Directory of cinemas in Brighton & Hove

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Palladium Cinema

This picture of the Palladium is said to have been taken in 1912. However, the film advertised, The Elder Miss Blossom, was released in 1918.

This shows it after its art deco makeover in the brief time it was called the Odeon on 1936-1937.

The alley leading to the auditorium exit.
Photo courtesy of the Regency Society James Gray Collection.

Palladium closed
This shows further changes to the frontage and was taken around 1960, after the cinema closed.
Photo courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust

Alhambra Opera House and Music Hall (1888-1912)
Palladium Cinema (1912-1936)
(also called Grand Cinema-de-Luxe in 1912)
Odeon (1936-1937)
Palladium Cinema (1937-1956)

85 King's Road, Brighton
operated 1912-1940 and 1942-1956

• The theatre opened on 29 October 1888 as the Alhambra Opera House and Music Hall, designed by Frank Matcham and built on the site of the Whitehall Livery Stables at the corner of Russell Street. It seated 2,200 and had 10 entrances/exits on King's Road and Russell Street. One of the most important music halls in the country that attracted major stars, it was here that George Robey ('The Prime Minister of Mirth') made his first appearance in pantomime and Albert Chevalier introduced his famous song, My Old Dutch, in 1892.
1897 Films are included in music hall programmes. In November there is a programme of Biograph films from America.
1898 July George Albert Smith makes a film of the music hall star Marie Lloyd outside the theatre.
1898 December A programme of Edison films is shown.
1899 January Programme of films by the two master piomneers of 'trick' films, George Albert Smith and Georges Méliès, runs at the theatre.
1900 April Edison-Thomas Vitascope is on the bill.
1906 October 19 Brighton Alhambra Ltd is wound up.
1908 October 13 A winding-up order is issued against The Brighton Alhambra Ltd.
1909 June Creditors receive 17s 9d in the pound.
1909 September Variety bills now routinely end with the Alhambra Picturegraph.
1910 January 31 The liquidator of the Brighton Alhambra Ltd is released. The lease has probably been taken before this by Alfred Smith (27a Carlton Hill, Brighton).
1911 May Lease acquired from Alfred Smith by Entertainment Develop ment Syndicate Ltd (Craven House, Kingsway, London; capital: £15,000; the managing director is Maurice Jay, the general manager J de Freece, the resident manager G Rhodes Parry). Variety shows continue for another year.
1912 April 6 Opened by Alderman Edward Geere as a cinema, briefly called Grand Cinema De Luxe, owned by Grand Cinema De Luxe (Palladium (Brighton) Ltd); 1,200 seats in an elaborate setting. Prices 3d, 6d, 1s and 2s 6d.
1912 September 26 Shareholders of Entertainment Development Syndicate Ltd agree to wind up the company.
1913 Highest priced seats are now 1s, children half price. A box to hold four people costs 4s.
1914 early Shows of Kinoplastikon, films without a screen, along with other films on the normal screen. Separate shows at 15:30. 19:00 and 21:30 daily.
1914 Acquired by J L Crown, who previously ran the Coronation cinema. Programmes include the Palladium Gazette (re-titled version of Pathé Gazette) and local films.
1917 July D W Griffith's Intolerance is shown.
1922 The back stalls cost 6s.
1924 Taken over by the Blue Halls circuit (4 Lloyds Avenue, London EC4). Prices 9d-2s 4d.
1929 July 1 Westrex sound system installed, the second conversion of a Brighton cinema (re-opening on the same day as the Regent). The first talkie is The Doctor's Secret.
1931 Three changes weekly. Prices are now 1s-2s 4d.
1935 April 15 Sublet by Blue Halls to Oscar Deutsch's Odeon chain.
1935 June 8 Re-opens after a two-week refurbishment of the entrance and foyer and replacement of the seats. First film after re-opening is Passport to Fame.
1936 New Art Deco facade added; known as the Odeon.
1937 December Reverts to being called the Palladium when the Odeon West Street opens. Owned by Palladium (Brighton) Ltd
1940 July 15 Affected by the curfew imposed in the area south of Western Road and North Street one hour after sunset.
1940 October 26 Closed.
1942 August 2 Re-opened under lessee management. Prices 8d-1s 10d.
1948 Prices 1s-2s 9d, continuous performances, booked at hall; proscenium width 30ft. Café.
1953 Prices 1s-3s 1d. Two changes weekly.
1955 December The Palladium is described by an Odeon spokesman as 'a Victorian, out-of-date place of entertainment in an unattractive and exposed position on the seafront. A place like this has no doubt served the public well in the days when it was a music hall. But when you put it against the large, modern, well-equipped cinemas in Brighton it has not got a chance.' In truth Brighton council is already looking to develop the site—see below. [The next Odeon in Brighton is the Kingswest, next to the Palladium—on the unattractive and exposed seafront.]
1956 May 26 Closed. Last films: re-runs of Genevieve and Doctor in the House.

• The building was compulsorily purchased, the lessee Blue Halls Ltd, the investment firm from which Palladium Cinema (Brighton) Ltd sublet, being paid £4,200 for the lease, which still has 17 years to run. It was then derelict for seven years before demolition in 1963. Palladium Cinema (Brighton) Ltd was dissolved on 10 January 1969.
• The Brighton Centre opened on the site, 14 years after demolition and 21 years after the Palladium closed, in 1977.

Demolition of the Matcham theatre begins in 1963. Such is the fate of Brighton's cultural treasures.
Photos courtesy of the Regency Society James Gray Collection.

Brighton cinema directory
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Page updated 2 April 2018
© David Fisher