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The Astoria Cinema Brighton - Lewes Bonfire Night Celebrations
July 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm by v
Had been wanting to do this abandoned derelict art deco building for months, but just could not find a safe, sensible and a legal way into the Brighton Astoria Cinema which was also a Bingo Hall and a rarely used Theatre. Got a phone call one evening from my Son In Law and Grandson and they blurted “Were In”
Myself and my Wife were there in minutes! We all had a great time in there exploring, taking only photos and leaving only our footprints. The following text comes from this excellent Music Hall and Theatre History Website which has loads of info on this lovely Abandoned and Derelict building.
This Grade II Listed Brighton Astoria was built by Griggs & Son Ltd. for E. E. Lyons and designed by Edward Albert Stone. The Theatre was built as a Super Cinema with an Art Deco auditorium decorated by Henri & Laverdet, capable of seating 1,823 people, a Tea Room and Restaurant, and full stage facilities.
The Astoria opened on Thursday the 21st of December 1933 with a special programme including the National Anthem, speeches by Sir Cooper Rawson M.P., and the Mayor of Brighton; Margaret Hardy M.B.E., a showing of the Movietone News’ ‘Current Events’, T. Guy Hindell playing an Overture on the Theatre’s own Compton 3 manual Organ, a showing of ‘Interesting Items’ by Pathe Pictorial, Walt Disney’s ‘Santa’s Workshop’, and the main feature which was Charles Laughton in ‘The Private Life of Henry VIII.’
Although built as a Super Cinema with stage facilities the Theatre’s stage was in fact rarely used and in 1958 it was closed off completely when renovations to the building included erecting a 70mm screen in front of the proscenium. The Theatre’s Compton Organ was also removed at this time, and the auditorium was mostly hidden by curtains. Also the Balcony stepping was altered and a new projection box was installed at the rear of of the balcony.
The Astoria then went on to be a successful Cinema for many years until the 7th of May 1977 when it closed after the last showing of Barbra Streisand’s ‘A Star is Born.’ After the Astoria closed for Cinema use it was then converted for Bingo. This continued until 1996 when even Bingo ended and the building was closed and boarded up, and so it has remained for many years.
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