Rex Cinema

Mansfield Road, Intake,
Sheffield, S12

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Rex Cinema

The Rex Cinema was built on Mansfield Road at the junction with Hollybank Road in the Intake district of Sheffield and opened on Monday 24th July 1939 with Fred MacMurray in “Men With Wings”. It was the brain child of T.W. Ward, the Sheffield Steel Works owner and designed on very simplistic modern lines by the architects Hadfield & Cawkwell. It was under the ownership and management of Miss Dorothy Ward, the founder’s daughter.

The exterior was of rustic brick with a large horizontal window at balcony foyer level above a cantilever canopy which ran along the front of the facade. A tower fin was faced in blue tiles which also covered the walls around the entrance doors. On either side of the entrance was a shop, one of which was retained by the cinema for the sale of sweets and confectionery. The foyer housed the pay box with a mirrored wall, steps down to the stalls and staircase up to the balcony. The balcony foyer also served as a small cafe. The auditorium, like the outside, was of a plain and simple design and had excellent acoustics with seating for 1,350.

The Rex Cinema was run mainly as a family house and ‘X’ certificate films were very seldom shown. Cinemascope was installed in March 1955 and “Rose Marie” was the first ‘scope’ film screened that month. Children’s Saturday matinees were introduced in 1958 and they became very popular the the local junior population.

The Rex Cinema never opened on Sundays until September 1981 when it was taken over by the Leeds based firm, Northern Cinema Services, on a five year lease. However, this venture did not prove successful and the Rex Cinema closed on 23rd December 1982 when the company failed to renew the cinematograph licence. The final films shown was a double bill programme of “Chariot’s Of Fire” & “Gregory’s Girl”.

The Rex Cinema outlived all of Sheffield’s other local cinemas, being the last suburban picture house to close in the city and one of the few never to turn over to a bingo. The building was demolished in October 1983 and the site is now a car park for an adjoining supermarket.

Contributed by Richard Roper (abcman)
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