... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Monday, 16 August 2021

The Odeon, Barkers Pool

Not a randon Pevsner walk, but this is in Pevsner (p. 98, where it is described as 'brash'), so ... This was the continuation of my stroll down Division Street to see the Kendal Works.
I had not known this was originally built as a cinema; I knew it only as the retail building it became. It is quite the most ghastly building in all Sheffield (beating even the Diamond).

And yet, and yet. There is still a pang of regret at the thought of it going. Not for aesthetic reasons - not for me, at any rate - but historic. It is an outstanding example of all that was the most egregious in 1980s architecture, and in a few more decades we may be looking to save such examples.

No architectural style is valued in the decades between its newness wearing off and its appreciation by those as yet unborn. Look how the sixties ripped through the Victorian (look, and weep, at Euston); and how we have only recently come to value and appreciate (if not, perhaps, love) the concrete of the fifties and sixties. The day will come when the mirrored glass and primary coloured steel of the eighties is back in fashion, but it will be too late for the Odeon (latterly 'Embrace'), Barkers Pool.

The Gaumont Building, as it will become known in honour of the cinema which the Odeon replaced in 1987, is not being demolished, merely given a 'facelift' so that it can continue to provide redundant retail space, but with a rather (from the artist's impression) fifties look plus living walls (which sound a bit high maintenance/garden bridge to me).

Less actively ugly perhaps, but is it really any more interesting, arresting or worthwhile?


  1. In case I can't nick one, what is the name of that prolific fuschia that DG spotted?
    And Pevsner walks, what a good idea. Last Thursday I did one, without calling it that. Enhanced by Arthur Mee's county guide, and by Simon Jenkins 1000 best churches.

  2. Afraid I don't know the names of fuchsias. I have just photographed all mine though so that I can at least reference them myself (and that will make a post).
    Sorry it took so long to spot and approve this - I actually set it to ask for approval after two weeks so that I don't miss comments on older posts - but I still managed to!