One hundred years ago this week, the Duke of York’s Cinema in Brighton opened its doors for the first time. One of the great Edwardian picture palaces, it was designed by local architects Charles Clayton and Ernest Black, and the opening day, 22 September 1910, is said to have drawn a crowd of 2,000 people, bringing traffic to a standstill in Preston Circus.
In the early days silent movies were shown, along with magic lantern shows and Pathé newsreels, and the first ‘talkie’ was screened in June 1930. Despite a period in the 1960s when film gave way to bingo nights for part of the week, the cinema has remained in continuous use, much loved by generations of filmgoers.
To commemorate its Centenary, a community project was established to trace the history of the Duke of York’s, and to give staff and local residents – past and present – the opportunity to share their memories of the place. Using resources that include the newspaper archive at Brighton History Centre, volunteers have gathered an extensive and fascinating collection of material which, when catalogued, will be held at Hove Museum & Art Gallery as part of its cinema history collection.
For further details of this project, and events that have been planned to celebrate the centenary, go to www.dukeofyorkscinema.co.uk