5-7 Brighton Road,
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Previously operated by: Shipman & King Cinemas Ltd.
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.
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