Shanly's Cinema

Montague Street and Portland Road,
Worthing, BN11 3HE

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Shanly's Cinema

In the seaside resort of Worthing, West Sussex, the first film shows are believed to have taken place at the Winter Hall. This had been built as a Congregational chapel in 1842, and had replaced an earlier chapel dating from 1804.

In 1903, this new chapel was itself superceded by a newer chapel, in Shelley Road, and it ceased to be used as a place of worship.

Mr M. W. Shanly acquired the former chapel and renamed it the Winter Hall. He presented film shows, advertised as “Shanly’s Animated Pictures” at Shanly’s Cinema. Musical accompaniment was provided by a pianist, and Madam Sidney’s Trio presented popular musical programmes as an addition to the films.

An advert from April 1908 included the Cinematophone in the programme, under the headline “the pictures that sing and talk”. This was one of the first attempts to synchronise sound and picture.

After World War I, films tended to predominate, but Shanly’s Cinema closed early on, in 1922.

The building has been demolished. The area has been subject to major town centre shopping redevelopment, with Boots the Chemist standing on the site at the junction of Montague Street and Portland Road.

Contributed by David Simpson
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