Imperial Cinema

5-7 Brighton Road,
Crawley, RH10 6AE

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Shipman & King Cinemas Ltd.

Functions: Housing

Styles: Neo-Classical

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Imperial Cinema

The Imperial Cinema was built in 1928, after the Imperial Picture Theatre (opened in 1911, at the same site) was destroyed by fire on 4th August 1928. The Imperial Cinema opened on 20th July 1929 and had a 28 feet wide proscenium. Seating was provided for 540 in the stalls and 124 in the balcony. The floor in the front stalls had a reverse rake. It remained in use as Crawley’s only cinema until 1938, when the more modern Embassy Cinema opened in the High Street.

The building ceased being used as a cinema after World War II and became an auction room. Today the facade of the building remains as it was in the 1920’s, but the auditorium has been gutted and the building is now used as a car showroom. In the summer of 2017 the building was being converted into affordable housing.

Contributed by Jonathan Logan

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Ian on December 28, 2011 at 7:00 am

A photo with the building in use as the showroom here:–


Buffer on April 1, 2014 at 8:36 am

Shipman and King purchased the Imperial before they opened their Embassy but ran both cinemas until after the Second World war

HJHill on September 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

The 1928 reopening was on Saturday 20 July. The balcony accommodated 124, the stalls 540. The stalls floor sloped down from the back and down from the proscenium; so occupants of front rows would not have to crane their heads back. The projectors were Ernemann Imperator II. The screen was 20ft wide; and there was an orchestra of four. (Source: West Sussex County Times 20 July 1929)

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