Brighton and Hove Revisited

The Classic Cinema

By Jennifer Drury

 
Photo:The Classic Cinema photographed in 1979

The Classic Cinema photographed in 1979

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

A cinema since 1909

This photograph shows the Classic Cinema in 1979, just after it had been closed down. The last film shown was The Spaceman and King Arthur, (1978) Disney’s film adaptation of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. There has been a cinema on this site since 1909, when it was opened in a converted shop and called ‘The Electric Bioscope’; at that time it only seated 50 persons.

Closed in 1979

The following year the shop next door was acquired and the cinema extended to seat 250 patrons; it was renamed the ‘Queens Electric Theatre’. Over the years it had many changes of owners and names and was extended and renovated many times.  In 1936, the cinema was renamed The Curzon and remodelled in Art Deco style which was maintained until its closure in August 1979; the Waitrose supermarket extended into the vacant site.

Do you remember the Classic Cinema? What films did you see there? How much did you have to pay for a ticket or an ice-cream? Please share your memories with us by leaving a comment below.

Photo:The site photographed in 2013

The site photographed in 2013

Photo by Tony Mould


This page was added on 09/02/2013.
Comments about this page

Living on Brunswick Place, this cinema was a regular haunt for me as a kid during the mid-1970s. The two most memorable films I remember seeing were Capricorn One (conspiracy film about a faked Mars landing) and Airport '77.

By Kevin (09/02/2013)

I remember going there in about 1956 with my friend Val, we saw the film The Sheralee and didn't buy an ice-cream as we would have had to walk home because it was that or the bus ride to Lower Bevendean! When the pictures turned out it was pouring down - glad our stomachs didn't rule our heads!

By Pam (09/02/2013)

The round sided building on the corner used to be the Labour Exchange before they moved it

By Dennis Fielder (09/02/2013)

Been there loads of times; as a child I remember my aunt taking me, my brother and sister to see In Search of the Castaways, probably early 1960s. It was then called The Curzon, and remained The Curzon for many years. Later in the early 1970s when I was about 18, we would go to the late night show, in particular I remember see Felix the Cat, Woodstock and Gimme Shelter.

By Peter Groves (09/02/2013)

I remember going to see Woodstock there in the very early '70s. "Are you 18 son?" "Oh yes ... honestly" I replied, as a 14 year old schoolboy. Glad they let me in, it was one of the formulative experiences of my teenage years. Much later, they used to have 'all nighters'. Go in about 23:00 on a Saturday night, and watch horror movies until 8:00 on the Sunday morning, then all pile out for burgers and coffee at the nearby Wimpy. Happy, simple days.

By Marc (10/02/2013)

My twin sis and I were often taken to the 'Curzon' from the early 60s by our grandmother who lived in Norfolk Square. I remember 'Summer Holiday' with Cliff Richard and also 'A Hard Day's Night'. Lovely place,  fond memories of a lovely Gran taking us to see films that really were for a young generation.

By Belinda Lumsden (12/02/2013)

I remember this corner well. I am not certain about visits to the Classic Cinema although it was normally a case of going to the cinema that was showing what you wanted to see. Therefore I must have made that choice now and then. What I remember most is good old Waitrose. Between 1966 and 1969 I lived in a flat just two doors up from Waitrose, Number 88 Montpelier Road. I worked in Western Road and on Friday evening I would pop home for supper and then venture out to do my weekly shop at Waitrose. Having bundled it all into a, then unfashionable, wheelie trolley, handy for relief from back ache, I would then haul it round the corner and up to number 88. Mine was the first house after Waitrose but between them and our house was a long drive that went to a car repair garage behind us. So I had not far to walk although my trolley bag stopped short there. We lived on the top floor. I forget how many stairs precisely but as far as my memory can add up I’d say there were 56 to get to our front door. So this meant a ring on the bell and then waiting for a kindly husband to come and rescue me and my full Wheelie bag. Thank goodness for chivalry!

By Sandra Bohtlingk (nee Baldwin) (17/02/2013)

I remember well going to the Curzon during school holidays in the '60s. It was a nice little cinema with comfy seats. The only films I remember seeing there are: Pinocchio, Virgin Soldiers and Up the Junction. Sad it went along with so many other cinemas in the area.

By Hilary Gould (04/04/2013)

I used to come to the Curzon quite often between 1965-1969. I loved this cinema; especially the double seats. In fact, I loved most of our super cinemas we had back then. It was so exciting to go to the cinema; something we looked forward to on a Friday or Saturday night. The interior of the cinemas was magical - you sat waiting for the film thinking you'd been transported to some exotic place in Spain or the Orient. I think I think we paid 2/6d for tickets hoping there was enough for a Kiaora drink and ice cream during the interval.

By Sandi Marchant (28/08/2013)

As I remember  - in the 50s, when the cinema was the Curzon, the store which is now Waitrose was called Safeway and was one of the first supermarkets to open in the UK at the time. Can anyone add some more info on this?

By Chris Kisko (05/12/2013)

I remember going to this cinema in the 1970s.  A friend of my mum's, called Lesley, worked here - her daughter went to school with my sister.  I think the last film we watched here would have been Disney's The Rescuers in probably 1977 or 78. Fond memories.

By Phil Drayton-Morris (09/01/2014)

I remember the late night shows that Peter Groves mentioned, but as I recall it was "Fritz the Cat", which was probably X-rated! I think "Felix the Cat" was a children's cartoon character.

By Alan Hobden (17/07/2014)

In the early 70s I had a job to do in this place after one of their late night showings. The firm I was working for at the time had a job to clear the blocked drains at the time I was installing a central heating system in Crawley and they called me back in because the foreman had been there for 6hrs and could not get it cleared. I got there at 4o/c stayed to 7o/c but could not clear the blockage, so we had to go back the next day, we started at 9 and did not get it cleared until 4o/c, what we found was that somebody had some pushed a half gin bottle down the pan and it got wedged in the soil pipe.

By John Eaton (18/07/2014)

I lived at Sussex University digs on Windlesham Road in 1976-1977 and remember enjoying "Blazing Saddles" at a late-night showing at the Classic one winter evening.

By Sedat Nemli (28/09/2014)

I remember the Curzon, they used to change the pictures twice a week, and the Embassy just a bit further along the road was the same so I was able to go 4 times a week. I could go on my own when I was quite young, no wierdos then! I remember the Embassy was run by a brother and sister, his name was Laurie, does anyone remember them?  Good memories.

By Sandie Waller (16/12/2015)

The corner building used to be the Labour Exchange.

By Dennis Fielder (17/12/2015)

Think it was 1978 when I travelled down from Beckenham specifically to catch "Big Wednesday" which never got a proper release at that time, even in London. Unbelievable considering this film is now considered classic !

By Nick (24/11/2016)

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