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The Carlton Cinema, Arbourthorne sheffield.


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Guest tsavo

Opened August 1938.....

and that's all the information I can find. According to "Sheffield Cinemas" no picture is known to exist....so there's a challenge. Can we find one?

Here's hoping we can.

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Opened August 1938.....

and that's all the information I can find. According to "Sheffield Cinemas" no picture is known to exist....so there's a challenge. Can we find one?

Here's hoping we can.

I have been a member for some time but have not posted on this site before so I hope this uploads OK.

I was alerted to this request for information by Stuart0742 as we have been friends for over 40 years since school and he knew that I used to live opposite this cinema.

The Carlton cinema was built in the mid 30's along with the Arbourthorne estate at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Errington Road and did indeed open its doors as a cinema in 1938. It was built in a 1930's art deco style and made rather unusually for the time of precast, prefabricated reinforced concrete sections, not fantastically attractive to look at but described in those immediate pre war years as being "bomb proof", fortunately in the events which followed in 1940 this claim was never actually put to the test!

Within walking distance at Manor Top was the more popular Manor cinema, and according to my late father the Manor showed all the blockbusters from Hollywood and the latest releases while the Carlton used to show mainly "cowboys" (westerns), which were themselves very popular in the 1940's and 50's and comedy films such as Laurel and Hardy, the 3 stooges and Abbot and Costello.

Like all other cinemas the Carlton went into decline in the 1950's with the comming of television and the inability of smaller cinemas to show the new "widescreen" format effectively. Small cinemas were already showing standard format from wall to wall to get the biggest picture. CinemaScope advertised "50% more picture", but in a small cinema doing the width wall to wall trimmed the top and bottom (as it did on television screens at the time) and gave instead about 30% less picture. As a result of this the Carlton closed as a cinema in 1959 - 60.

The building became derelict in the early sixties and suffered some vandalism, its high illuminated frontage sign CARLTON became reduced to CARLTCON

In the mid sixties the building was taken over by a company manufacturing electric light bulbs (very fitting for a cinema) which eventually became THE OMEGA LIGHT COMPANY. Initially it was a factory as it had a work force which went to clock on in the morning and which I occasionally met when I delivered their morning newspapers, however throughout the 70's this workforce seemed to dwindle and eventually the building became no more than a wharehouse for the company with an occasional lorry turning up to collect or deliver stock. By the 1990's the place looked abandoned and was derelict again.

The building was demolished in the summer of 1999 and since then new housing has been built on the site. Built on a courtyard around the exacy location of the cinema this appears to be warden controlled housing for the elderly and infirm.

I cannot believe that no picture of this building exists given its concrete art deco past. I am sure I have seen one in a book but I just can't place it. Perhaps the Sheffield Star has one, during its 2 periods of dereliction there were a number of times the fire brigade were called to it for arson attacks. Or perhaps the library archive has one, either way I can't place it.

In the 60's I became interested in photography and had I known this situation was going to arrise I would have gone out and took a picture. A search of my early negatives found this very poor quality picture from around 1968 of the Omega lampworks (notice the broken CARLTCON sign). it was a "lead in" strip on 35mm taken through my dads bedroom window and was one of the very earliest picture I ever took and processed myself. Apologies for the poor quality but in these cicumstances any picture is better than none!

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Any pictures are welcome, Dave, especially one that was reputed to not exist! I've taken the liberty of tweaking it a little, hope you don't mind. Your information about the Carlton will be added to what I already have in the Cinemas & Theatres A to Z section. Welcome to Sheffield History and get out all the old negs and let's see them!

Laurence

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Any pictures are welcome, Dave, especially one that was reputed to not exist! I've taken the liberty of tweaking it a little, hope you don't mind. Your information about the Carlton will be added to what I already have in the Cinemas & Theatres A to Z section. Welcome to Sheffield History and get out all the old negs and let's see them!

Laurence

Glad you liked the picture and hope it comes in useful, especially as it was lying around here doing nothing for the last 40 years, after all what good is a picture if no one every gets to see it?

As I have produced this picture from scanning a negative and not an original photo as I probably never bothered printing it in the first place I had tried myself to "tweek" it a bit as you have done but this tended to make the picture break up. Unfortunately it must have been taken mid afternoon as the sun is behind the building on the right hand side making the building back lit and so the details are mainly in shadow.

Your "tweeking" has certainly improved on things as it has brought out some detail in those upper windows and the large entrance hall doorway, much better!

A pity about that lamp post being in the way though!

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Your "tweeking" has certainly improved on things as it has brought out some detail in those upper windows and the large entrance hall doorway, much better!

A pity about that lamp post being in the way though!

Probably not much better, but a wee bit of extra detail, maybe?

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I prefer your first "tweek"

You are now coming to the problem I had in that the more you tweek it the more the picture seems to develop artifacts and starts to break up, generating phantom bits of detail which are not really there at all. This tends to happen with .jpg images that have been compressed.

If it helps here is my original scan without any tweeking at all, other than those applied automatically by the scanner software. When I first looked at this it was almost a sillouette but the detail is there somewhere in the darkness.

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I prefer your first "tweek"

You are now coming to the problem I had in that the more you tweek it the more the picture seems to develop artifacts and starts to break up, generating phantom bits of detail which are not really there at all. This tends to happen with .jpg images that have been compressed.

If it helps here is my original scan without any tweeking at all, other than those applied automatically by the scanner software. When I first looked at this it was almost a sillouette but the detail is there somewhere in the darkness.

Think this needs some work by a real expert, not a dabler like me! last attempt.

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This looks quite good, best one yet. Still a bit of break up but at least there is some detail in the building that wasn't showing before. like you say it probably needs an expert to maximise the appearance of this one

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dunsbyowl1867

Opened August 1938.....

and that's all the information I can find. According to "Sheffield Cinemas" no picture is known to exist....so there's a challenge. Can we find one?

Here's hoping we can.

Opened 15/8/1938 and closed on 7/2/1959 ! One of eight to close that year.

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Opened 15/8/1938 and closed on 7/2/1959 ! One of eight to close that year.

Thanks for the exact dates Dunsbyowl, I wouldn't have known that but can vaguely remember as a kid a big final closing night in around 59 / 60.

Do you know the date when the Manor Cinema closed? It is reported somewhere on this site as 1963, but I remember going to see that Viking picture with Kirk Douglas in it in 1964 and there were other films after that. I think it must have closed in 1969. I can remember it reopened as the Challenge supermarket in 1970 and on their opening day promotion there were crowds because they were practically giving stuff away as a "loss leader". Any ideas on this date?

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Bang on, Dave. The Manor first closed as a cinema in July 1963, but reopened after a short try out of Bingo. This only lasted for a few days and the cinema shows returned, until it finally closed it's doors as a cinama, on the 14th of June, 1969.

The Kirk Douglas film you mentioned was "The Vikings" (first released in 1958), which also starred Tony Curtis.

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dunsbyowl1867

Bang on, Dave. The Manor first closed as a cinema in July 1963, but reopened after a short try out of Bingo. This only lasted for a few days and the cinema shows returned, until it finally closed it's doors as a cinama, on the 14th of June, 1969.

The Kirk Douglas film you mentioned was "The Vikings" (first released in 1958), which also starred Tony Curtis.

My notes state -

Opened on 12/12/27 and reopened after closure on 17/11/63

First closed as a cinema 17/11/63 my list states "when the hall closed as a cinema") and as Tsavo states finally on 14/6/69!

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My notes state -

Opened on 12/12/27 and reopened after closure on 17/11/63

First closed as a cinema 17/11/63 my list states "when the hall closed as a cinema") and as Tsavo states finally on 14/6/69!

Thanks for the dates, that seems to explain my memory of it still being a cinema in the latter half of the sixties. I seem to remember, although I may be wrong, walking past it in 1969 and it was advertising the (at the time) X-rated film "Ted & Carol & Bob & Alice" (which I was too young to go and see!!) and that was a 1969 film, it may even have been the last film they ever screened.

Where do you guys keep getting these exact dates from? Is there some sort of reference work on old Sheffield cinemas?

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Sure is. Mine is "Sheffield Cinemas" by the Sheffield Cinema Society. I think mine, a gift from my daughter, was purchased from W H Smith in Meadowhall.

The society published quite a lot of books about Sheffield Cinemas, but annoyingly I cannot fine a website for them. As an old Chief Projectionist, I would love to have some contact with them. Anyone help?

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I can't find any more pictures of The Carlton in my file or in any book or archive but I am still convinced there are some existing. My mum, who still lives on Eastern Avenue is convinced she either has or has seen one in colour but we can't find that either.

As my picture, taken well after the closure of the cinema in 1959, technically shows not the Carlton Cinema but the Omega Lampworks I have tried searching for pictures of "Omega Lampworks". It appears that a company with this name still exists, but not in Sheffield, and has a web site. Sadly no information available, or pictures of Omega Lampworks, Eastern Avenue Sheffield.

As for the actual cinema building my mum remembers vaguely that there were some shops built into the side of it running along Eastern Avenue. All I can remember is that this location was always boarded up with thick green boards painted in corporation green, and later became a target for graffiti / vandalism. Does anyone know anything about these "shops"?

Finally for now I saw a request on this site for a picture of the Manor Cinema. I don't appear to have one as far as I know, but come on, surely given its longer history, the showing of more popular films and not to mention its prime position at Manor Top roundabout there must be hundreds of pictures of this cinema out there.

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Guest plain talker

I can't find any more pictures of The Carlton in my file or in any book or archive but I am still convinced there are some existing. My mum, who still lives on Eastern Avenue is convinced she either has or has seen one in colour but we can't find that either.

As my picture, taken well after the closure of the cinema in 1959, technically shows not the Carlton Cinema but the Omega Lampworks I have tried searching for pictures of "Omega Lampworks". It appears that a company with this name still exists, but not in Sheffield, and has a web site. Sadly no information available, or pictures of Omega Lampworks, Eastern Avenue Sheffield.

As for the actual cinema building my mum remembers vaguely that there were some shops built into the side of it running along Eastern Avenue. All I can remember is that this location was always boarded up with thick green boards painted in corporation green, and later became a target for graffiti / vandalism. Does anyone know anything about these "shops"?

Finally for now I saw a request on this site for a picture of the Manor Cinema. I don't appear to have one as far as I know, but come on, surely given its longer history, the showing of more popular films and not to mention its prime position at Manor Top roundabout there must be hundreds of pictures of this cinema out there.

I can confirm that if there had been any shops built into the side of it, they certainly were no longer in existence by the 70s when I lived nearby. All I remember are the boarded up typical cinema exit doors along Eastern Ave. The face toward Errington road had only the one door bang on the corner, and a smaller door on the wall behind.

(I lived in the 1960's council flats immediately adjacent to the cinema for some years)

I remember kids getting in the derelict building into the 1990s and setting fires, as well as dicing with death by running around the parapets 20 or 10 feet up in the air, even in the dark. I had to phone the police and fire brigade numerous times.

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I can confirm that if there had been any shops built into the side of it, they certainly were no longer in existence by the 70s when I lived nearby. All I remember are the boarded up typical cinema exit doors along Eastern Ave. The face toward Errington road had only the one door bang on the corner, and a smaller door on the wall behind.

(I lived in the 1960's council flats immediately adjacent to the cinema for some years)

I remember kids getting in the derelict building into the 1990s and setting fires, as well as dicing with death by running around the parapets 20 or 10 feet up in the air, even in the dark. I had to phone the police and fire brigade numerous times.

Thanks for that plain talker (second time today, - perhaps were the only ones currently on the site!)

The shop(s) would certainly have gone by the 70's as they were part of the cinema building and went when the cinema business went. I moved onto the Arbourthorne in 1958, and we moved onto Eastern Avenue opposite the Carlton in 1965 and I too have no memory of the shop(s), I remember it as you describe. My mother though can remember this shop. The main entrance was bang on the corner, and was a congregating point for gangs of youths. The other small door on Errington was the one used by the Lampworks staff and the delivery wagons in the 1960's - 70's. There were several doorways along Eastern Avenue and several large "windows" (serving hatches??) all of which were also always boarded up.

If you lived in the Errington flats you must have been just over the road from me! small world isn't it.

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Guest plain talker

I lived on arbourthorne road for a time, then on Errington Avenue, in a flat adjacent to the cinema.

Not long before the Lampworks closed, I went into the building, to seek work (I was about to leave school) and I remember the chap who was in charge was a Sikh gent with turban etc.

Sadly, as they were planning to close, there was no work.

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Assume it is the building slightly left of top centre.....but I'll stand correcing. Nice work Steve......maybe another shot a bit closer?

:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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Assume it is the building slightly left of top centre.....but I'll stand correcing. Nice work Steve......maybe another shot a bit closer?

:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I can't improve on the quality.

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Here you go tsavo,

spot The Carlton

Yes that's the Carlton, - or more correctly the Omega Lampworks as those flats and Vic Hallam houses date the picture at after 1967, well after the cinema itself had estinguished its flickering light!

Our house is just visible opposite the Carlton on Eastern Avenue to the top left of it in the photo. my mum still lives there.

This view shows the cinema from the rear. The entrance shown in my earlier picture is again at the top left where Eastern Avenue and errington road meet. The wall of the building in the picture which is facing you is the end of the building where the screen would have been.

This is also a nice picture of Arbourthorne Pond and Arbourthorne playing fields.

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This looks quite good, best one yet. Still a bit of break up but at least there is some detail in the building that wasn't showing before. like you say it probably needs an expert to maximise the appearance of this one

I've rescanned the negative again, and with the experience I have gained lately of scanning old negatives for SHEFFIELDHISTORY I have found a way to adjust the exposure given by the scanner, - a bit like good old fashioned photography again, so this should be a big improvement with much more detail in the buildings archetecture without getting any digital correction artifacts. See what you think Tsavo

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I can't find any more pictures of The Carlton in my file or in any book or archive but I am still convinced there are some existing. My mum, who still lives on Eastern Avenue is convinced she either has or has seen one in colour but we can't find that either.

Finally for now I saw a request on this site for a picture of the Manor Cinema. I don't appear to have one as far as I know, but come on, surely given its longer history, the showing of more popular films and not to mention its prime position at Manor Top roundabout there must be hundreds of pictures of this cinema out there.

What a turm up for the file of old negatives! I didn't think I had one but when I got the Carlton negative out again to do the improved copy I found this picture of the Manor Cinema as well (actually the Challenge supermarket at the time). A note with this roll of film indicates that both this photo of the Manor cinema, and the one of the Carlton were both taken, along with a few others in the same area, on Sunday 17 October 1971 for part of a CSE Geography project.

The Challenge supermarket opened in 1970 in the old cinema building. as this picture shows, just like New York it was so good they had to name it twice! The building is a supermarket to this day, Somerfield I believe.

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