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1932 - Haywards Heath's 'Artistically striking' Second Cinema opens

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

THE MID SUSSEX TIMES Tuesday September 6th 1932



Picture-goers who have watched with interest the new cinema, known as "The Broadway" taking shape in Perrymount Road, Haywards Heath, will be pleased to hear that it is to open its doors next Monday.

Haywards Heath is indeed fortunate to own such a splendid cinema as this. Many towns double the size can boast of nothing like it. Not only has Mr. J. Van Koert built it regardless of expense, but he has aimed at making it a striking building from an artistic point of view. And he has succeeded right well.

Very handsome is the semi-circular facade, finished in rough Snowcrete. It is a modern adaptation of the Adams style of architecture, and the somewhat severe lines are relieved by solid teak doors and windows inset with bevelled glass. Overhead, the name “The Broadway” chromium plated, is prominently displayed.

The vestibule —an exceptionally spacious one for a cinema of this size - is reached by descending a flight of stairs. When the gardens on each side have been cultivated, the entrance will present


At night it will be flood-lighted. In the centre of the vestibule, in which special floor, designed for cleanliness as well as effect, has been laid, is the pay box, and on each side is an imposing staircase leading to the balcony. There is also a cigarette and chocolate kiosk.

Seating accommodation has been provided for over 800 persons.

The interior decorations have been carried out in a telling colour scheme of brown, gold and green. The seats, tastefully upholstered and sprung, are in a special green hue. which tones admirably with the brown and gold of the carpet.

The lighting system is arranged that there is soft diffused glow which prevents eye-strain, and the antique vellum shade's blend effectually with the general scheme. So skilfully has the seating been raked that it is possible to obtain an uninterrupted view of the screen from any part of the house. Seats have been sacrificed in the interests of


so that there is ample leg room. The gangways are devised to obviate any possibility of crushing and confusion. Adequate exits have been provided, and the doors consist of two panels with an air space between, thus ensuring complete silence when they are closed.

A feature of the woodwork is that the whole of it is carried out in the finest quality teak, and the effect is highly pleasing.

The balcony holds roughly 230, and it is so constructed that it does not interfere with the air space on the ground floor. In fact, people sitting underneath would hardly realise that there was a balcony.

Very beautiful is the proscenium, with its concealed lighting. Twenty - seven different blends of colour can be obtained.

The stage is, roughly, 24 feet deep, so that vaudeville ‘turns’ can be presented at any time if desired.

The screen can be moved forward or backward at will. Projection is from the rear, which is advantageous in many ways


For instance, the operating box is right outside the main building. makes the outlines more crisp, the rays do not have to penetrate through the smoky atmosphere of the hall. the operating box is the most up-to-date equipment. There is a British Thompson-Houston sound unit of the latest type, and projectors with rear shutters which lessen the chance of the film catching fire.

The whole cinema is centrally heated, a large capacity “Ideal” boiler being used for this purpose.

A special effort has been made to overcome the ventilation problem. In the winter fresh air is drawn in through pre-heated shafts, the used air being at once expelled and draughts being obviated. The same system serves to keep the building cool in the summer, pure, cool air is then drawn in. Altogether there are five fans and air ducts, and these are so arranged that any one part of the hail or vestibule can be cleared of any bad air without the rest of the building being disturbed.

A Ruston and Hornsby crude oil engine has been installed for the purpose of generating the electricity required, and there is also a stand-by set which can be brought into operation should the main engine break down.

It can thus be seen that provision has been made for every eventuality.

A convenience which will be greatly appreciated is the provision of


It is hoped that this will be ready for the opening.

Mr. Van Koert is justly proud of the fact that the whole building is all-British. The builders were Messrs. Hackman Ltd., of Brighton and Hove, and as much local labour as possible has been employed. Only the best has been good enough for Mr. Van Koert in erecting this cinema, and the result is an entertainment rendezvous which should attract not only the local public but also people from the outlying districts.

The prices of admission are within the reach of all. On the ground floor the seats are 9d. and 1s., while in the balcony they are 1s. 6d. and 2s. 4d.

The opening show will headed by “Good-night, Vienna,”(1) Jack Buchanan’s joyous production, which will have a run of three days. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday the principal attraction will be “A Night Like This," one of the funniest of the Tom Walls—Ralph Lynn comedies.

Mr. Van Koert informs us that he intends keeping the Heath Cinema open, so that local picture-goers will be able to make their choice of two programmes during each half of the week. The prices of admission here are to be reduced. Mr. F. Cooper is to become Manager of the Broadway. He has a nice address and an obliging manner, and we wish him, as we do Mr. Van Koert, “all the best."

Charles Tucker writes: This is our second cinema The Broadway Cinema in Perrymount Road. Mid Sussex Cinemas was formed, and on 12th September 1932 the larger and more up to date cinema known as the Broadway Cinema opened with Jack Buchanan in “Goodnight Vienna” and Laurel & Hardy in “Come Clean”. The first show commenced with a selection played by theHaywards Heath Town Band.

Seating was provided for 494 in the stalls and 231 in the circle. It had a rear projection system, with the projection box located at the back of the 24 foot deep stage. It had an unusual sloping site, backing onto the Victorian railway cutting. There were steps that descended down from the road into the foyer.

The Broadway Cinema was closed on 31st January 1948 with Tyrone Power in “The Black Swan, the reason for closure being blamed on the governments' Entertainment Tax. It was reopened on 25th October 1948 with "The Naked City” and “Son of Rusty”. The Broadway Cinema was finally closed on 25th January 1952 with John Wayne in “Flying Leathernecks” and “Hard, Fast and Beautiful”.

The building remained disused until 1960 when it was taken over by J W Upton and Sons Furnishers as a furniture showroom. The building was demolished in 1987 and Upton House currently stand on the site.

Thanks to Charles Tucker for the details and the photograph

(1) For details on the film 'Good night Vienna' click on

You can hear the Good night Vienna theme tune here....


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