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Latitude: 50.8261 / 50°49'33"N
Longitude: -0.1362 / 0°8'10"W
OS Eastings: 531364
OS Northings: 104601
OS Grid: TQ313046
Mapcode National: GBR JP4.2DS
Mapcode Global: FRA B6LX.BRY
Plus Code: 9C2XRVG7+CG
Entry Name: The Astoria Theatre
Listing Date: 22 November 2000
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1247234
English Heritage Legacy ID: 486887
Location: Brighton and Hove, BN1
County: The City of Brighton and Hove
Electoral Ward/Division: St. Peter's and North Laine
Built-Up Area: Brighton and Hove
Traditional County: Sussex
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex
Church of England Parish: Brighton The Chapel
Church of England Diocese: Chichester
TQ3104NW GLOUCESTER PLACE
22-NOV-00 (West side)
The Astoria Theatre
Former cinema, latterly used as a bingo hall, with tea room, flat and shops. 1933 to the designs of Edward A Stone, adapted in 1958 for Todd-AO widescreen films, in 1977 as a bingo hall. Steel frame, clad in brick with faience front; flat roofs. Complex plan of cinema, with balcony, stage, dressing rooms and flytower, set behind range containing shops, tea rooms and manager's flat, to which it is linked by narrow lobby to entrance foyers to right of block and by dressing rooms to left; a lightwell separates this range from that of the auditorium.
Stepped frontage a tripartite composition, with three round-arched lights set under keystones in moulded surrounds, with fluted panel between first and second floors encouraging the two rows of windows to be read as a single composition. Name 'ASTORIA' in set-back panel. Original canopy may survive behind later boxing; late C20 double doors. To left, ten-bay frontage to first-floor tea-room and second-floor accommodation with metal casement windows; ground-floor shops altered and not of special interest.
Interior. Single height vestibule with staircase to balcony at left, whose solid balustrade ends in a curve. Art deco picture rail moulding and combed plasterwork largely boxed in at time of inspection, and inserted office. Above, balcony crush hall with patterned linoleum floor, combed plaster decoration, clock and moulded ceiling; linoleum and plasterwork continues up stairs to upper part of balcony. Original timber doors with long vertical handles. Combed plasterwork also to tea room. The auditorium was altered in 1977 by the insertion of a flat floor to the front stalls, a false ceiling and the boxing-in and curtaining of the side-wall decoration, but much survives behind this. Proscenium survives, with above it a frieze in low relief depicting stylised, semi-abstract figures. Decorative plaster grilles to either side over side exits, that to right masking the organ chamber, with textured Marb-l-cote plasterwork to either side and extending along the side walls and in ceiling. The fluted wooden pilasters to either side of the grilles are missing, but their form can be seen below the false floor, where the exit steps also survive. High moulded ceiling. Some original seats, refigured, in balcony. Wide stage with flytower, fly floors and grid, with organ lift below stage, and some evidence of orchestra pit behind 1958 pit for Todd AO screen, of which fragments survive in the flytower. Beeston Boilers' `Britannia' ventilation system in chamber over entrance, and central vacuum cleaning system.
The Astoria, with 1,800 seats, was one of the largest super-cinemas built on the south coast and was the flagship of a chain of Astorias built in several seaside towns - it is also the principal survivor. Its decoration survives remarkably intact under later alterations, and includes in the proscenium frieze work of unusual quality. It is particularly unusual in its French art deco style, of which it is rare cinematic survivor. This style was adopted by Stone for his Whitehall Theatre, City of Westminster (grade II), and can be seen in other West-End theatres, notably the Cambridge; but this is a larger and more elaborate example intended to demonstrate that a south-coast ciné-variety hall could match the West End in sophistication.
Source: Architecture Illustrated, February 1934, pp.38-44
Listing NGR: TQ3136404601
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