Classic Eastbourne

Trinity Place,
Eastbourne, BN21 3DB

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Classic Cinemas (UK)

Previous Names: News Cinema, Classic Repertory Cinema

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Classic Eastbourne

In the seaside resort of Eastbourne, in East Sussex, what was originally an indoor riding school became the 590-seat News Cinema in July 1938. There was just a single floor, with no balcony.

Initially, the ‘usual’ news theatre programmes of short subjects were presented but, on 31st October the same year, the first double feature programme was shown, comprising “Fugitive Lady”, starring Evelyn Venable, and Warren Hull in “A Bride for Henry”.

Perhaps under pressure from other local cinemas, the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association maintained that the licence for the News Cinema should be limited to newsreels and the like. But a formal submission to that effect was rejected, and the licence was renewed without any restrictions. From then on, only feature films were presented.

The News Cinema closed on 21st September 1940 due to the prevailing wartime conditions. The final programme was “Hotel for Women”, starring Elsa Maxwell, and Leslie Banks in “Sons of the Sea”.

The cinema re-opened on Monday 14th May 1945 with “Pride and Prejudice”, starring Lawrence Olivier and Greer Garson. In advertising, it was known as the Classic Repertory Cinema; later on it became known as, simply, the Classic - and it could be that the “Repertory Cinema” part was more a description of its shows than an ‘official’ part of its name, as those words appeared in smaller typeface in the advertising and the exterior signage appears to have been simply CLASSIC.

The Classic Cinema closed on Saturday 27th November 1965 with the Winston Churchill documentary “The Finest Hours” and David Niven in “Happy Anniversary”.

To the end, the Classic Cinema was the only cinema in the borough that did not open on Sundays.

The building became an extension of Clark and Lambert’s adjacent garage as a car showroom, with the stage and tabs providing a suitable backdrop to the show space!

The building has since been demolished.

Contributed by David Simpson
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