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The Astoria cinema

Former Astoria Cinema, London Road
Photo by Tony Mould

New high rise flats

At the age of 14, my parents and I were living in a council flat in Hollingbury. We considered ourselves very fortunate when we became one of the first families to move in to one of the new high-rise blocks of flats in Albion Hill.

Luxury of under floor heating

I recall hearing that children under 14 were not allowed to live there, due to the height of the flats and the balconies. The luxury of underfloor heating was also a novelty at the time. I lived there until I married at St Peters Church in 1966

Regular cinema visits

When I was a child, my father often used to take me to the cinema. We regularly went to the Savoy in East Street, the Essoldo in North Street and sometimes the Gaiety in Lewes Road. However, the cinema nearest to us of course was the Astoria. At that time there was an organ which rose up from beneath the stage, and the organist played during the intervals.

Showing the ‘epic’ films

The Astoria was where the big ‘epics’ were shown – Ben Hur and Spartacus left a lasting impression on me.  Although they still shown on TV screens now, to see the chariot race on the huge screen was quite breathtaking at that time.

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