Ian By: Ian

88 Sheffield Odeon 5

The Odeon Sheffield in Flatt Street opened in 1956, designed by Harry Weedon and Robert Bullivant. It had 2,319 seats in stalls and circle and lasted until 1971 when it became a bingo hall. It continues in this role today.


Sheffield Odeon

A scanned negative from 1988.

  • James 3y

    Considering some of the other wonderful cinemas which came from drawing boards of the Harry Weedon Partnership, this post-war Odeon was always a mishmash internally. I visited it in the '60s and was very disappointed; the ceiling was ugly and utilitarian with its accoustic cladding panels and rows of shallow, pendant light fittings instead of the house-style concealed lighting troughs and the side wall "grilles" never looking a permanent part of the scheme. T. P. Bennett and Sons' four years older Odeon on Jersey was, by contrast, every inch an Odeon and a handsome one at that. Building materials should, by the time of the Sheffield cinema's construction, have become more easily available for projects other than housing so one can only assume there may have been budget limitations, if so, that was odd for such a prominent cinema in a large city. Strangely, this auditorium, which so resembled an ill-converted aircraft hangar, was graced with a set of opulent screen tabs - burgundy velvet carrying both gold bullion at their base and, higher up, a diamond-shaped design in gold satin applique. If ever a cinema was impatient for the coming of bingo, it was this one - in my opinion!
  • Mike Blakemore 3y

    If You ever see Robert Bullivant mentioned... It was ALL of his own work... Harry Weedon never did really a great deal .. But got the credit for others work.. Eg Kingstanding and Warley...
  • James 3y

    Robert Bullivant was prolific within Harry Weedon's practice where Odeons were concerned and whilst, as Head of the practice, Weedon was, naturally, given the nominal credit for schemes developed by his "team", Bullivant and Thomas Braddock each rightly share credit as appropriate in the more authoritative books and articles about the circuit. During the mid to late '30s, "Weedon" Odeons were appearing at quite a rate and, given the non-cinema work also being handled at the time, his role has to have been perhaps conceptual, leaving much of the actual design work to those he employed. I used to know a niece of Mr Weedon and she remembered visiting the Birmingham practice offices and recalled his fondness of wide, fairly plain, rectangular proscenium arches (so typical of his Odeons) and wondered whether he anticipated the wider screens to come some years later or just found the dimensions aesthetically pleasing. Certainly CinemaScope sat very nicely within the original arches of Leicester Square, York, Chester, Scarborough and many more.
    It would seem to have been the case that Harry Weedon would study site dimensions to jointly agree the approximate, potential seating capacity with the board of Odeon, before coming up with the principal features/dimensions of an outline scheme and, as Mike intimates, then left most of the actual work to the likes of Bullivant and Braddock.

    Given the widely admired earlier Odeons on which Robert Bullivant did so much work, it remains odd to me that the Sheffield cinema's interior seemed so uninspired. In fairness, the design of everything had changed between the '30s and the '50s and perhaps cinemas were beginning to break away from their earlier theatrical templates, in which case Bullivant may have been attempting something bold and different.
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Taken sometime in 1988
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