ?

Or have i dreamt it , If so it was very real because i was there it must have been around 1965/66 at a guess .

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Anyone remember when the balcony collapsed at the Gaumont ?

Or have i dreamt it , If so it was very real because i was there it must have been around 1965/66 at a guess .

You didn't dream it Charlie Wag, in fact there were two occasions when the Gaumont's structure failed. Can't remember which came first but think it was when some of the decorative moulding came away from the ceiling under the balcony at the back of the stalls. No one was hurt though it happened during an afternoon performance.

The second one was much more serious but thankfully happened during the early hours of the morning. A large section of the outer dome broke away and crashed into the front of the balcony and stalls. Several dozen seats were smashed to a degree that showed just how fortunate it was, to have happened when the theatre was empty.

The theatre was closed for, I think ten days, for safety checks and repairs.

The dome itself (see picture) was made from moulded plaster secured in place with hessian ties, soaked in plaster and allowed to set. This was the approved method at the time of building in 1927. What hadn't been taken into account was that originally the ceilings around the dome had been lit with concealed lighting in the roof space through heavy plate glass panels. This lighting was removed during the 1950s but the glass left in situ. Several skips of glass were removed during the repairs. During this time, working lights were erected in the roof space which allowed us to see previously unnoticed war damage, where shrapnel (from the bomb which had damaged the front of the City Hall) had left several holes in the roof timbers. Also found over the proscenium arch was a plaster plate bearing the words,

"RIP" (sorry forgotten the two names) "died September 1927. Plasters leave this alone".

Strangely, both events happened while we were showing Walt Disney double feature programmes.......

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You didn't dream it Charlie Wag, in fact there were two occasions when the Gaumont's structure failed. Can't remember which came first but think it was when some of the decorative moulding came away from the ceiling under the balcony at the back of the stalls. No one was hurt though it happened during an afternoon performance.The second one was much more serious but thankfully happened during the early hours of the morning. A large section of the outer dome broke away and crashed into the front of the balcony and stalls. Several dozen seats were smashed to a degree that showed just how fortunate it was, to have happened when the theatre was empty.

The theatre was closed for, I think ten days, for safety checks and repairs.

The dome itself (see picture) was made from moulded plaster secured in place with hessian ties, soaked in plaster and allowed to set. This was the approved method at the time of building in 1927. What hadn't been taken into account was that originally the ceilings around the dome had been lit with concealed lighting in the roof space through heavy plate glass panels. This lighting was removed during the 1950s but the glass left in situ. Several skips of glass were removed during the repairs. During this time, working lights were erected in the roof space which allowed us to see previously unnoticed war damage, where shrapnel (from the bomb which had damaged the front of the City Hall) had left several holes in the roof timbers. Also found over the proscenium arch was a plaster plate bearing the words,

"RIP" (sorry forgotten the two names) "died September 1927. Plasters leave this alone".

Strangely, both events happened while we were showing Walt Disney double feature programmes.

Hi tsavo

Thanks for clearing that up glad i am not cracking up already but i remember watching the film don't remember which one and i was near the front "as you do as a kid and i heard this rumbling from the back which i thought was part of the film, then the lights went up and we were evacuated , i remember walking through reception and seeing one chap with blood coming from his head and a few others with injuries .

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Hi Charlie, don't remember the injured patrons but it's over 40 years ago and you tend to forget some details. Thanks for putting the record straight.

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Hi Charlie, don't remember the injured patrons but it's over 40 years ago and you tend to forget some details. Thanks for putting the record straight.

No worries mate .

hows the weather at the moment ? i have heard you had quite a downpour just before Xmas .

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Not just a downpour which is normal for December, but a howling gale that launched my satellite dish and a fair bit of the house wall, into the shrubbery!

At least we have sun on around 340 days of the year and today it's a pleasant 21c in the sun. We are in the UK towards the end of January and are frantically trying to dig out clothing more suited to the UK's January climate.

PS. welcome to SH.

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Not just a downpour which is normal for December, but a howling gale that launched my satellite dish and a fair bit of the house wall, into the shrubbery!

At least we have sun on around 340 days of the year and today it's a pleasant 21c in the sun. We are in the UK towards the end of January and are frantically trying to dig out clothing more suited to the UK's January climate.

PS. welcome to SH.

Yes i have heard it was a bit fiesty , We were in Tavira in October and the day before we arrived it absolutly wacked it down but we had 4 nice days and enjoyed it very much , it was the first time i had been over that way usually we are in the Lagos area .

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Hi Charlie, don't remember the injured patrons but it's over 40 years ago and you tend to forget some details. Thanks for putting the record straight.

Latest....my other half has reminded me that at the time of the stalls ceiling incident I was working at the Odeon in Manchester. So my recollections were second hand! Sorry, the old Tempus Fugit has struck again!

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Just read that the Odeon (previously Gaumont) Doncaster is to close. Lonnie Donnegan recorded "My old Man's A Dustman"and "Puttin on the Style" at the Doncaster Gaumont, just a couple of days before he played the Gaumont in Sheffield. Oh well, CBS did record Bob Dylan live at the Gaumont, but don't know if it was ever released commercially. Read somewhere a review of the recording and they said the acoustics were brilliant. (think it's posted somewhere on SF under my user name)

Pinched this quick comment....must have been the only time we really heard the vocalist....no chance with Stones and the Beatles!

If not the best sounding recording, Liverpool is as good a performance of the electric set as you will find on the tour. Perhaps inspired by playing the hometown of the Fab Four, the band is tight and powerful. Dylan's vocals, Robbie's lead guitar playing and Garth's erie B-3 all seem truly inspired. This board tape is of a remarkable effort. The first track was used as a demo of the song by Dwarf music. The second track appeared on a 1966 single, and on the official CBSCD Masterpieces. Dylan starts his now famous mumbling ruse before the introduction of LeopardSkin PillBox Hat, as the blue collar audience becomes a little loud with their heckling. Ballad Of A Thin Man is the highlight of the night. Glasgow is interesting tracks of songs that Bob was working on that were recorded for use in the film Eat The Document. The sound quality is amazing. The Sheffield show is perhaps the best of the tour. The quality is incredible. The Gaumont adds a warmth and depth to the overall sound that is lacking at many venues. This set represents some of the finest of the tour and, arguably, the best of this entire collection

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One of our Engineers was called to the Odeon in Doncaster last weekend and told me that they had said that it only has about a fortnight left.

I drove past earlier this week and it looked very un-loved, which is such a shame. The thing is, until the council start doing something about the price of the car parks in Doncaster people will keep going to the Dome and what have you where they can park for free and this only means we wil loose more once great places such as this.

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replying to a post by june newton last year, i, too, won tickets when slade appeared at the Gaumont for the 'Flame' film. Won them on Radio Hallam which had only just started at that time. I was 14 and a MASSIVE fan and the prize was to meet them and get signed albums. Got my album but got to say i chickened out of meeting them i was terrified!! Saw the film again recently on BBC and it was still quite good. They filmed a lot of the exterior scenes in Sheffield like Parkhill Flats.

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Latest....my other half has reminded me that at the time of the stalls ceiling incident I was working at the Odeon in Manchester. So my recollections were second hand! Sorry, the old Tempus Fugit has struck again!

Hello all. Recently registered on this site and primary details on the "Introductions" section.

I'll park myself in this thread for the time being as especially I'm a widescreen devotee and the Gaumont during its Cinerama days falls within my specialist area. Other cinemas too; the ABC Angel Street and the Odeon,Flat Stret in particular.

I'm going to have to work out what all these click-on things mean on here and then how to make attatchments. So if i wipe out everyones postings by mistake-you will know whats happened!

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Hello all. Recently registered on this site and primary details on the "Introductions" section.

I'll park myself in this thread for the time being as especially I'm a widescreen devotee and the Gaumont during its Cinerama days falls within my specialist area. Other cinemas too; the ABC Angel Street and the Odeon,Flat Stret in particular.

I'm going to have to work out what all these click-on things mean on here and then how to make attatchments. So if i wipe out everyones postings by mistake-you will know whats happened!

To the best of my knowledge, the Gaumont never screened "true" Cinerama. Cinerama used three syncronised projectors to produce a huge wrap round image, the only instance of this I remember in Sheffield, was the Cinerama Touring Cinema. This temporary "cinema in a tent" was sited on waste land off Devonshire Street in February of 1965 for a period of three months. Hope this helps.

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CBS did record Bob Dylan live at the Gaumont, but don't know if it was ever released commercially. Read somewhere a review of the recording and they said the acoustics were brilliant. (think it's posted somewhere on SF under my user name)

Pinched this quick comment....must have been the only time we really heard the vocalist....no chance with Stones and the Beatles!

If not the best sounding recording, Liverpool is as good a performance of the electric set as you will find on the tour. Perhaps inspired by playing the hometown of the Fab Four, the band is tight and powerful. Dylan's vocals, Robbie's lead guitar playing and Garth's erie B-3 all seem truly inspired. This board tape is of a remarkable effort. The first track was used as a demo of the song by Dwarf music. The second track appeared on a 1966 single, and on the official CBSCD Masterpieces. Dylan starts his now famous mumbling ruse before the introduction of LeopardSkin PillBox Hat, as the blue collar audience becomes a little loud with their heckling. Ballad Of A Thin Man is the highlight of the night. Glasgow is interesting tracks of songs that Bob was working on that were recorded for use in the film Eat The Document. The sound quality is amazing. The Sheffield show is perhaps the best of the tour. The quality is incredible. The Gaumont adds a warmth and depth to the overall sound that is lacking at many venues. This set represents some of the finest of the tour and, arguably, the best of this entire collection

If any Bob Dylan fans are interested, I've just found a 30 second clip recorded at the Gaumont of "Just like a woman" PM me if you would like a listen

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The original Gaumont should never have been allowed to be demolished. Its ornate interior was superb. If the stage had been enlarged like they did at the Lyceum, it could have attracted even bigger shows to Sheffield with its 2000+ seating capacity and along with the Lyceum given Sheffield two great theatres.

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The original Gaumont should never have been allowed to be demolished. Its ornate interior was superb. If the stage had been enlarged like they did at the Lyceum, it could have attracted even bigger shows to Sheffield with its 2000+ seating capacity and along with the Lyceum given Sheffield two great theatres.

Couldn't agree more about it's demolition, Abcman, but there just wasn't any way that the stage could have been extended in depth or width, without making the stage deeper (it was 27 feet if I remember rightly) by encroaching into the stalls. There were some original dressing rooms (not in use in the '60s) which could only be reached through a hatch in the procemium arch, but no spare width for a wider stage.

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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.

I remember it was on a Sunday in October 1960 that the Gaumont staged a couple of concerts by a guy called Emile Ford, who was a bit of a hit at the time. I think they were one of the first live concerts the cinema had staged --or the first they had staged for a long time. We went to the second performance, and our seats in the centre stalls cost 6s 6d each (32 and a half pence?). I can't remember much about the show, and I have long forgotten who else was on the bill. To be honest, I can't recall what Ford's hits were off hand!

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