Orion Cinema

Cyprus Road,
Burgess Hill, RH15 8DX

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Orion Cinema

The first building on the site, the Cinema opened in 1919, it closed briefly in 1922 and re-opened as the Scala Cinema. In 1928 it closed for re-building.

The new cinema which rose on the site was designed by noted Liverpool based architect A. Ernest Shennan and it opened as the Scala Cinema on 3rd December 1928 with Charlie Chaplin in "The Circus" The exterior is of red brick and has a central semi-circular window above the two pairs of entrance doors and canopy. Seating was provided for 511 in a semi stadium plan, with a raised seating area at the rear. It had a 17 feet deep stage and two dressing room, which enabled variety performances.

Over the years it has gone through several changes of ownership and names, becoming the Orion Cinema in 1946 when it was refurbished. In 1985 it was re-named the Burgess Hill Cinema, then in 1990 a drop-wall twinning was achieved by building across the centre of the auditorium. Seating was now provided for 150 and 121 in the two screens. Taken over by the small independent Robins chain of cinemas, it’s current owner Lee Allwood took over in 1995 and re-instated the name Orion Cinema again.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Ian on March 6, 2008 at 2:17 pm

A 1979 shot when it was known as “The Cinema” here:–

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davidfisher1 on August 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

According to the Kine Yearbook 1914 there was already a cinema (‘Picture Palace’) in Cyprus Road, run by J Hampton and seating 200. Is this an earlier version of the same building? Or were there two cinema buildings in Cyprus Road?

Philip Picturedrome
Philip Picturedrome on October 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

It’s worth pointing out that this was A E Shennan’s only cinema outside Merseyside where he’d designed about 30. It’s also (sign of the times!) the last of his cinemas still showing films.

thomastace on January 23, 2017 at 4:31 am

An odd effect of the split is that in screen 2 you are looking down at the screen rather than up.

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