Granada Cinema, Portland Road

Memories of happy Saturdays

By David Sanders

ABC Minors Club on Saturdays

I have a lot of memories of this cinema, which started for me around the early 1960s, when I was going to the Saturday morning ABC Minors club. It was sixpence to get in, we had great times watching all sorts like Zorro, and the Lone Ranger. We used to sing a special song, the song the words being screamed out by all the kids that were there. I remember being taken by my dad to see the early Bond movies From Russia with Love, Dr No and Goldfinger; I also remember seeing 101 Dalmations (the original) and lots of other great films.

Renovated in the 1970s

They revamped the cinema internally in, I think, the 1970s. Can anyone remember exactly when this was? They took out every other row of seats, which gave you a great amount of leg room. Overall a great local cinema which served the area well until attendances dropped off as they did in the late eighties, and then later on a Gala Bingo until even that closed and then it was left to go into disrepair. As you can see from the second photograph here, the deconstruction of the grand old lady of Portland Road has now been completed; the bulldozers have moved in, and the tipper trucks are taking the rubble away.

Photo:Granada Cinema undated photograph

Granada Cinema undated photograph

Image reproduced with kind permission of The Regency Society and The James Gray Collection

Photo:Site of the former Granada Cinema, Portland Road

Site of the former Granada Cinema, Portland Road

Photo by David Sanders

This page was added on 30/04/2012.
Comments about this page

I too have happy memories of the old Granada cinema. I also remember the 6d Saturday mornings. I think the audience probably made more noise than the soundtrack but it was all good fun. I remember it more from the mid 50s, a little earlier than David. I used to love films like The Dam Busters and The Gift Horse. As an Art Deco lover it also surprises me that it was not Heritage listed (or the British equivalent). Sad to see it go.

By Keith Kent (30/04/2012)

I also remember ABC Minors from the early 1960s. We used to catch the No 54 bus down from Hangleton, which stopped outside. I think I recall they used some older children as "monitors" outside. Yes, sixpence was the price, although for ninepence you could go up to the balcony (drop sweet wrappers and the like on children below). Normally it started with cartoons, then the series (black & white Batman was one of my favourites) followed by a film. We would then spend our bus money on chips, sweets or home-made 1d ice lollies, at the corner shop just above Stoneham Park, and walk home playing Batman, using the duffel coat with hood as the cape! I last went to the Granada 1970 or 71 to watch Midnight Cowboy, a great film! Shame its gone, but it really did become an eyesore at the end. Another point, I don't ever recall seeing cars parked in the large car park by the side, it must have been a valuable bit of land pretty much wasted for nearly 80 years!

By Peter Groves (01/05/2012)

We have a family mystery concerning this cinema - wonder if anyone can come up with ideas? My father says that when the film "Yankee Doodle Dandy " was shown there, his father (who had a market garden and a barrow) was photographed outside for advertising purposes. When I looked up the date of the film and asked the Evening Argus for any historical photos, nothing even came close to tying in the rough date of the film and period when Grandad was of working age?!

By Lorraine Luke (01/05/2012)

The film is 1942, so does that not match your grandads working age? What year was he born, that could help us with your mystery?

By Peter Groves (22/05/2012)

We are the boys and girls well known as 'minors of the ABC' and every Saturday we'd all line up to see the films we liked to shout about with glee. We liked to laugh and have a sing song: Such a happy band are we-ee, We're all pals together, the minors of the ABC.

By Tony Clevett (27/08/2012)

What's to become of the site now?

By Den King (29/08/2012)

I remember seeing 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', 'Ring of Bright Water' and 'Pinnochio' at the Granada. My nan worked there for a while as an usherette so me, my mum and my sister used to get in at a discount.

By Dave Newbold (01/09/2012)

ABC Minors: yes and if it was your birthday you could go up front and get a free pass for the following week I believe, though some kids seemed to have a birthday every other week! If you were too noisy the manager would come out and threaten to cut out the cartoon - which he actually did on one or two occasions, leading to instant quiet!

By Howard Bardsley (16/10/2012)

Hello Peter, Well my father was born in 1935 and he was small when this was supposed to have occurred but I think the family story has missed a few details over the years! He did work as a market gardener and did have a little cart but why on earth would he be employed to advertise that particular film? All very odd but I would love to find out what and why? There must have been something in it, for the story to have lasted so long!

By Lorraine Luke (17/10/2012)

Can I correct the angle of the photo for you? Let me know where to email the photo with corrected angle?

By Peter Groves (03/12/2012)

Seeing this brings back a lot of memories and when we lived in Mile Oak I used to come to the matinees most Saturday mornings unless dad was taking us out. I also lived in Montgomery St nearby for a few months and worked up Milnthorp Road behind the school here. I worked for Fine Floors flooring company at 16 - my first job and a young girl from the school used to ask me to take her out. Susan was her name. I even have a memory of queing to see a film in the entrance there with a couple of mates of mine, blowed if I can remember what the name of the film was - I've racked my brains - must have been about 1970. I do remember Sue coming up and asking me to take her in. I didnt to my great regret, if only I could turn time back! Paul Edwards.

By Paul Edwards (27/01/2013)

I am sorry to that this "Theatre, cinema come bingo hall" was put up for demolition. I worked there during the 1970s as a projectionist for the ABC chain of cinemas in the South of England. As I remember it was only one of two cinemas in Hove. It has stood unused for so long now that demolition was the only thing that could be done with it now.

By R H Scott-Spencer (10/03/2013)

John Lynn worked on the building of the Granada Cinema after he came out of the army and before joining the postal service. He was working on site (3/3/33) when Uncle Walt (no relation but John's best mate) ran to get him because his wife Gertrude Lynn was going into labour. Uncle Walt also alerted the midwife. Joyce Lynn was born that day. When she married, Uncle Walt gave a speech at the wedding; the original hand written item still remains and is kept in the front of Joyce’s family bible. The Granada Cinema will therefore remain remembered by generations to come. P.S. Uncle Walt was Walter Taylor, a driver for Tillings buses and who lived in Ingram Crescent.

By Chris Pellett (13/03/2013)

My dear mother was working as an usherette when my father, pointing to the ice creams, asked her if she had any free samples. That is where, and how, they first met. I too used to go to Saturday morning pictures, and I used to wear my ABC badge with pride. There was a row of lock up garages starting from the cinema car park and finishing at the Church of England School. I remember jumping from garage roof to garage roof, the full length, after performances. My raincoat, fastened by the top button only, served as my cloak as I impersonated the hero I had just been watching on screen, Batman. Later with the school that I attended just across the road, West Hove CP School, I watched the Coronation of our Queen. I have many happy memories of this old cinema. What a shame that it has been demolished.

By Danny Hornby (01/09/2013)

I lived in Shirley St in 1965. I used to walk here on a Saturday - good memories, orange 'jubblies', lasted forever. 

By Gill Barnes (14/05/2015)

I worked as a trainee projectionist 1955/6.

By John Dine (13/05/2016)

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