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Report - - Astoria Bingo Hall/Cinema/Theatre, Brighton - July 2011 | Theatres and Cinemas | 28DaysLater.co.uk
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Report - Astoria Bingo Hall/Cinema/Theatre, Brighton - July 2011

chrisr86

Clumsy oaf
28DL Full Member
#1
The Astoria seems to be flavour of the month on here for us in the south. This was the second destination of the day for myself, Olz9181, RobbieKhan and James. I'd scouted it some months back but had no luck. Special thanks have to go out to Weeble for providing Olz with some valuable intel regarding entry and a certain something to help us out inside! Cheers :D

Some history from http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Brighton/AstoriaBrighton.htm, a valuable source of information for this building:

The Grade II Listed Brighton Astoria was built by Griggs & Son Ltd. for E. E. Lyons and designed by Edward Albert Stone, who also deisigned the Astorias in Brixton, Streatham, Finsbury Park, Charing Cross Road, and the Old Kent Road in London. The Theatre was built as a Super Cinema with an Art Deco auditorium decorated by Henri & Laverdet, capable of seating 1,823 people, a Tea Room and Restaurant, and full stage facilities.

Although built as a Super Cinema with stage facilities the Theatre's stage was in fact rarely used and in 1958 it was closed off completely when renovations to the building included erecting a 70mm screen in front of the proscenium. The Theatre's Compton Organ was also removed at this time, and the auditorium was mostly hidden by curtains. Also the Balcony stepping was altered and a new projection box was installed at the rear of of the balcony.

A Ticket for a special press & trade preview of 'Ben Hur' at the Astoria Theatre, Brighton on Monday the 20th of March, 1961 - Courtesy Allan JempsonThe Astoria then went on to be a successful Cinema for many years until the 7th of May 1977 when it closed after the last showing of Barbra Streisand's 'A Star is Born.'

After the Astoria closed for Cinema use it was then converted for Bingo. This continued until 1996 when even Bingo ended and the building was closed and boarded up, and so it has remained for many years.

Having been sold for a substantial sum recently the current owners have put in planning applications to demolish the building but the Theatres Trust, and the Cinema Theatre Association have strongly opposed any demolition of this Grade II Listed Theatre.
Typical, unmistakable art deco exterior:

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We got inside and...

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... let there be light!

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Above the stage and curtains with all the ropes and pulleys.

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We ventured down into the depths of the cinema. So many corridors like this one, where the boiler room is located.

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We then decided to head back upstairs and go all the way to the roof, with some great (but risky!) views over Brighton for miles.

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Back down to the area of the main attraction. First of all, the seats for the diner area near the stage.

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And the screen and stage itself.

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... With a good view from the balcony. I'd love to have seen this view in it's heyday!

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I found a christmas tree! Time for some shameless self-portraiture.

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As I was packing my things away I lived up to my reputation of being clumsy, causing harm to myself and drawing blood on every explore... by bashing my eye with my tripod and slashing my eyelid as a result. It's a bit swollen now. Way to go, Chris.

I was glad to finally get in here; I love cinemas from the art deco era and it's good to know that it's not getting demolished. This place is definitely a must-see for anyone in the area.

A cinema and hospital in the same day... the stuff that dreams are made of ;)
 

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jack the urban explorer

28DL Member
28DL Member
#2
Hello me and my friends have been scouting this place out for a while now but come up with nothing. [REMOVED]

EDIT: Don't join and ask for access without first becoming an established member!

thanks
jack
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Mini nut

My local and favourite, gone.
28DL Full Member
#3
If only - this cinema has been bought by someone with a couldn`t-care-less attitude toward such things in order to pull it down and replace it with, of all things, student accommodation.
 

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