The Paris Continental

Photo:The Paris Continental cinema

The Paris Continental cinema

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

Photo:Photographed in 2011

Photographed in 2011

Photo by Tony Mould

Orginally a 19th century theatre

By Jennifer Drury

A Music Hall venue

The Paris cinema which was situated in New Road, had originally had been a theatre which was destroyed in a fire at the end of the 19th century. It was reconstructed after the fire and named the Empire Theatre of Varieties. At the beginning of the 20th century it became the Coliseum Theatre and hosted music hall shows.

A cinema in 1909

In 1909 cinema equipment was installed in the theatre, and the building was renamed the Court Cinema. The cinema changed hands several times before it closed in 1940 due to WWII. After WWII it was acquired by the Theatre Royal Brighton who leased out the building, and it operated once more as a theatre.

Falling audiences in the 1950s

In 1955, with falling audience numbers, the lessee J. Baxter Somerville, introduced foreign films in an attempt to keep it open and it became the Paris Continental Cinema. Unfortunately this scheme did not succeed and despite a campaign to save it, which was fronted by celebrated thespians like Laurence Oliver and Ralph Richardson, the Paris reverted to its landlords the Theatre Royal.

Closed in 1963

Permission was subsequently obtained by developers for demolition, and the Paris was closed in 1963. As can be seen by the ‘now’ photograph, the relentlessly bland office block which stands on the site today is a very poor substitute for its predecessor.

This page was added on 25/01/2011.
Comments about this page

Yes what a shame they pulled it down, the replacement is very plain! What is the building nearer, to the right 'Chapel Royal' perhaps a pub? Chapel Royal church is round the corner in North Street, so what was this Chapel Royal?

By Peter Groves (25/01/2011)

Even on the very large copy of the image I can't completely read what is printed on the light outside the building you point out. But I think it may be the church hall belonging to the Chapel Royal. Maybe if we are lucky, Andy Grant will pick this up and put us right.

By Jennifer Drury: Website Editor (25/01/2011)

The building next to the Paris was The Chapel Royal Hall. There is a good view of it in the James Gray Collection, vol 25 image 57.

By Michael Brittain (26/01/2011)

Thank you Michael - mine was a good guess then!

By Jennifer Drury: Website Editor (26/01/2011)

Mine was so off the mark, probably due to my miss-spent youth, a pub called the Chapel Royal, what was I thinking!

By Peter Groves (26/01/2011)

I believe that the interior items were sold at auction. Could anyone tell me who auctioned the items off?

By Paul (11/08/2011)

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