Like a Moorish Temple
The building which was The Academy cinema was previously The Brighton Hamman, a Turkish baths which was opened on the 12th October 1868. The owners hoped to cash in on the then current fashion for vapour baths as made popular by Sake Deen Mohammed, who had a thriving business in Kings Road. A contemporary commentator described the building as “rising like some Moorish Temple, resplendent with crimson and gilt, encaustic and terracotta” in total contrast to the very English-looking ‘gables and bow-windows’ surrounding it.”
1911 Conversion into a cinema
The baths operated until they were sold in 1911 when the building was converted into a 400 seater cinema which, with several refurbishments and name changes, remained open till 1939. The once magnificent Turkish bath was then entirely remodelled in typical 1930s cinema style, remaining open until it was finally demolished in 1973.