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King's Cliff Cinema/Sudeley Place Picture House (1920-1943)
Metro Cinema (1948)?
Picture Playhouse (1949)
Playhouse Cinema (1949-1951)
Continentale Cinema (1951-1986)

King's Cliff Cinema/Continentale


Continentale in the 1970s



The Continentale in 1966, when the double bill of French films comprised Catherine Deneuve in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Anna Karina in De l'Amour.

1966 photos courtesy of Rosalind Davidson.

Sudeley Place, Kemp Town, Brighton 15

1920 Opened as the King's Cliff Cinema (also known as the Sudeley Place Picture House) in a converted Congregational chapel, 370 seats, converted by local architects Denman & Matthew (Brighton).
1930 Owned by a Mrs Fellows (see also Tivoli, Western Road Hove). GB-Kalee sound system installed
1939 September 2 Re-opened after refurbishment. It closed the next day under the wartime restrictions on cinema opening.
1943 May Re-opened after temporary closure since 1941.
1947 October 31 Changed from cinema use to become Playhouse Repertory Theatre
1948 Apparently run as the Metro Cinema by Jack Leslie & Co. Although listed in the Kinematograph Yearbook for 1948—prices 10d-1s6d, continuous from 3.15pm, booked at hall; proscenium 14ft, British Acoustic Films (BAF) sound system—it is not mentioned by that name in any local sources consulted so far. The last repertory theatre performance was on 26 March 1949.
1949 March 28 Re-opens as The Picture Playhouse cinema. Shortly after (?) acquired by Miles Byrne and leased to George Fernie. [Some sources say it was owned by Fernie.] Renamed Playhouse Cinema. At that time Miles Byrne was entering the cinema business in Hereford, which became his main base.
1950 December Closes.
1951 April 30 Renamed Continentale Cinema and showing European films.
1953 January Infra-red heating system installed. Listed in the current Kinematograph Yearbook as run by Fernie & Sydenham, still booked at the hall. Prices 1s 6d-3s 1d.
1957 Listed as run by G H Fernie. Prices 1d 6d-3s 2d. 300 seats
1961 Converted for Cinemascope. Prices 1s 6d-3s
1965 Owned and managed by Miles Byrne Organisation (2 St John's Road, Burgess Hill). Complete refurbishment at a cost of £5,000. Programming changes to art-house films in the evenings, pornographic films in the afternoons. [The art-house films are later dropped in favour of an all-sex régime.]
1967 Brighton Council refuses to accept the BBFC certificate (X, subsequently reduced to 15) for Joseph Strick's film of James Joyce's Ulysses and briefly bans the film. [Byrne's Orion Cinema in Burgess Hill is meanwhile allowed to show the film.]
1968 Brighton Council briefly refuses to accept the BBFC certificate for the Swedish film I, A Woman.
1968 Booked at hall; 267 seats. Prices 4s, 5s. Screen 20ft x 9ft, Cinemascope
1970 Three shows daily, one change weekly; 250 seats
1986 December Closed, following the death of Miles Byrne. Last film double bill: Off Duty Pleasures and Sexy Couriers.
• Converted into four dwelling units in the late 1980s within the shell of the building.

Page updated 17 September 2015
© David Fisher