Home > Directory of cinemas > Embassy

Directory of cinemas in Brighton & Hove

< Previous | Next >
Embassy Cinema

Embassy Cinema
Embassy around the time it closed in 1981.

former Embassy Cinema, front of house

former Embassy Cinema, from the rear

Embassy Cinema demolished Embassy Cinema demolished
Construction begins on the demolished site of the Embassy auditorium. The foyer area has become a café.

Photos: David Fisher, Terra Media

Hove Cinematograph Theatre (1911-1922)
Tivoli Cinema (1922-1948)
Embassy Cinema (1948-1981)

1 Western Road, Hove 14
operated c1912-1981

1911 October 5 Planning application approved by Hove Council to convert the former Little Western Arms pub (built 1835), which most recently had been the Belvedere Club and Tea Rooms
1912 January 31 Cinematograph exhibition licence granted to Martin Waters, the company director. Opens for screening Monday to Saturday. The auditorium makes use of the downward slope of Little Western Street; access to the projection box is via a ladder near the screen and a walkway across the roof
1913 January 2 Plans for addition of a gallery are approved by Hove Council
1914 The toilet in the yard is described by the borough's medical officer as 'very foul and without a supply of water'.
1916 Acquired by two local businessmen (John Harris, 42 Lansdowne Place and Joseph Cohen, 3 Sillwood Road) and may have been renamed the Tivoli.
1917 June Re-licensed to James Clark Watson.
1917 October Re-licensed to William Denos.
1919 May Acquired by George Beyfus of Tivoli Enterprises (Hove) Ltd.
1922 Renamed Tivoli Cinema. Beyfus acquires the nearby Picturedrome, which becomes the Scala.
1925 Acquired by Clifford Victor Maclean Smart.
1927 March 28 Acquired by J Goldberg.
1929 November Converted to GB-Kalee sound system. Last silent film: Abel Gance's Napoléon, first talkie: The Singing Fool.
c1930 owned by a Mrs Fellows (who also owned the King's Cliff Cinema in Kemp Town at this time).
1946 November 2 Closed while a new, larger projection box is constructed with access from front of house, to replace the previous one, which was condemned as a health and safety risk.
1946 December 26 Re-opens.
1948 350 seats, prices 10d and 1s 9d, continuous performances, booked at hall; proscenium 20ft.
1948 Acquired by Harry Jacobs. Jacobs also owned the Curzon at this time.
1950 April Acquired land behind the cinema is used to extend the auditorium by 60 feet.
1950 May 15 Re-opens with the name Embassy Cinema; 398 seats; Walturdaw sound system.
1953 Prices 1s-2s 8d
1957 Prices 1s-2s 9d; two changes weekly
1961 Prices 1s 6d-3s
1967 Acquired by Miles Byrne, booked at Byrne House, 2 St John's Road, Burgess Hill
1979 Planning permission to split the building into a gambling club and smaller cinema is refused.
1981 end March Closed. Final film: Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again.

• It was briefly a music venue (it was apparently closed as such after fights at a gig by The Jam) and then became the Black Cat bingo club until the late 1980s. It was later used, still virtually unchanged from its cinema layout, as a pine furniture supermarket and then as a Laser Warriors adventure game site and for other retail and leisure purposes. It then became an amusement arcade and closed again. Plans to turn it into a lap-dancing club in 2003 were rejected after concerted opposition. The entrance area became a coffee house in 2006. The auditorium was demolished in July 2007 and replaced by housing.

• Although no longer in use as a cinema when photographed here (December 2001), the design of the building can still be seen clearly. It is fairly typical of the cinema buildings in the early silent era. Patrons followed a corridor from the front door to the entrance to the auditorium past the box office on the right. Offices were on the upper floors. The auditorium began at the rear of the three-storey section, with the projection box adjacent to the entrance to the stalls. [Incidentally, the sign marking the boundary between the old boroughs of Brighton and Hove can be see at first-floor level on the side wall.]
        The auditorium extended to the rear, essentially as a simple rectangular room with a raked floor. The screen was at the extreme rear of the building. The three side doors could be opened at the end of the performance to allow the audience to exit more quickly into the side street than they would if they all had to pass through the narrow front entrance.

 

Brighton cinema directory

Page updated 17 September 2015
© David Fisher