A non mega complex

Duke of York's cinema

“If you don’t mind missing out on the latest ‘American Block-Buster Sensation There’s Ever Been’ then this cinema is for you. Non-mega-complex, dressed up in the finest Edwardian Baroque, the Duke of York’s is one of the earliest purpose-built cinemas still operating; fortunately it retains many original features. The bar upstairs is alcohol friendly and very attractive. More likely to screen Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood than Kevin Costner’s, this charming little cinema continues to present the very best of European, American, Hindi and Independent film-making.”

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  • My uncle took me to the Duke of York’s on many occasions. We used to go in the side entrance and pay 7 old pence in 1943. It was the only cinema he would go to out of all the cinemas in Brighton – and there were plenty! I think that this is the only one still standing. Happy days!

    By Ray Barontini (16/08/2004)
  • In the late 1940s the price of admission for children on a Saturday morning was 3d,or nothing if one of your pals could get to the emergency exit and let you in that way. A great place for children, cheap ice creams also, which were quite a treat then.

    By Glenys Roberts (17/02/2006)
  • I remember a late night showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Dukes, sometime in 1985 or 1986. The place was absolutely heaving (my memory is of the aisles being full of people sitting on the floor) and much of the audience was in costume, and also in full voice. The film did not start until about midnight and I suspect that one or two members of the audience might have had a small sweet sherry before turning up. Rice was hurled, water pistols sprayed, and at the end all the fire extinguishers were let off. The whole crowd spilled out onto Preston Circus and stopped the traffic with a mass “Time Warp”.

    The Argus picked up on the story and the next scheduled showing was quietly cancelled.

    By Adam Penwarden (09/01/2007)
  • I went to the Duke of York’s in the middle to late 1940s. I used to sit right up the front near the red fire buckets. 2d I think was the charge, but all the kids tried to sneak in for nothing. I have very fond memories of the Duke of York’s. It was a little more classy than the Lewes Road flea pit where I was taken for my first date. It was a bit of a dump as I remember.

    By Jennifer Goddard nee Norrell (04/02/2007)
  • At the Duke of York’s it was usually an hour long cartoon/short films etc event – which kept repeating every hour – so you could go in at anytime and not miss out. I often went in during a shopping trip into town to sit down for a bit – came out refreshed and laughing!

    By Christine Martin (24/05/2007)
  • I remember this great old gem for two different reasons.
    Back in November 1963 (when I was thirteen), Ronald Feidler and I went there and saw James Bond in DR NO. which back in those days was cool and high tech. The second reason that I rememeber it so well, is that when I returned home that night my mother informed that J.F.K had just been assassinated.

    By Paul Wheatley (26/06/2007)
  • My Mum worked at the Dukes during WW2 as a fire watcher and often mentioned the drunken Canadian soldiers that tried to get in late at night. Mum took me there to meet her old friends, Mabel in the ticket office and Nick who would show you to your seat.The first glimpse I had of the big screen when I was allowed a peek was a Sugar Puffs advert featuring a little train which was on the cereal packet around that time. Who remembers Butterkist Popcorn?

    By Alan Spicer (17/06/2011)
  • I remember all those Johnny Mac Brown cowboy films of the 1940s, and how restless we all got when there was a bit of singing or any attempt at “culture”. The more shooting the better. I am not sure how much it cost but I think it was around 3d old money? We always went to the Duke of York’s rather than the Arcadia, which was said to be a flea pit, or the Gaiety on Lewes Road which was a bit far from my home in Stanford Road. A great escape from all the restrictions of the War.

    By Tony Hollis (01/11/2011)
  • On 3rd August 1935 my father George Williams started work as a Page boy aged fourteen at the Duke of York’s; it was his first job. He left of his own accord in August 1939. I have in my keeping a reference on headed paper from The Sussex Picturedromes Co. Ltd signed by the then manager of the Duke’s – a Mr Jordon. Needless to say the reference was a good one.

    By Raymond Williams (03/11/2011)
  • I used to go to the Duke of York’s at the weekend’s in the fifties. I would get there at open doors and stay till God save the Queen. My Nan and Aunty came in about 5 o’clock and bring me a flask and sandwiches. The rush to get out before the end was something else, but if you did not make it everybody just stood still, when God save the Queen came on.

    By Peter Cooper (29/02/2012)
  • When I was 14/15 years old, The Duke of Yorks was the only cinema me and my friends knew that would let us in to see the ‘x’ films of the day. It was great, we saw ‘The Wild Bunch’; ‘Easy Rider’ and all the ‘Hammer Horror’ films with Christopher Lee. Some of them were a bit scary at the time but not so much when I see them now. I loved ‘Easy Rider’ as it had that great soundtrack.

    By Paul Clarkson (02/03/2012)

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