‘Winding Wheel’ is our latest plaque

Chesterfield’s Grade II listed Winding Wheel, Holywell Street, is the latest building highlighted in our series of blue plaques. It was unveiled on Wednesday 1 March 2023 by the Mayor of Chesterfield Councillor Tony Rogers.

Our plaque is unveiled on 1 March 2023. L-R; Councillor Kate Sarvent (borough council Cabinet Member for Town Centres and Visitor Economy), Philip Riden (Chesterfield and District Civic Society Chairman), the Mayor and Mayoress of Chesterfield (Councillor Tony Rodgers and Mrs Sharon Rogers).

The venue – now owned by the Chesterfield Borough Council was originally opened as ‘The Picture House’ in 1923, before being closed for enlargement in 1930. At this date the auditorium was enlarged and a ballroom added at first floor level, with shops on the ground floor. For some years in the 1970s the ballroom was a well-known disco in Chesterfield.

Both phases of the building had a frontage in the ‘black and white’ style then favoured in Chesterfield for commercial and public buildings, using very high quality timber framing.

The cinema was renamed the Odeon in 1937. It remained Chesterfield’s grandest cinema, with very high quality decor inside, including much use of moulded plaster and polished woodwork. The former Regal (later ABC) cinema on Cavendish Street was larger but much less lavishly decorated.

There’s some sumptuous plasterwork at the Winding Wheel. This is the proscenium arch, pictured in March 2023.

The cinema finally closed in 1981. After some years empty, the entire premises were taken over by the borough council for conversion into a successful entertainment venue, reopening in 1987. The original architect was Harold Joseph Sheppard, of Sheffield, who also designed the 1930s alterations.

Says the society’s chairman Philip Riden; ‘We are extremely grateful to Chesterfield Borough Council for allowing the plaque to be erected, for sponsoring the cost of it and for the Mayor for unveiling it. The far-sighted conversion of the Winding Wheel by the council in the 1980s has provided the town with an excellent venue, which continues to play its part in the history of entertainment in the town. Our new plaque celebrates this history.’

Originally known as the Chesterfield Picture House, this entrance to the former restaurant includes the venue’s initials – CHP.

The society has erected plaques for some years and is planning a number of others in the town and an historic walking trail. We would be particularly interested to hear from anyone who would like to sponsor further plaques. This plaque was sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council, to whom we are particularly grateful.

Our new plaque in situ. It summarises the history of this Grade II listed building.

The society’s new Winding Wheel plaque was first intended to be erected in 2021, but various factors delayed its erection until the beginning of March.

One last look at the intricate plasterwork in the main auditorium at the Winding Wheel.

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