The Brighton Turkish Baths

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.

Built in 1912 on the site of the Turkish Baths (1868 - 1911) it was then the largest of Brighton's few cinemas until dwarfed by the Regent, opened in July 1921
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove
Undated advertisement for the Brighton Turkish Baths
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove
The Academy Cinema, West Street, which was remodelled in 1939, photographed on 22 October 1972.
Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection
The site of the old Academy Cinema is now a Yate's Wine Lodge with offices above
Photo by Tony Mould

Comments about this page

  • The replacement building is tragic!

    By Tich Dixon (01/11/2013)

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