A potted history
The Regent Cinema was at 133 Queen’s Road/133 North Street, Brighton, on the site where Boots the chemists now stands. It was originally intended to be called the “Regent” Kinema Theatre.
The Regent was opened on July 27, 1921, by Provincial Cinematography Theatres Ltd. The new cinema stood on the site of the historic Unicorn Inn (built 1597, demolished 1920). It was the first of PCT’s super cinemas, costing more than £400,000.
The cinema was designed by Robert Atkinson (1888-1953), with interiors by Walpole Champneys, including murals by Walter Bayes (1869-1956) principal of the Royal College of Art. The proscenium was designed by Lawrence Preston of Brighton College of Art.
A restaurant with an orchestra, the Ship Café and an upstairs dance hall, were opened in 1923. The dance-hall was reputed to have one of the best-sprung floors in the country.
Timeline of the Regent Cinema
1929, January 25
Seriously damaged by fire, which destroys the cinema organ, proscenium and stage. During the subsequent closure films are shown on Sundays at the Hippodrome, Middle Street .
Acquired by Gaumont-British Picture Corporation as part of the PCT circuit.
1929, July 1
Re-opens with British Acoustic Films (BAF) sound system-claimed to be the first sound-equipped cinema in Brighton. Acquired by Gaumont British Picture Corporation.
2,024 seats, prices 1s 9d-4s 6d, continuous performances
Acquired by Odeon Cinemas Ltd.
1955, April 13 -19 May
Closed during modifications to circle to allow for CinemaScope presentations.
1962, April 25 -7 June
Closed during widening of proscenium and installation of large wide screen for 70mm presentations.
July Ballroom becomes a bingo hall.
1973, April 14