Cinema Elite

Gratwicke Road,
Worthing, BN11 4DZ

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Cinema Elite

In the West Sussex resort of Worthing, the Elite Skating Rink was opened on 30th November 1909 by the Elite Rink Company. The building was a conversion of Gratwicke Riding School and had a total surface of 3,000sq ft. The maple wood floor was said to be practically noiseless, and the rink was stocked with “Brampton’s Famous Skates”.

The hall was decorated with Japanese sunshades and lanterns, and the rink was open from 11am to 10.30pm.

Inevitably, the craze for skating waned, and the rink’s final advert appeared on 26th April 1911.

The Cinema Elite arrived on 5th July 1911, with a programme that included a drama, “Preacher’s Wife”, a comedy, “An Old Story with a New Ending” and “Nat Pinkerton”, a jewel mystery drama. The Worthing Gazette spoke in glowing terms of the “excellent arrangements made by the management for the comfort of customers coupled with their excellent selection of the latest films”. According to advertisements the Cinema Elite was “seated throughout with the latest upholstered tip-up seats”. It was owned by Messrs. Whitten, Hopkins and Gibbs.

What wasn’t inevitable at all was that, in early November 1911, the Elite Cinema closed down and the Elite Skating Rink started up again.

It is not known how long that continued, but the building never returned to film presentations.

In more recent years it became home to SHS, a car spares company. In May 1987 the wider site was cleared for a complex of 12 new ‘Victorian-style’ cottages.

Contributed by David Simpson
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