Story: Yasmin Khan
I grew up in the Attercliffe area and lived between the two cinemas. The Adelphi was a grand cinema with a glass dome and stained glass windows.
My mum was very busy with cooking, cleaning, looking after visiting relatives. The only day off was Sunday, when mum’s entertainment was a good movie. I remember my mum taking me, but my younger siblings had to stay at home. The films I remember most are ‘Mother India’ and ‘Sangam’. The films were as good as ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven’.
The cinema was very large with small side-circles and a large main circle. I remember one time we watched a film and had to sit right next to the screen. It was very high and wide and the sound was deafening.
Our house was nearer to the Pavilion Cinema. Mum sometimes preferred the quiet of a Sunday, she would send the three of us (including a male chaperone). We found that on certain occasions the cinema became very rowdy and over-excited people frequently got out of their seats and disrupted the film.
In the mid-70s my uncle and his friend owned the Pavilion for about 4-5 months. This was fantastic as we were allowed to go and watch films free. Soon it was sold and the new management group ran Saturday matinees for the local children. They would have singing competitions and talent shows. Some of my favourite shows were ‘The Monkeys’, ‘The Adams Family’, ‘The Cassidy Family’ and ‘The Hillbillies’. The cinema was sold many more times over the years but it still maintained its tradition of adult films (including French films) midweek and Saturday matinee specials for children.
From the mid-70s to the late 80s people were rehoused outside the Attercliffe area. The existing housing was pre-war and very run down. Eventually some of the factories were knocked down and many people were made redundant or homeless.
In more recent times, both cinemas became nightclubs and currently serve as clubs for the gay community. These two beautiful buildings look the way they used to, with no changes to the exteriors as they are grade II listed. Even though media and technology has advanced greatly you can’t beat the cinema experience.