Plaza for sale

Plaza Cinema, Handsworth, Sheffield (1984)

Plaza Cinema, Handsworth, Sheffield (1984)

Former cinemas are selling like hotcakes in Sheffield at the moment.  Recent articles have featured the Adelphi, Attercliffe and the Abbeydale.

The Plaza Cinema, Handsworth, which has for years now been Rileys ten-pin bowling and snooker hall, is up for auction with a guide-price of £95,000+:,%201%20Richmond%20Road,%20Handsworth,%20Sheffield%20-%7C-967#lot.

Designed by a local architect, Bernard Powell of Woodhouse, who was until 1921 the Handsworth Urban District Council surveyor, the Plaza shared characteristics with the recently demolished Ritz, Parson Cross – an unspectacular exterior hiding a thoroughly modern Art Deco interior.  Bernard Powell provided a squat tower which originally carried the name ‘Plaza’ in neon, visible across the neighbourhood.

The only time I’ve visited the Plaza, when it was a bingo club in the 1980s, the foyer was virtually intact, an imitation Odeon-style essay in fins and wavy plasterwork.

The auditorium had been divided at balcony level, and was difficult to visualise.  The Cinema Treasures website [] describes a colour-scheme that could have been awful but might have been elegant – orange merging to light buff with a royal-blue dado.

The Plaza isn’t listed, so it’s under the radar of conservation groups.  It’s likely that if the modern interior fittings were stripped back the original space would be revealed.  Whether that’s an asset for redevelopment depends on the vision and the intentions of the new owner.

It would be no surprise if the place was bulldozed.  But it might yet turn out to be a building worth keeping.

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