Astoria Theatre

10-17 Gloucester Place,
Brighton, BN1

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Showing 24 comments

Mike_Blakemore on April 1, 2018 at 2:07 am

Yes.. Which proves grade ll status is not worth the paper its written on. work should be aimed at minimum of Grade ll star and there are very few of them in the UK.

PROJIE on March 31, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Looks like it’s going to have the wrecking ball on it. A great cinema that made an impression on me. Sadly, we have lost so many wonderful cinemas.

thomastace on January 23, 2017 at 4:35 am

Still there, still hope.

ODEONesque on July 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

From what Ive read on urbex sites this cinema has been totally trashed inside and thats all on the side of the “big hammer merchants” with the smell of banknotes in their nostrils. Shame.

RHScottSpencer on March 14, 2013 at 11:43 am

I worked at his theatre/cinema as a relief projectionist for EMI. I am sorry to hear that it is due to be demolished. A lot of money when into trying to save the building. But it was never going to be saved the land it stands on is worth far to much, if used for something else.

cinevariety on March 1, 2013 at 1:36 am

Alas for all the hard work by so many this lovely cinema is no more.My first visit was in 1966 when the cinema had the first provincial run of Dr Zhivago.In 1968 a 70mm showing of 2001:A Space Odyssey was a wow. Gone With the wind had several showings here including as late as late as 1975 for a months run. Brighton has become infamous for being the place that knocks down it’s cinemas or leaves the buildings both cinemas and theatres to rot (Hippodrome Theatre Frank Matcham)until they have to be pulled down.That’s one reason i moved last year 2012 to Eastbourne where they value there four theatres and original town cinema, the Curzon. I have a full history of the Astoria plus a rare film poster from 1935 which hangs on my flat wall.Much missed.

Jeffrey Morris
Jeffrey Morris on October 26, 2011 at 5:51 am

Following years of neglect it now appears that the former Astoria cinema will be demolished having received permission to do so by the local authority.

Although this will most likely be challenged it is unlikely to reverse the situation. A venue of this nature in a city such as Brighton ought to be a viable business opportunity offering a multipurpose venue that can be financially rewarding. However, with no business plan or vision for alternative use and restoration over a decade or so it is unlikely that the local authority or those listening to any appeal will have a change of thought. It is Very sad indeed.

HowardBHaas on July 15, 2011 at 11:58 am

Threatened with demolition:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 27, 2008 at 4:11 pm

A vintage view of the auditorium in 1958, just prior to conversion into a 70mm/Todd A-O Roadshow cinema:
View link

Davell on June 1, 2008 at 9:30 am

In 1963 I went on holiday to Brighton with my father. We went to a number of cinemas including the Astoria, which was showing Mutiny on the Bounty in 70mm. The sound from the six tracks was fantastic and was as good, in my opinion as any modern sound system such as Dolby stereo or DTS.Projecting the 70mm images was the popular Philips DP70s. Before 70mm, Kalee elevens put the pictures on the screen. One of the projectionists was a Mr Ted Jempson, who sadly is no longer with us.The picture and sound at the Astora certainly made an impression on me.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on July 25, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Here is link to a page showing a vintage photograph and a potted history:

brighton84 on August 14, 2006 at 12:26 pm

Letter: The Astoria will not be lost to dereliction
From the archive, first published Tuesday 11th Apr 2006.

In response to several recent letters concerning the Astoria Cinema on the Old Steine, we do indeed own the building and, despite being hard at work putting a new show together for the Brighton Festival, behind the scenes we are still working on our Astoria plans.

The scaffolding at the front was put there both to protect the building frontage (which is listed, but was deteriorating) and the public, from falling masonry.

No doubt the unsightliness of this is bringing the building to everyone’s attention but, prior to our ownership, it suffered many years of unnoticed neglect.

Before anything else can be done with the Astoria, it needs a new roof and the fascia needs to be renovated and restored.

This vastly increases the expense of restoration and, since there are no grants or lottery funds available to us, we are actively seeking private partners and sponsorship.

In the meantime, while the scaffolding may be an eyesore, behind it lies the potential of a wonderful performance/cinema space.

So, we apologise for the inconvenience, but we are working with architects on new internal designs, making feasibility studies and seeking partners and sponsors to resurrect the Astoria.

Many wonderful theatres and cinemas have been lost to Brighton and to redevelopment, most recently the Essoldo on North Street.

We do not intend to let the Astoria fall into the dereliction/redevelopment trap and will be revealing our plans for the Astoria in the near future.

-Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, Yes/No Productions, Ship Street, Brighton

This letter was taken from the Brighton Argus. Yes/No Productions are the management organisation for the group known as ‘Stomp’. Should there be any further developments, I’ll post it here.

mjwood on August 12, 2006 at 4:25 am

Chris…in Brighton Tuesday for the closure of the Hippodrome, and found that the scaffolding which seemed to have covered the Astoria for ever (well at least year 2000), has now been removed leaving some fencing to prevent pedestrians being hit by falling masonry. No sign of any other work going on there. Do you know what happened to the Astoria Moving Picture Trust?

delta on August 10, 2006 at 10:30 pm

The Astoria was my favourite Brighton cinema, one of two in the town, (the other was the ‘Regent’), which featured Roadshow presentations. I clearly remember seeing ‘Jaws’; ‘The Towering Inferno’; ‘Earthquake’; 70mm version of ‘Gone With The Wind’; and many others. It was a comfortable theatre with a good view of the screen from all seats. I was saddened when it closed, as did the Regent, in favour of the awful ‘multi screen’ conversions.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 31, 2005 at 5:05 am

A late 1990’s photograph of the Astoria, taken after the Gala Bingo operation had closed:
View link

PaulBland on October 8, 2005 at 3:55 am

In the early 1970s the manager was A.T.“Chick” Fowle who was fiercely proud of his theatre. I first saw “Where Eagles Dare” there and, on that huge screen, we were all there with Richard Burton on top of the cable car! I loaned Mr Fowle my copy of the opening brochure for The Regent; he returned it with complimentary tickets for “The Sting”, which I had already seen at the ABC, but the screen was nowhere near as good!

brighton84 on January 20, 2005 at 3:29 am

Woody, many people here in Brighton have tried to find out what’s happening – nobody yet has come up with any information. Apparently, the Theatre Trust has been contacted, but without result. I’ll post any news I get.

woody on January 20, 2005 at 3:00 am

The building is in a deplorable state, damp, derelict and covered in graffitti, there is scaffolding up, but it has an air of abandonment, is there any news on its future?

RHScottSpencer on January 20, 2005 at 12:33 am

I worked at this cinema as part of my job as a zone relief projectionist, it had a pair of Philips DP70 projectors. Which by my reckoning from the number of 70mm road show films. Shown at this cinema must hold the record for the hardiest worked 70mm projectors in the UK.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 20, 2004 at 10:55 am

The street address of the Astoria is 10-13 Gloucester Place. It opened on 21st September 1933, the architect being Edward A Stone with interior decorations in a French Art Deco style by interior designers Henri & Laverdet (who had worked with Stone on his other Astoria Theatres in London at Streatham and Finsbury Park and at the Whitehall Theatre, London).

The Astoria Brighton was built for E.E. Lyons who was starting up a chain of Astoria Cinemas in southern England at the time, but he died in 1934 and the Astoria Brighton (together with several others of his cinemas) was taken over by the ABC chain of theatres. The final film shown was Barbra Streisand in “A Star is Born on 7th May 1977.

PhilHamerton on September 18, 2004 at 11:54 am

Any news on the Astoria – many happy childhood memories – South Pacific and Oklahoma in Todd-AO, then Ben Hur in Camera 65 and so on. At least it hasn’t been torn down!!!

Phil H

brighton84 on January 31, 2004 at 6:38 am

Colin, just noticed your posting. Seems every interested movie theater person wants to know what’s happening at the Astoria. Is it back up for sale?

colindibley on May 14, 2002 at 2:04 am

It’s nice to see the Astoria on the web, I haven’t had a chance to do it yet, did you know it is also Grade II listed? Kind regards,
Colin Dibley
Chairman & Project Manager
Astoria Moving Picture Trust