Brighton & Hove, film and cinema

The adjoining towns of Brighton and Hove on England's south coast were the site of some of the earliest activity in the film industry anywhere in the world. Several of the most important pioneers lived and worked here—William Friese-Greene, Esmé Collings, James Williamson, George Albert Smith—perhaps demonstrating the proposition that a critical mass of interest and talent in one place drives technology forward. The presence in the town of one of the most important engineers of early cinematographic equipment, Alfred Darling, is also of considerable significance and the influence of the entrepreneur Charles Urban on film activity in the area cannot be over-estimated.
      Some of the earliest studios were built here and, given the proximity of the area to London and its popularity during the previous century since the Prince Regent made a home in Brighton, it is unfortunte that it did not continue to develop as the centre of the British film industry—in preference (or addition) to the Elstree/Borehamwood area. Nonetheless, the listings of films made in Brighton between 1896 and the present day demonstrates the city's importance to the big screen medium.
      This section not only records some of the micro-history of Brighton and Hove's early contribution to the media but explores the continuing cinema heritage of what is now the unified city of Brighton & Hove. A directory of the city's cinemas reflects the more general patterns of the rise and fall of big screen entertainment.

The site is currently being revised, following the publication of Cinema-by-Sea, which contains the most complete and reliable account of all material on this site.

Why Brighton? [in preparation]
Brighton & Hove's contribution to film history A chronology
People who made film history in the Brighton & Hove area
Places where film history was made in the Brighton & Hove area
    Brighton & Hove film studios
    Brighton & Hove film companies [in preparation]
    Brighton & Hove commemorative film plaques

Cinemas in Brighton An introduction
    Checklist of Brighton cinemas by date of opening and closing
    Brighton Cinema Directory with links to pages on individual cinemas
    Cinemas in Sussex The wider context

Films made in the Brighton & Hove area
    Silent films complete listing
        Silent films made in Shoreham
        Films to view on this site
    Sound films title listings, alphabetical and by year
        Sound films to 1999 complete listing
        Sound films from 2000 complete listing
    Short films and others
    Films set in but not shot in Brighton

Resources and reference listing

This is a continuing project, so any comments would be welcome.

Page updated 1 March 2018
© David Fisher