Regent Cinema

Photographed in 1952

Photo:Regent Cinema and the clocktower, Summer 1952

Regent Cinema and the clocktower, Summer 1952

Photo by Peter Bailey

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

I think it was a very bad choice to replace the Regent building and the opposite one with the bland Boots and George! Shameful, especially for the employees of the Cinema.

By Marina Jackman (28/11/2006)

How lovely to see a picture of the Regent in the 1950s.  I spent so many happy times there dancing the night away.  I was a nurse in Worthing and as soon as we came off duty we made straight from there to the Regent.  Dancing was a great therapy in those days.  Also I met my first real love, Michael Benjamin, whose parents had the Cottage Club at 25 Brunswick Terrace.  Those were the days!  However Michael is in Australia now and I am still here, married twice with 8 children but I remember the happy days at the Regent with so much pleasure.  Thank you.

By Joan Allen (22/03/2007)

Isn't it a shame that of all the wonderful cinemas listed on this site, only two remain: the Duke of York and the Odeon, West Street, even that is not the original.  The Astoria building is also still there, but for how long?  I know times change but cinema-going is not quite the same in the Multis at the Marina as it used to be in those wonderful old picture houses.

By Tony Clevett (24/06/2007)

I also danced at the Regent Ballroom and often went to the cinema there as well. I attemded a secretarial college in Brighton from 1950 to late 1951 and got to know the area well, travelling by train from Goring but living in Ferring. I remember the beautiful sprung floor of the ballroom and the revolving light in the centre. I also used to skate on Sunday evenings at the ice rink just down the road. Happy days. I still visit Brighton and have a great affection for it, although now live in Hertfordshire.

By Janet Tilley (28/07/2007)

How many people today would believe that you would queue up to stand to watch a film at the Regent!

By Sheila Jones (02/09/2007)

Thanks for the lovely photos they bring back such good memories. I was born in Brighton lived all my childhood at Manor Farm and went to St Mark's School before it was bombed in WW2. After then I went to Whitehawk school. The Regent was where we used to meet all our friends, to dance or go to the pictures. We all skated at the rink in West Street and also the roller rink when that was opened some time later, on the opposite side of the road. It was a shame it all had to change, but it's nice to see these photos again. I will keep looking in on these .

By Nina Hills (13/01/2008)

Anyone ele remember going to the Saturday morning pictures at the Odeon Kemp Town? The session started with a yo-yo display and ended with a gripping instalment of the serial. This was the early 1950s. We all sang the song 'We are the minors of the ABC'.

By Jackie Soutar (nee Gladwell) (01/07/2008)

The Wurlitzer Theatre Organ from the Regent Cinema in Brighton can be heard at Paul Corin's Magnificent Music Machines in Cornwall. Website: www.paulcorinmusic.co.uk

By Paul Corin (17/08/2008)

Hi Jackie, I used to go to the Odeon in KempTown on Saturday mornings. Do you redeemer when you came out, the cafe along the road use to sell slices of bread and dripping for a penny? I won a painting contest, painting the Bisto kids and the prize was tea at the Burlington Hotel, with all the other winners in the different cinemas. We met Glynis Johns who was Miranda the mermaid; she sat at the end of the table wearing her fish tail. It was fabulous!

By Harry Atkins (29/10/2008)

I used to go to the Odeon every Satuarday morning and I also remember the yo-yo display and yes loved the break and dripping for one penny. I lived in Whitehawk and went to school there. I look back and think how poor we were but what lovley times we had. What great times we had at the Regent Ballroom. I used to go there on a Thrusday night and Saturday night and dance the night away. The other place we used to hang out in was the Whisky Go-Go.
Yes fab times .

By Shirley Hawes (23/11/2008)

With reference to Harry Atkins' comment of 29/10/2008, I certainly remember the cafe up the road and their wonderful bread and dripping for a penny. I used to live in Sussex Square in the late 40s up to 1953, and the cafe was a regular stopping place for my pal and myself if we had a penny to spare. In later years as a teenager I went out with a girl and found out that her parents owned that cafe, their surname was Tugwell. I was taken to meet her parents in the cafe, and the big pudding basin of dripping was still there. It is many years since I have eaten bread and dripping.

By Vic Bath (10/12/2008)

I remember that on my second visit to a cinema (the first had been Dumbo at the Grenada Hove) I saw Snow White at the Regent. I believe it was the time of our first victories in North Africa. What sticks in my mind is that, just after we arrived, the news came on and the aisles were crammed with people who appeared to have come in purely to watch it. When images of hundreds of enemy prisoners of war marching into captivity, with their hands on their heads, appeared on the screen the place just exploded with cheering and exclamations of joy. As a child the war meant nothing special to me as I had known nothing else, but looking back I can now understand the emotions that these first victories must have evoked in those with a much greater apreciation of what defeat could mean than us children. Much later I spent about three years plucking up courage before daring to ask girls to dance at the Regent Balllroom and the last of these is now my wife of forty-two years.

By Jimmy Smith (15/03/2009)

Jackie.  I used to also go to the pictures every Saturday morning with my sister Jean and it was so exciting to me.

By Shirley King (10/04/2009)

I grew up in Brighton and I remember all the old cinemas even if I didn't go in some of them. What I hate about so-called 'modern' cinemas of the multiplex type, is WHY do they have to have the sound system turned up to 12db?? It really makes my ears hurt. I took my 17 year old daughter to see Harry Potter recently and saw with my hands over my ears the whole time!!

By Paul Edwards (21/10/2009)

When you went to a place like The Regent, you always felt 'a sense of occasion' and you would have a great night out - either at the cinema or the dance hall. It is tragic that it was destroyed .... and for what? A building that could have been built anywhere. We should never have allowed it to happen - shame on all of us.

By Charles Jenkins (26/02/2010)

Does anyone remember The Zodiac Coffee Bar at the bottom of St.James's Street, it was above a shop (I can't remember the name of the shop) and you went up the side stairs. It was run by a couple named Pam and Eric. There was a fabulous juke box and the boys drank 'milk'! In 196l I was working in West Street for the Machinery Publishing company and we would nip down through The Lanes (past the old Hippodrome) and have a coffee in The Zodiac and play the jukebox which was then 6d a go. I remember playing Bobby Vee's Rubber Ball over and over again. Then Thursday night jiving at the Regent for 2/6d. What very happy times.

By Susan Kent (29/03/2010)

I do vaguely remember the Zodiac coffee bar. I only went there a couple of times. I used to go to Tiffany's coffee bar. That was a bit further up St James's Street, in Kemp Town. The mod's used to hang out there. We spent many happy hours there drinking hot blackcurrant and coffee. We used to meet in the basement, with all our scooters parked in a row outside. It was the place to be. Great. Does anybody remember? It was runs by two guys, both called John.

By Ron Trott (27/04/2010)

I remember the Zodiac well. From 1962 to 1964 it was where all the Brighton mods went (I was one). We would then go down to the Florida Rooms. Also Tiffanys in St Georges Road, Kemp Town was another mod hang out. I also went to the Regent Ballroom and the Starlight Rooms. Great times.

By Colin Kennard (04/05/2010)

Wow, I remember usheretting at the Regent for a short stint around 1969 / 1970, when the film 'Song of Norway' about the composer Edvard Grieg was playing for several weeks, and how I used to cringe every day when I saw all the flaws in the film. Not long after, I think it was part of this building that became 'The Apple' where friends and I went to see the Rolling Stones play in March 1971. Did this then all become the 'Virgin' shop where we lay around on cushions listening to all the latest sounds, and which is now (or at least was when I was last in Brighton) 'Boots'?

By Diana Lambing (23/05/2010)

So pleased to see Ron Trott mention Tiffany's in Kemp Town! I used to catch a bus all the way from Portslade to go there in the evenings - this was in the mid 1960s. I was strictly forbidden to ride home on the back of anyone's scooter but I often did.

By Honor (24/08/2010)

I remember the Zodiac in St James' St . It was above a shoe shop, called Hiltons I believe. The Zodiac's walls were painted black. It was quite remarkable how long we could make a cup of coffee last in those days.

By Ron James (05/09/2010)

I loved dancing at the Regency on Thursday evenings, Alan Cooper was the love of my life and we danced the last dance every week. With friends, Christine, Christine, and a couple of others we would go to the Whisky a Go Go - too young really to be in there, but the doorman let us in. One of my friends went out with a pop singer of those days. Life was good, if only we had appreciated what we had. I recall the guys who danced there from a local soccer club, and the Portslade gang who travelled on the 15B bus. What fun we had. The roller rink when younger was the place to be, Joe and the Darby boys, when I was old enough and interested enough in late teen boys.

By Bonny Cother (08/10/2010)

Do I remember Lyon & Hall? Do you recall the racks of 78s? In 1960 about June I brought a radiogram that played LPs and went into that shop to buy an LP. When I asked what LPs they had the girl serving said they only had one. This turned out to be a George Shearing 10" LP of his trio, not even his quartet. So this became my first LP which I still have to this day and still very much enjoy it.

By Ken Ross (25/03/2011)

My father was a professional drummer & would talk about his days playing with different bands in the Regent & I think also the Top Rank Suite. Would have been lovely to see pictures of the inside of the Regent with the sprung dance floor. 

By sacha walker (22/04/2011)

Not forgetting the Aquarium, we danced there a couple of times to noisy bands. The growing up days for "kids" of the 40s and 50s were fun - for me - the Regency, Rollar Rink, Whisky a Go Go...a couple of coffee bars long since names are forgotten-and of course Saturday afternoon shopping along Western Road. Of all these fun places, only Western Road exists now and that is a boring place to shop nowadays- sad to say. It just has nothing to suit my kid's mind in a pensioners bod.....

By Bonny Cother (26/04/2011)

I used to dance at the Regent every Thursday night in the 50s and 60s and also the Aquarium. There used to be a cinema on the seafront called the Palladium that only showed 3d films. I used to go to the Whisky A Go Go and also the Cheeka in West St. and also the Cualdron in North Road and loved the roller rink in West St, and the Jokers cCub in Queens Road. I was a page boy at the Metropole when I left school in 1959 and lived in Clarence Square. They were all great times and I have some great memories.

By Alan Read (01/05/2011)

Did they have rock concerts at the Regent in the late 1950s. I am sure it's where I saw Brenda Lee and Adam Faith around 1958.

By Ian Hunt (08/05/2011)

I recall about 17 cinemas in Brighton and Hove in the early 50: The Arcadia (fleapit) in Lewes Rd (where Houdini once appeared); The Princes News Theatre; The Essoldo (previously the Imperial). The three Odeons in West St, Kemp Town and Hove; The Savoy, The Astoria, The Duke of Yorks (where my late Ma in Law worked), The Palladium where I saw The Battleship Potempkin with my Dad; The Academy where I saw Genevieve with my girlfriend, now my missus! The Regent with that organ! The Curzon in Western Rd and the one opposite? The Paris in New Rd, ex Dolphin & His Majesty's Theatres. The Gaiety (by the missing viaduct)! The Continental, Sudely Place, near the Royal Sussex (rude films! I recall my French teacher taking us to see The Green Mare's Nest and Monsieur Hulot's Holiday), The Embassy, Western Rd just over the Hove border. There were several theatres: The Place Pier, The Theatre Royal, The Dolphin (see cinemas), The Grand, North Rd (where I saw Gypsy Rose-Lee in the flesh!), The Imperial (later the Essoldo). That's 18 cinemas and five theatres, no wonder there are so many "theatricals" living in the City.

By John Snelling (17/05/2011)

If you are counting the ones in Hove, like the Embassy already mentioned, I think the total was over 20, probably around 25!

By Peter Groves (18/05/2011)

Further to the remarks by Heather Fill and Ken Ross above about the music shop Lyon & Hall in Western Road, my grandfather (Frank Prockter) was the general manager. Lyon & Hall sold any kind of musical instrument as well as sheet music and (later) "records". They also used to hire out (e.g.) grand pianos to the Dome for concerts. A great treat for me when I went to stay with my grandparents was to visit the shop and listen to records in those cubicles - but Grandad's taste was for classical opera, so if anybody out there has a scratchy LP of Madame Butterfly that they bought from L&H, you now know who listened to it first.

By Keith Tritton (29/05/2011)

It is great to hear that so many people remember the 'pictures' in Brighton from so long ago. I used to go to Saturday morning flicks at The Astoria - they even had an organ player there!  Also remembered is the flea pit in Lewes Road - the Arcadia. Also The Gaiety and of course the Duke of York. Lovely memories. We also used to get value for money by seeing TWO films. Regarding Lydon & Hall which I understand was either 92/93 Western Road and earlier 1/2 East Street. I have a postcard dated/sent 1914 showing the shop front but the address in (probably) gold lettering says 22. Would this be Western Road too?

By Chris Troak (13/10/2011)

Someone mentioned Lyon & Hall, the music shop in Hove. I sold my piano today, more than 50 years after going with my Mum and Dad to choose it from L&H in 1961. Kemble Minx overstrung in walnut, it's been a great piano, which my children and I played sporadically over the years. It's still in great shape and sounds wonderful, even after all these years.

By Diana Whitty (nee Green) (01/04/2012)

Have just been looking at the Cinema section, and it has brought back memories of Saturday morning pictures at the Odeon, Hove. I would go with my cousin Maureen Saunders who was older than me and was, as all women are, in charge! I can remember the loud yells of 'behind you', during Flash Gordon etc. Then, at a more mature period of my life whilst on leave from the Merchant Navy, going to the Rothbury, taking a fancy to the lovely creature selling ice creams, a quick chat up line in the glow of her illuminated tray and waiting for her outside only to see that she was a lot older than me I thought, but a more mature head saved the the day with the face-saving comment: 'I don't think this is a good idea, do you? But I am flattered.' I am 71 now so I don't think she will get into trouble. DVDs are now watched and judged and one of the categories is 'It's a Saturday morning picture - turn it off'!

By Derek Holloway (28/05/2012)

I think we had the best of Brighton and Hove.

By Ken Standing (05/03/2013)

There is no doubt in my mind that yes we did have the best of Brighton. I went to school, worked and played in the town, and lived there from 1936-1964 and only moved because of a new job. However I still have kept close with what's going on by viewing the Argus on line every day. I now live near a field that is the furthest from coastal waters you can get in England and so miss the sea. However I would not want to live in the town now.

By Ken Ross (06/03/2013)

I have read the comments regarding the Zodiac coffee bar and remember it well as I painted the decor there in the early sixties. The two owners could not pay me all the money for this job so I took the final payment in the form of the small snooker table that was in a room on the top floor. I still have this snooker table which I had in payment for $10 but I took a number of black and white photos of the Zodiac which I will try and post on this site as soon as I can.

By Chris Kisko (12/04/2013)

Does anyone out there remember the drinking clubs in Brighton like The Office Club, The Jokers in Queens Road, The Kings Two Club by the market where you could sit and have a drink all afternoon and night, play cards, eat and dance?

By Mick Hussey (18/04/2013)

In the late 1960s myself and a group of work mates from Vine and Lee used to go down to a bar called the Galleon which was through a door and down a staircase under the northern end of the Regent almost unseeable unless you knew it was there. We had some fun evenings there. It was the first place I took my wife-to-be on our very first date on Saturday 10th August 1968 before going on to the evening carnival on Madeira Drive. Does any one else remember the Galleon?

By Ken Barrington (18/04/2013)

I also remember the Galleon, it was there they had drag artist's, Bunny Lane being one of the greatest, he would always end his show by singing The Show is over by Petula Clark. Happy times :)

By Marion Bell ,Ne Long (26/05/2013)

I remember The Zodiac coffee bar over Hiltons in St James's St, Susan. 1963/64 I met my first husband there. We married in 1964 at St John's Church in Carlton Hill. As far as I remember there were only soft drinks etc on sale. He used to drink hot blackcurrant! The first time I heard Please, Please Me by the Beatles was on the jukebox there.

By Jackie Thomas/Parker Nee Jones (27/05/2013)

The Galleon Friday nights: The drag artist I remember was Brian Ralfe. Had some good nights drinking there. Mates were Roger and Tony Cooper, Jimmy and Chris Carroll, Micky Wilson, Micky Hill, Stu Edger, Eddy Hyam and Derek Hunt.

By Terry Eggy Boyle (27/05/2013)

Hi,I'm disappointed that you took my blog that i wrote off as people liked reading it. I mentioned about Lyon and Hall please can you tell me why it was taken off?

Editor's note: You must have missed the fact that it was made into a separate page and you can see it here

By Heather (20/08/2013)

Hello Marion and Diana, I  used to work as an usher in the Regent after leaving school during the summer of 1969 through to February 1970. Perhaps I know you! We were always in the Galleon, and remember it well, including Bunny Lane and the short bald headed manager.

By Stephen Harper (21/11/2013)

Loved the Regent. 1958, danced to Sid Dean, also used to go and watch ice hockey Sunday nights. Those were the wonderful times.

By Diane Cole (05/02/2015)

Lyon and Hall was a lovely shop where I got all my music notes there right into my teens when I was a student at RCM and commuted to London - Schirmer, Associated Board, Boosey & Hawkes and Urtext editions. I think my folks got their radiogramme there too when I was small. Lovely memories

By Angela Borochov (14/02/2017)

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