History

In 1879 Stephenson Memorial Hall opened as a tribute to George Stephenson. During 1889 The Hall was purchased by Chesterfield Corporation. December 1946 saw the expiry of lease of Hall to Cinema Company, so in June 1947 a Public Appeal of Guarantee fund of £5,000 was organised by local amateur societies. 

In February 1949 the opening ceremony was performed by Miss. Kathleen Harrison, which was followed by the first performance of first presentation, "See How They Run" by Philip King on February 21 1949.

Pomegranate Theatre Milestones
1879 Stephenson Memorial Hall opened as a tribute to George Stephenson.

1889 The Hall purchased by Chesterfield Corporation. 

December 31 1946 Expiry of lease of Hall to Cinema Company

June 01 1947 Public Appeal of Guarantee fund of £5,000 organised by local
amateur societies.

February 19 1949 Opening ceremony performed by Miss. Kathleen Harrison.

February 21 1949 First performance of first presentation, "See How They Run" by Philip King .

September 17 1951 The 100th presentation by the Resident Repertory Company, "Queen Elizabeth Slept Here". The Company then included Margaret Tyzack and John Arnatt.

February 08 1954 The 200th presentation, "Hobson's Choice" was directed by Gerald Glaister with the Company including Nigel Davenport and David McCallum.

March 31 1958 As a young Assistant Stage Manager, Diana Rigg made her stage debut in "The Passing of the Third Floor Back".

September 21 1959 "Tunnel of Love" opened a new Repertory Season with the Company's Stage Manager/ Associate Producer - Colin McIntyre.

August 16 1965 After 16 years of 'Weekly Rep', "Lady Windermere's Fan" began a new policy of each production playing for at least two weeks 1974

The death was announced of J. H. Hodkin who had reigned as Chairman of the Board since 1948.

March 28 1981 "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" played to the theatre's record attendance - three weeks at an average of 98% capacity.

March 31 1981 With the Borough Council's withdrawal of the lease from Chesterfield Civic Theatre Ltd, Repertory Seasons came to an end.

December 16 1981 Chesterfield Borough Council, as sole producers, opened its one and only production, the Christmas Show "Rock Star".

February 06 1982 Chesterfield Theatre Limited came into being with its policy of housing incoming touring companies instead of a Repertory Company mounting its own productions.

June 10 1982 The Civic Theatre became the Pomegranate Theatre. 

February 22 1988 To open the 40th year of operation, the theatre repeated the first ever play "See How They Run".

February 20 1989 40 years completed with the theatre's most successful play, Agatha Christie's "Verdict".

May 27 1989 Theatre closed for its first-ever major structural repairs.

August 1993 Ramps constructed at theatre entrance and in foyer to improve access facilities. Adapted toilets to the rear of the auditorium to be shared with Chesterfield's new museum situated in the other half of the Stephenson Memorial Hall. Wheelchair lift installed to allow access to the Box Office and bar area. 


January 1994 Theatre re-seated over a three-week period after pantomime.

September 1994 Derek Coleman retired after 31 years as Manager

January 1995 Bar Area redecorated to provide exhibition space for local artists. 

April 1997 Administration of Theatre and Museum joined as part of the new Arts Section headed by the Borough Arts Manager. 

February 1999 Gala presentation of “Thanks for the Memory”, produced by former Artistic Director Colin McIntyre, opened the Season celebrating 50 years of civic theatre in Chesterfield.

July 2000 The manual Box Office procedures were replaced by Databox, a computerised ticketing system, finally making obsolete the complex use of paper plans and coloured pencils.

August 2001 Ticket selling operations reverted temporarily to their former home, under the stairs, during the re-construction of the Box Office to reflect the change of operation.
March 2002 The first Pomegranate New Playwright’s Festival takes place, performing 14 new works in 5 days.

August 2003 Bar adapted to provide a performance space for the growing “Arts in the Bar” strand.

May 2004 “Angels Never Leave Heaven” becomes the first in-house
production at the theatre since 1981.

September 2004 “Chesterfield Tales”, the theatre’s contribution to the Chesterfield Market Festival, a new piece written by members of the New Playwright’s group, celebrates 900 years of the town’s history.

May 2005 The Box Office is re-sited in the foyer giving better access to wheelchair users and providing more space for cashiers.

July 2006 A production of “Taming of the Shrew” by Oddsocks Theatre Company marks the start of Pomegranate in the Park, a joint venture with the newly refurbished Queen’s Park.

December 2006 A fully integrated production of Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads” using one hearing and one deaf actress opens live theatre up to a new audience.

June 2007 Theatre celebrates 25 years as The Pomegranate.

September 2007 Peter Sallis returns to the theatre for the first time since he was a member of the inaugural repertory company in 1949.

 

The History of the Winding Wheel

The building that is now the Winding Wheel was once a thriving cinema originally named The Picture House and built in 1923 to the design of Sheffield architect Harold J Shepherd.

The Picture House opened on 10th September with a double bill of “Heart’s Affair” and Buster Keaton in “The Play House”.

The total seating accommodation was approximately 1300, and audiences had a choice to sit in the Pit, Stalls or Balcony.

The Pit consisted of continuous seating running in rows from the proscenium arch. The Pit offered the least expensive seats in the house, as it was very close to the screen. Patrons entered the Pit from Parker’s Yard.

The Stalls (considered the best and most expensive seats) were behind the Pit and consisted of a further 292 raked seats.

The Balcony, overhanging the stalls and furthest away from the screen consisted of a further 292 raked seats.

The projector was housed on the ground floor behind the stalls, and fixed classical organ was sited under the proscenium, on the right. Reginald Dixon had his first cinema organ encounter at The Picture House.

The front of the building incorporated 2 shops and main foyer, above which was a cafeteria on the first floor.

1930 Redevelopment and Extension

In 1930 Chesterfield Picture House Co. Ltd. again commissioned Harold Shepherd to extend the building. A large Ballroom with sprung dance floor was added and the stalls were extended to provide over 200 extra seats. The cinema now had 1559 seats.

The proscenium arch was lavishly redesigned, and the cinema fitted with an electronic sound system, in keeping with the introduction of “Talkies”.

In 1936 Oscar Deutsch, founder of the Odeon circuit, purchased The Picture House, which was then renamed the Odeon in 1938.

In 1954 the screen height was reduced to make way for a new wide screen format known as Cinemascope.

In the 1960s the Odeon was acquired by Rank Organisation, the Ballroom was painted red and became “Fusion Discotheque” and in 1969 the café closed and became part of the disco.

Due to new regulations, the Odeon’s seating capacity had been reduced and by 1975 it was listed as having 970 seats. At this time, the disco was closed, and the Ballroom was advertised as having facilities for exhibitions.

However, declining audiences meant that the Chesterfield Odeon was one of 29 unprofitable cinemas in the circuit, and on 17th October 1981, the cinema closed with the final films ”Escape from New York” starring Kurt Russell and “12th Squadron Buccaneers”.

The Winding Wheel 

Apart from the “Jingles” nightclub in the Ballroom and café area, the building lay unused for 5 years, but in 1987, Chesterfield Borough Council purchased and completely refurbished the building, taking away the fixed seating and constructing a dance floor above the stalls whilst keeping the internal décor intact. The building reopened in 1987 as the Winding Wheel Exhibition, Entertainment and Conference Centre.

In 2000 the Winding Wheel was made a Grade 2 Listed Building.

The building now consists of 3 rooms: The Auditorium, the Ballroom, and the Function Room. Each of these rooms has its own bar area and can be used for private functions, meetings, conferences and exhibitions.

Concerts are held in the Auditorium which can hold up to 600 seated together with 300 in the circle. Standing concerts can accommodate up to 1000 people.

The venue has been used for private parties, weddings, exhibitions, conferences, community events and some famous names have graced the stage as part of the Winding Wheel’s concert programme,

Boy George,

Bob Geldof,

Midge Ure

Merrill Osmond (created quite a stir-all I remember is those teeth!)

Ladyboys of Bangkok-a little controversial but a total success-returning this year to fill our auditorium with glitter and sequins

Paul Young,

Annual Pilgrimage from Fairport Convention,

Sooty (a particular hit with the staff)

Kate Aide

John Suchet

The Proclaimers

Bob Geldof

Paul Carrack

Kate Rusby

Paddy Mcguinnes

Dave Spikey

Ed Byrne

Ken Dodd

Levellers

Starsailor (who gave the WW and Chesterfield a special mention as one of their best gigs)

The Drifters (with the ever changing line up)

6 Elvii (at least!)

The most recent addition to our programme is Spotlight Comedy Club, transferred from the College Arts centre when is closed, which is held monthly in the Ballroom.

Many people around today at the concerts remember coming to the under 18s disco, local girl made good Isy Suttie (who plays Dobby in the hit channel 4 comedy show ‘Peep Show’) played recently at the Winding Wheels Spotlight Comedy  Club, we had a great chat reminiscing about the under 18s disco-who would have thought 2 teenagers who attended would end up managing and headlining it!

Some events that have had some great publicity include the annual CAMRA Beer Festival, The BBC show Flog it-which had people queuing all the way down to the ‘donut’ carpark on an incredibly hot day-so with a quick logistical re-think (with assistance from Paul Martin himself!) we managed to get people inside into another room and got them some water and a chance to sit down. Recently the ‘Duke’ himself David Dickinson brought ITV1s  Real Deal to visit. 

Of course every May we are proud to host the ‘Mayor Making’ ceremony, and every November we are full to capacity with the “Fellowship of the services” (which almost didn’t go ahead due to a power cable being cut outside of Buger King!).

Sporting connections
For some, the Winding Wheel is synonymous with sporting and, in particular Football. Over the years we have welcome many sporting legends such as Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Dickie Bird, Geoff Hurst, and in September this Year Jimmy Greaves.

We had the Freedom of the Borough ceremony here for Chesterfield F.C.  and also their public launch for the supporters society, and the celebration for the 25th Anniversary for the winning the Anglo-Scottish Cup. The Winding Wheel was lucky enough to have the FA Cup on display too!

Community Venue
Although it’s the famous names that perform here that  grab the headline  and cause some excitement amongst staff and the public,  the Winding Wheel is, at heart, a community Venue. Over the years we have played ‘house’ to many local groups and continue to do so. New Life Church are here every Sunday, U3A, Chesterfields Townswomens Guild, RSPB, Every June we build a catwalk for Chesterfield College for the fashion students to display their amazing creations, every week we have Blood Donors in the Auditorium. Every December we host the Annual Robinsons Christmas dinner. Many regional and national associations choose the Winding Wheel to host annual events as the Winding Wheel can host up to 900 delegates, and of course, chesterfield is ideally located geographically. We played host the Green Party Conference in YEAR.

Many charity events have been held here over the years, raising thousands of pounds for both local and national charities.

We are very proud to still be able to offer many community based events at our venue, every Tuesday Ken and Hazel Shelton host Ballroom dancing, Jean and Roy Hopkinson host a Tea Dance every Wednesday, and also Saturday Night dance, complete with live band where patrons can put all those dance moves that they learnt through watching Strictly come dancing into practice!  In stark contrast we host The Derbyshire Times ‘Band Of The Year’ competition which can be exhausting but at the same time a fantastic opportunity to see young people enjoying live music in a safe environment.

Every weekend is filled with parties and celebrations, people have their Golden Wedding celebrations here who celebrated their wedding day in the Ballroom!

 

 

 

 

History

In 1879 Stephenson Memorial Hall opened as a tribute to George Stephenson. During 1889 The Hall was purchased by Chesterfield Corporation. December 1946 saw the expiry of lease of Hall to Cinema Company, so in June 1947 a Public Appeal of Guarantee fund of £5,000 was organised by local amateur societies. 

In February 1949 the opening ceremony was performed by Miss. Kathleen Harrison, which was followed by the first performance of first presentation, "See How They Run" by Philip King on February 21 1949.

Pomegranate Theatre Milestones
1879 Stephenson Memorial Hall opened as a tribute to George Stephenson.

1889 The Hall purchased by Chesterfield Corporation. 

December 31 1946 Expiry of lease of Hall to Cinema Company

June 01 1947 Public Appeal of Guarantee fund of £5,000 organised by local
amateur societies.

February 19 1949 Opening ceremony performed by Miss. Kathleen Harrison.

February 21 1949 First performance of first presentation, "See How They Run" by Philip King .

September 17 1951 The 100th presentation by the Resident Repertory Company, "Queen Elizabeth Slept Here". The Company then included Margaret Tyzack and John Arnatt.

February 08 1954 The 200th presentation, "Hobson's Choice" was directed by Gerald Glaister with the Company including Nigel Davenport and David McCallum.

March 31 1958 As a young Assistant Stage Manager, Diana Rigg made her stage debut in "The Passing of the Third Floor Back".

September 21 1959 "Tunnel of Love" opened a new Repertory Season with the Company's Stage Manager/ Associate Producer - Colin McIntyre.

August 16 1965 After 16 years of 'Weekly Rep', "Lady Windermere's Fan" began a new policy of each production playing for at least two weeks 1974

The death was announced of J. H. Hodkin who had reigned as Chairman of the Board since 1948.

March 28 1981 "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" played to the theatre's record attendance - three weeks at an average of 98% capacity.

March 31 1981 With the Borough Council's withdrawal of the lease from Chesterfield Civic Theatre Ltd, Repertory Seasons came to an end.

December 16 1981 Chesterfield Borough Council, as sole producers, opened its one and only production, the Christmas Show "Rock Star".

February 06 1982 Chesterfield Theatre Limited came into being with its policy of housing incoming touring companies instead of a Repertory Company mounting its own productions.

June 10 1982 The Civic Theatre became the Pomegranate Theatre. 

February 22 1988 To open the 40th year of operation, the theatre repeated the first ever play "See How They Run".

February 20 1989 40 years completed with the theatre's most successful play, Agatha Christie's "Verdict".

May 27 1989 Theatre closed for its first-ever major structural repairs.

August 1993 Ramps constructed at theatre entrance and in foyer to improve access facilities. Adapted toilets to the rear of the auditorium to be shared with Chesterfield's new museum situated in the other half of the Stephenson Memorial Hall. Wheelchair lift installed to allow access to the Box Office and bar area. 


January 1994 Theatre re-seated over a three-week period after pantomime.

September 1994 Derek Coleman retired after 31 years as Manager

January 1995 Bar Area redecorated to provide exhibition space for local artists. 

April 1997 Administration of Theatre and Museum joined as part of the new Arts Section headed by the Borough Arts Manager. 

February 1999 Gala presentation of “Thanks for the Memory”, produced by former Artistic Director Colin McIntyre, opened the Season celebrating 50 years of civic theatre in Chesterfield.

July 2000 The manual Box Office procedures were replaced by Databox, a computerised ticketing system, finally making obsolete the complex use of paper plans and coloured pencils.

August 2001 Ticket selling operations reverted temporarily to their former home, under the stairs, during the re-construction of the Box Office to reflect the change of operation.
March 2002 The first Pomegranate New Playwright’s Festival takes place, performing 14 new works in 5 days.

August 2003 Bar adapted to provide a performance space for the growing “Arts in the Bar” strand.

May 2004 “Angels Never Leave Heaven” becomes the first in-house
production at the theatre since 1981.

September 2004 “Chesterfield Tales”, the theatre’s contribution to the Chesterfield Market Festival, a new piece written by members of the New Playwright’s group, celebrates 900 years of the town’s history.

May 2005 The Box Office is re-sited in the foyer giving better access to wheelchair users and providing more space for cashiers.

July 2006 A production of “Taming of the Shrew” by Oddsocks Theatre Company marks the start of Pomegranate in the Park, a joint venture with the newly refurbished Queen’s Park.

December 2006 A fully integrated production of Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads” using one hearing and one deaf actress opens live theatre up to a new audience.

June 2007 Theatre celebrates 25 years as The Pomegranate.

September 2007 Peter Sallis returns to the theatre for the first time since he was a member of the inaugural repertory company in 1949.

 

The History of the Winding Wheel

The building that is now the Winding Wheel was once a thriving cinema originally named The Picture House and built in 1923 to the design of Sheffield architect Harold J Shepherd.

The Picture House opened on 10th September with a double bill of “Heart’s Affair” and Buster Keaton in “The Play House”.

The total seating accommodation was approximately 1300, and audiences had a choice to sit in the Pit, Stalls or Balcony.

The Pit consisted of continuous seating running in rows from the proscenium arch. The Pit offered the least expensive seats in the house, as it was very close to the screen. Patrons entered the Pit from Parker’s Yard.

The Stalls (considered the best and most expensive seats) were behind the Pit and consisted of a further 292 raked seats.

The Balcony, overhanging the stalls and furthest away from the screen consisted of a further 292 raked seats.

The projector was housed on the ground floor behind the stalls, and fixed classical organ was sited under the proscenium, on the right. Reginald Dixon had his first cinema organ encounter at The Picture House.

The front of the building incorporated 2 shops and main foyer, above which was a cafeteria on the first floor.

1930 Redevelopment and Extension

In 1930 Chesterfield Picture House Co. Ltd. again commissioned Harold Shepherd to extend the building. A large Ballroom with sprung dance floor was added and the stalls were extended to provide over 200 extra seats. The cinema now had 1559 seats.

The proscenium arch was lavishly redesigned, and the cinema fitted with an electronic sound system, in keeping with the introduction of “Talkies”.

In 1936 Oscar Deutsch, founder of the Odeon circuit, purchased The Picture House, which was then renamed the Odeon in 1938.

In 1954 the screen height was reduced to make way for a new wide screen format known as Cinemascope.

In the 1960s the Odeon was acquired by Rank Organisation, the Ballroom was painted red and became “Fusion Discotheque” and in 1969 the café closed and became part of the disco.

Due to new regulations, the Odeon’s seating capacity had been reduced and by 1975 it was listed as having 970 seats. At this time, the disco was closed, and the Ballroom was advertised as having facilities for exhibitions.

However, declining audiences meant that the Chesterfield Odeon was one of 29 unprofitable cinemas in the circuit, and on 17th October 1981, the cinema closed with the final films ”Escape from New York” starring Kurt Russell and “12th Squadron Buccaneers”.

The Winding Wheel 

Apart from the “Jingles” nightclub in the Ballroom and café area, the building lay unused for 5 years, but in 1987, Chesterfield Borough Council purchased and completely refurbished the building, taking away the fixed seating and constructing a dance floor above the stalls whilst keeping the internal décor intact. The building reopened in 1987 as the Winding Wheel Exhibition, Entertainment and Conference Centre.

In 2000 the Winding Wheel was made a Grade 2 Listed Building.

The building now consists of 3 rooms: The Auditorium, the Ballroom, and the Function Room. Each of these rooms has its own bar area and can be used for private functions, meetings, conferences and exhibitions.

Concerts are held in the Auditorium which can hold up to 600 seated together with 300 in the circle. Standing concerts can accommodate up to 1000 people.

The venue has been used for private parties, weddings, exhibitions, conferences, community events and some famous names have graced the stage as part of the Winding Wheel’s concert programme,

Boy George,

Bob Geldof,

Midge Ure

Merrill Osmond (created quite a stir-all I remember is those teeth!)

Ladyboys of Bangkok-a little controversial but a total success-returning this year to fill our auditorium with glitter and sequins

Paul Young,

Annual Pilgrimage from Fairport Convention,

Sooty (a particular hit with the staff)

Kate Aide

John Suchet

The Proclaimers

Bob Geldof

Paul Carrack

Kate Rusby

Paddy Mcguinnes

Dave Spikey

Ed Byrne

Ken Dodd

Levellers

Starsailor (who gave the WW and Chesterfield a special mention as one of their best gigs)

The Drifters (with the ever changing line up)

6 Elvii (at least!)

The most recent addition to our programme is Spotlight Comedy Club, transferred from the College Arts centre when is closed, which is held monthly in the Ballroom.

Many people around today at the concerts remember coming to the under 18s disco, local girl made good Isy Suttie (who plays Dobby in the hit channel 4 comedy show ‘Peep Show’) played recently at the Winding Wheels Spotlight Comedy  Club, we had a great chat reminiscing about the under 18s disco-who would have thought 2 teenagers who attended would end up managing and headlining it!

Some events that have had some great publicity include the annual CAMRA Beer Festival, The BBC show Flog it-which had people queuing all the way down to the ‘donut’ carpark on an incredibly hot day-so with a quick logistical re-think (with assistance from Paul Martin himself!) we managed to get people inside into another room and got them some water and a chance to sit down. Recently the ‘Duke’ himself David Dickinson brought ITV1s  Real Deal to visit. 

Of course every May we are proud to host the ‘Mayor Making’ ceremony, and every November we are full to capacity with the “Fellowship of the services” (which almost didn’t go ahead due to a power cable being cut outside of Buger King!).

Sporting connections
For some, the Winding Wheel is synonymous with sporting and, in particular Football. Over the years we have welcome many sporting legends such as Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Dickie Bird, Geoff Hurst, and in September this Year Jimmy Greaves.

We had the Freedom of the Borough ceremony here for Chesterfield F.C.  and also their public launch for the supporters society, and the celebration for the 25th Anniversary for the winning the Anglo-Scottish Cup. The Winding Wheel was lucky enough to have the FA Cup on display too!

Community Venue
Although it’s the famous names that perform here that  grab the headline  and cause some excitement amongst staff and the public,  the Winding Wheel is, at heart, a community Venue. Over the years we have played ‘house’ to many local groups and continue to do so. New Life Church are here every Sunday, U3A, Chesterfields Townswomens Guild, RSPB, Every June we build a catwalk for Chesterfield College for the fashion students to display their amazing creations, every week we have Blood Donors in the Auditorium. Every December we host the Annual Robinsons Christmas dinner. Many regional and national associations choose the Winding Wheel to host annual events as the Winding Wheel can host up to 900 delegates, and of course, chesterfield is ideally located geographically. We played host the Green Party Conference in YEAR.

Many charity events have been held here over the years, raising thousands of pounds for both local and national charities.

We are very proud to still be able to offer many community based events at our venue, every Tuesday Ken and Hazel Shelton host Ballroom dancing, Jean and Roy Hopkinson host a Tea Dance every Wednesday, and also Saturday Night dance, complete with live band where patrons can put all those dance moves that they learnt through watching Strictly come dancing into practice!  In stark contrast we host The Derbyshire Times ‘Band Of The Year’ competition which can be exhausting but at the same time a fantastic opportunity to see young people enjoying live music in a safe environment.

Every weekend is filled with parties and celebrations, people have their Golden Wedding celebrations here who celebrated their wedding day in the Ballroom!