A Saturday afternoon ritual

Gaiety Cinema under construction in 1937
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

My pocket money treat

The Gaiety Cinema evokes many memories for me. During the 1950s I went every Saturday afternoon without fail. It cost 9d to get in, a large amount when I only received 1/- a week pocket money. A friend’s father started to take us, but when we were older a small crowd of friends would meet and go together. If we didn’t bus it there, we would have a few pence to spend in the sweet shop in the cottage at Pope’s Folly.

Stay as long as you liked

The Gaiety was quite grand and imposing, I suppose it had Art Deco features although I didn’t realise it at the time. Like all cinemas at that time it gave good value for money. Two films, cartoons and the Pathe News were watched with fascination, only one of the group had a television at home. The films were shown continuously and you were never asked to leave after the film finished. We’d arrive at any time convenient to us and just sit there until we recognised the film being repeated.

In by the back door

There was a back entrance in Hollingdean Road that some of the boys would sneak through when a friend opened the fire door from the inside. I never had the nerve to do this, as I feared the consequences if my parents found out. The usherettes did a good job of supervising the crowds and there was never any trouble there with the young people. I was very sad when the Gaiety closed, although I had moved on from the Saturday afternoon pictures by then. When visiting Sainsburys I often think of what used to be there.

Comments about this page

  • It was sad when the Gaiety closed. I lived in Colbourne Avenue in the 60s (I was born in 1957) and we went to the Gaiety on several occasions. We would catch the number 13 bus down to the bottom of Bear Road. Films I remember seeing there were ‘Thunderball’, ‘ Zulu’, ‘A Hard Days Night’, ‘Help’, ‘The Young Ones’, and ‘Summer Holiday’. It’s hard not to have nostalgia for a place that gave you all those memories. A sad loss for the town only to be replaced by an awful road system.

    By Paul Clarkson (13/02/2013)
  • I do remember that great Saturday afternoon ritual as well, only mine was at the Odeon in Kemptown. I lived in Whitehawk in the 40s/50s. I had a shilling to spend as well. The entrance price was a little cheaper at sixpence. I spent the rest on an ice lolly at 3p, tuppence ‘apney on sweets and I saved the last halfpenny to buy a piece of bread and dripping, from the chip shop around the corner on the way home. It was a great treat. I loved the serials like ‘Superman’ etc.with the big cliff hangers at the end. Plus all the pirate, cowboy and Tarzan movies. Great days

    By Eric (14/02/2013)
  • I had a few ‘Saturday afternoon’ visits to the Gaiety with my Dad in the 60s. I used to go with my friends quite a bit but whenever there was a Jerry Lewis film on my Dad used to take me as he was a big fan. My Dad also liked a pint or two so it usually involved going to the Allen Arms next door. I didn’t mind waiting outside as long as I got a bottle of coke and a bag of crisps! My Dad also took me to see ‘Thunderball’ there, I think that was probably my first visit to a cinema.

    By Paul Clarkson (15/02/2013)

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