To our kids, this mirrored glass and garish red steelwork building on Burgess Street is just another nightclub. This is what it’s been on-and-off for twenty-five years, much longer than the function it was originally built for.
It was constructed by the Rank Organisation in 1986-1987 as a brand new Odeon Cinema, a replacement for the outdated, but much loved Gaumont Cinema (originally the Regent Theatre) demolished in 1985.
The Odeon opened in August 1987 with two auditoriums seating 500 and 324 people apiece.
Making use of the Gaumont’s footprint, the entrance on Burgess Street was approximately where the old Gaumont stage once stood, allowing the space in Barker’s Pool to be used for retail units.
The building itself was hated by locals, its only saving grace being a giant mural on the main staircase, painted by local artist Joe Scarborough depicting the history of Sheffield.
However, its days were numbered when a seven-screen Odeon opened at the redundant Fiesta nightclub on Arundel Gate in 1992. The bosses at Rank quickly realised it wasn’t cost effective to run two cinemas in the city centre, and one had to go.
The Burgess Street premises were closed in 1994.
But what happened to Joe Scarborough’s mural?
After standing empty, it was later converted into Kingdom nightclub, later known as Embrace, now Area. And locals still detest the building.