Academy Cinema

A staff firedrill

By Trevor Chepstow

This photograph of staff at the Academy Cinema in West Street Brighton was taken around 1949-50. I assume that the gentleman in the middle is the Chief Commissionaire and is demonstrating how the fire extinguisher works at the fire drill.

The tall gentleman to the left is Daniel Percy Bailey my grandfather who had recently retired from the army.  Daniel Percy Bailey was in the Royal Artillery and was stationed at the Lewes Road Barracks. Originally from Manchester he fought in the 1914-18 War in the North West Frontier and again in the Second World War in the Middle East and South Africa. He retired with the rank of Corporal from the army.

Along with his job as commissionaire at the Academy Cinema; he was also messenger and commissionaire for the National Abbey Insurance Company whose building was right opposite the cinema. The National Abbey building has changed very little and is now home to the large chain of pubs called "Wetherspoons".

Photo:Staff firedrill

Staff firedrill

From the private collection of Trevor Chepstow

This page was added on 30/08/2006.
Comments about this page
The last film, on the last night, was 'The Last Picture Show'. How appropriate. I was there.
By David Wilkinson (22/07/2009)

My Father 'Ted' Tulley was the manager at the Academy, Odeon and Regent cinemas in the 50s/60s. You would see him either outside or in the foyer immaculately dressed  in his evening suite with a carnation in his lapel.

By Robin Tulley (13/08/2009)

Hey - good entertainment at the Academy. I used to go there when our family lived in a council hostel on the seafront at Russell Street. There was another cinema called The Palladium on the corner of Russell Street. As kids we lived opposite, we were very poor and didn't have much to laugh at but we used to see the film then pop home for tea and then go back again - thanks to the good old bloke on the door. Wouldn't get that sort of understanding nowadays.

By Bob Golby (28/08/2009)

I went to the Academy in 1963 when I was on holiday with my father. We went to see Lawrence of Arabia, which was screened in 35mm with four-track magnetic sound, which sounded great.

By David A Ellis (13/10/2009)

I recall going into this theatre in 1972 to see Frederick Asthon's adaptation of 'Tales Of Beatrix Potter'. As uncultured children, I and my twin were rather disappointed when we realized the film was based on ballet. I believe we sat through it, but I remember feeling bored.

By John Palmer (23/06/2012)

I recall seeing "Genevieve" with Roger Moore and Dinah Sheridan who also played the mother in the Railway Children and who sadly passed away aged 92 quite recently. It was the first film I saw with my girlfriend in 1966, she is now my wife and has been since 1967.

By John Snelling (23/12/2012)

I can remember going to the Academy cinema and what I remember most of all is the lack of leg room, so if you were a bit long in the leg - try to get a seat on the end of the aisle. Happy days. 

By cliff taylor (02/04/2013)

This was really an amazing find, as I was looking at old photos of West Brighton talking to my Mum on the phone. I mentioned about the photos I was viewing, and told her I could see the Academy Cinema. She told me that her father, my granddad worked there as a doorman. So I typed in the Academy, and told her of the picture I was looking at. It was a picture of her Dad with some work colleagues. Truly amazing. Her name is Kathleen Maud Bailey, still going strong at 86.

By Jozef Kis (05/06/2013)

My Dad, Ronald Dunbar, was manager at the Academy in about 1965 to about 1968 (not sure of exact dates). Have the best memories of the Saturday morning club. Dad was, I'm told, the youngest manager the Rank Organisation had. Miss him so much. Also remember how smart he looked in his dinner suit and bow tie. Had an Indian man called Mr Khan as the door man .

By A J Swift (nee Dunbar) (25/02/2016)

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