Until early 1909 there was not one single hall or theatre in Brighton dedicated to moving pictures. Patrons could see “exhibitions” of animated images as part of a variety performance or as a novelty on the Palace Pier or the Alhambra on Kings Road.
The first “cinema” in Brighton was the Electric Bioscope Theatre in Western Road, just a few yards from the corner of Montpelier Road (where Waitrose stands in 2023). It opened on Saturday 13 February and was immediately successful. The Pathé film of the disastrous 1910 floods in Paris was one of the myriad of French films shown in Brighton before the outbreak of the Great War.
A postcard showing an image that might have been seen in an early version of the Pathé newsreels which were a staple of British cinema until the 1970s. Wikimedia Commons
School-friends Jemima and Annabel are swapping their experiences of a new invention.
Saturday, 4th July, 1896
My Dearest Jemima,
How I love being on holiday in Brighton! We’re staying in Mr Hockley’s boarding house on the corner of Preston Street and my room has a view of the sea and the West Pier. Everything is so exciting but last night was really special. I cut out the advertisement for you from the Brighton Gazette on Thursday. Mother, Father and I just had to go and see what it was all about.