Curzon Cinema

Curzon Kinema, Western Road, c. 1930s
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council
Scala Cinema, Western Road, 1930
Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

d) CURZON CINEMA: The Waitrose supermarket’s western extension stands on the site of the Curzon Cinema, which was opened by Harold Speer as the Electric Bioscope on 13 January 1909 in a converted shop with about fifty seats. The following year it was enlarged to 250 seats by taking in the adjacent shop and became the Queen’s Electric, the first authentic cinema in the town with a pit orchestra, drawn curtains, dimming lights, and continuous performances. The name changed in 1915 to the Queen’s Picture Theatre, to the Picturedrome in 1919, the Scala in 1922, the Regal in 1932, and, following a remodelling in Art Deco style, to the Curzon in 1936. Sound was eventually introduced in March 1930 after a brief stand against the new films, with the cinema advertising ‘No talkies here! Orchestra!’; there were also ‘lover’s seats’ without armrests in the circle. The Curzon was substantially redecorated in May 1958 and was taken over by Classic Cinemas Ltd in September 1965, the name being changed to the Classic in 1975 when it showed specialist films, but it finally closed on 31 August 1979 to make way for the supermarket extension. {68,68a,123}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Comments about this page

  • I remember when it was the Curzon in the 60s but have fond memories of the early 70s when it was the called the Classic. It was my early teenage years and I remember in 1972/73 going to late night screenings on a Saturday to watch ‘Woodstock’; ‘Cream’s Last concert’ and a double billing of ‘A Hard Days Night’ and ‘Help’. They used to begin at 11pm and I remember walking home to Upper Lewes Road at about 3am. This was of course before video so it was the only chance to see these films at the time. I also remember that it used to be very popular so we always got there about 10.30pm and the queue used to go right round the corner and up Montpelier Road, it was always a full house.

    By Paul Clarkson (02/02/2012)
  • I worked in the Curzon Cinema in 1952 as a projectionist. I well remember some of the staff including the Manager Mr Vincent and Brian the Chief Projectionist. The films I remember are Bitter Rice and Prelude to Fame. Happy Days.

    By Anthony John Box (03/02/2015)
  • I too remember working at the Curzon as a projectionist. I well remember showing The Nun’s Story there – may moons ago now. Fond memories of nice times.

    By Terence (12/11/2015)
  • I, being now 83 years old ,can remember being taken there when young to see a film called ‘The Great Waltz’ , lovely music which has remained in my mind all of my years,and I still enjoy.

    By John Starley (18/09/2016)
  • I remember an all-night showing of the Soviet film of War & Peace (Bondarczuk) sometime in the early/mid  1970s. The film lasts over seven hours, and was followed by breakfast. I was studying Russian at the university and several of us went. Anyone else remember it?

    By Kate Jones (18/02/2018)

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