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The Carlton Cinema was built on Eastern Avenue in the Arbourthorne district of Sheffield, opening on 15th August 1938 and was another of Sheffield’s large suburban halls built to serve a large new housing estate. The cinema was built entirely of concrete possibly influenced by the cost and shortage of steel at the time. It was said to be capable of withstanding a medium sized bomb and was virtually gas proof due to its modern air filtering system.
The exterior surface of the Carlton Cinema was bush hammered to give it a slight gloss look with the upper half being coloured red while the lower half had a quartize finish. The rather plain facade was only broken by leaded windows on the upper part. Seating was for 1,222, with 351 being in the balcony. The lighting system was designed by the Holophane Company and by using only three colours – red, blue and yellow, dramatic patterns and mosaics were produced as the lights projected on to silver flutings on the walls and ceiling. Special curtains and lighting on the stage and in the foyer and vestibules, were also designed by the same company. The walls of the auditorium were covered in wood and plaster, said to improve the accoustics. BTH projectors and a modern sound system were installed. The first film screened at the Carlton was Paul Robeson in “King Solomon’s Mines”.
The Carlton Cinema only had one manager throught its cinema life, Albert Burrows and after a screening of the Elvis Presley film “King Creole”, the Carlton Cinema closed on 7th February 1959. It was one of a few Sheffield cinemas never to open on Sundays. The building was subsequently used by an electric lamp company and then lay empty for many years, becoming quite an eyesore towards the end of its existence. It was finally demolished in the 1990’s.
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