73 Brighton Kingswest 1

    Newer Older

    The newly opened Odeon Kingswest Centre in 1973. The cinema entrance was hidden away at the rear of the building with an outdoor escalator which was broken more often than it was working. Originally with just 3 screens the Odeon Film Centre now has a total of 8.

    A scanned slide from 1973
    Brighton Kingswest Odeon

    1. hardlinr 95 months ago | reply

      Looking at this, it is impossible not to see the bright future that was in mind when they built it. A bit before its time, or did we never get there?

    2. stagedoor 95 months ago | reply

      Sadly the frontage - which faces the sea - had even fewer windows, on a commanding site, than the rear did! A classic example of a building taking NO account of it's surroundings.

      Personally I think the architect should be strung up by his balls! Even futurist buildings have windows to look out over a panoramic view!

    3. [davidrobertsphotography] 90 months ago | reply

      It's just a poor design, in my book. Hiding the cinema's entrance away like that was unforgivable. Why did no-one in Rank say anything?

    4. Tim Cokayne 62 months ago | reply

      I remember being in the queue to see Star Wars that ran all the way down the static escalator and past the church on West Street. I saw Close Encounters, E.T and the tenth anniversary re-showing of 2001: A Space Odyssey there. It will always be a building of the future to me :-)

    5. treasonfor99 47 months ago | reply

      Films I saw at this cinema - Superman II, The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Independence Day, Final Destination, Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, The Fox & The Hound, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame. Happy times!

    6. murkredi 47 months ago | reply

      I took my (now) wife there on our first date. 1st April 1978. Star Wars.

      I'm sure I can remember that it wasn't a cinema when first opened. It was a skating rink.

    7. stagedoor 47 months ago | reply

      No, the three cinemas in the Kingswest Centre were part of the original design. There were also other components in the centre including a disco and perhaps skating as well. History gets confused as between the Kingswest Odeon (shown here) and the Odeon West Street (now demolished) was the SS Brighton - a skating rink (long since demolished).

    8. murkredi 47 months ago | reply

      I'm sorry, but I was there, and you're wrong. The original building went up in 1965, and definitely had a skating rink on the upper floor. I used to go there every Saturday morning. In fact, it was built to replace the SS Brighton. I'm fairly certain there was also a bowling alley, and the Top Rank Suite dance hall. It probably lost money every day it was open, and I think it was restructured in the early 70s to incorporate a cinema (possibly Brighton's first multiplex) where the rink and alley originally were. Which explains the bizarrely placed entrance.

    9. stagedoor 47 months ago | reply

      Sorry I take back my comment above - really must learn to check and not rely on memory! The upstairs (screens 1 to 3 in 1973) cinemas occupy the former conference centre/ skating rink of the Kingswest Centre and were created there in 1972/3, 8 years after the Centre originally opened. The two smaller screens remain (now numbered 1 and 5), the largest cinema was split into three at a later date and the 3 screens downstairs were also later additions.

    10. murkredi 47 months ago | reply

      Spoken like a true gent. Though, I had to double check - when you get to a certain age, those memories aren't as reliable as you'd hope! Bizarrely, I actually came across your image whilst trying to confirm my memory of Abba winning Eurovision at Kingswest. I would have bet serious money on this being a fact, when they actually played at The Dome.

      Thanks for sharing a great image that clearly stirs up many good memories.

    11. Fanatical about Odeon 38 months ago | reply

      davidrobertsphotography, someone in Rank DID say something! Brian Quilter, Managing Director of Rank Leisure Services during the late sixties and early seventies, said on leaving the Company with a golden handshake, that if he could choose a "monument" to his tenure, he would like it to be the Odeon Kingswest! Admittedly, many of the group's cinemas at the start of his "reign" were struggling (along with other circuits) and admissions were in decline. Almost all the properties were traditional cinemas and many were very fine examples architecturally. Something had to be done and Quilter (coming from Beecham's Pills and having no genuine interest in cinemas other than as profit units) was the man to do it. He presided over the 1960s "zing" treatment where numerous cinemas were modernised and usually given much plainer interiors (nowhere more so than the flagship Odeon, Leicester Square which lost much of its ornamentation forward of the circle - elements of which have since been recreated). Having made his cinemas supposedly more appealing, and some did look very handsome after their facelift - York's Odeon being one - the next step was to make them more flexible. Expensive conversions came first with large, successful, city centre cinemas being changed dramatically to produce two totally new auditoria and in the case of Glasgow three with one built in the former Paramount's stage house and managing to have both stalls and circle! Less important cinemas tended to have "drop wall" conversions where the former circle and screen became screen one and two much smaller cinemas were sited side by side in the former rear stalls. Already owning the Kingswest Centre with its Top Rank Suite banqueting centre and other leisure elements it obviously made sense to have all their activities under one roof and sell the "real" Odeon on West Street. I don't know what other business Quilter went on to "revitalise" but I wouldn't call Odeon Kingswest monumental in any context.

    12. [davidrobertsphotography] 38 months ago | reply

      Maybe a 'monumental disaster'?! :-D

    13. the_stockport_years 19 months ago | reply

      It looks like one of these new, League 1 standard football grounds!

    keyboard shortcuts: previous photo next photo L view in light box F favorite < scroll film strip left > scroll film strip right ? show all shortcuts