Curzon in Eastbourne: one last goodbye as cinema prepares to close

An Eastbourne cinema which has been in town for 100 years is closing today (January 16).

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 12:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th January 2020, 12:51 pm
Steve Milson, Neil James, Linda Woolston, and Stephen Tester SUS-200116-121138001

The Curzon in Langney Road plans to show its last films at 5pm – Cats and Last Christmas – before bowing out forever.

Brother and sister Linda Woolston and Stephen Tester visited the cinema on its last day to take down the plaque to their father, Charles tester, known as ‘Mr Cinema’.

Charles was the manager from 1946-1978 and even returned to work there after he retired.

Dan Jessup SUS-200116-123654001

Stephen, 74, said, “It’s sad for the theatre and the town. Big bits of town are closing down. It was my dad’s whole life.

“Roy Galloway has kept this going. Without his input it would have closed 10 or 15 years ago.”

Stephen recalled the enormous queues down the street for the Bond film Live and Let Die, and when his dad arranged a spitfire to be on the roof for one war film.

Linda Woolston and Stephen Tester SUS-200116-121150001

Linda, 77, said, “When we were growing up it was a totally different cinema to what you come across now, very personalised. The staff were like a big family.

“At Christmas this plas was decorated beautifully, it was like fairy land. It was so Christmassy.

“Dad always used to change in the evening into his evening suit with a bow tie.

“There were door men. It was a community. People used to come here week after week.”

Dan Jessup SUS-200116-123643001

Roy Galloway, who has owned the cinema since 1987, spoke to the Herald previously about the Curzon’s fate.

He said, “It’s a great shame. Eastbourne is losing all its old buildings. It’s getting quite dreadful how many places have closed.”

Manager Salam Niwa said, “We want to thank everyone for supporting us over the years. It’s very sad.

“We have been struggling, we have had no people coming in on an evening, it’s been really hard to survive.”

The manager, who has worked there for 20 years, said he believes they lost a lot of regulars when the new Cineworld opened in The Beacon.

The closure means eight members of staff will be left without jobs.

This includes Stephen Milsom, who has worked there for more than a decade.

He said, “It hasn’t sunk in yet. We have done our best. We’ve run out of reasons we could think of as to why it’s so quiet.

“We are no longer part of the town centre. We have lost KFC, the jewellers, TJ Hughes, and soon Debenhams. We have become the outskirts.”

The Curzon’s 100th birthday was due to be December 2020.

It is currently on the market for £2.2 million.