Shaft Film – Orion Cinema – 22nd October 1972



Shaft Film – Orion Cinema October 1972. Came out in 1971 so may have been shown at the Gaiety Cinema first. I expect Nick Prince might know? Great Soundtrack.

Matt Thomas… Shaft or Chef???

Nick Prince… Had a week in both Classic 1 and 2 during July 1971 and a week at Curzon, St Leonards in September 1971. If the Orion ran a first run film in Hastings it was made very clear in their advertising in between the date/number of days of run and actors/ film title…

Alan Pepper… Who’s that black private dick who’s a sex machine to all the chicks ? SHAFT !! Can you dig it ? I’ve still got the album on the great Stax Label . Great stuff !

Martin Richter… got the album

Tony Court-holmes… I saw it, soundtrack Issac Hayes and Superfly soundtrack Curtis Mayfield. The 2nd track on the lp freddys dead is worth a listen, Nick.

Bodega Bar & Orion Cinema Hastings photo 2.

Roger Simmonds… Wow happy memories !

John Wilde… Wednesdays Hammer Horror films were the best at the Orion.

Alan Esdaile… think I remember seeing the horror films on a Sunday afternoon?

John Wilde… pretty sure it was Wednesdays because we were students at the Brassey Institute and we would skip the afternoon class to go.

Dennis Torrance.. My mum worked in the Orion as a cleaner the cinema free pass was brilliant lol

Allan Mitchell… My Lovely Nan Used To Take Me There To Watch Movies When I Was Very Young Great Memories.

Phil Gill…Those road menders are still there

Susan Butchers… Phil, brilliant!

Dave Nattress… Beat me to the comment Phil!!

Linda Turnbull… Remember them well

Margaret Trowell… My Dad worked in the Bodega bars in the 60s when he was in his 70s as a little retirement job

Jane Owen Schaumlöffel… And I remember a few buildings along to the left there was a children’s clothes shop “Only Six Steps Down To Be The Smartest Child In Town”!

Tracy Birrell… I frequented both places in the 70’s. Happy days.

Wendy Pittman… I’m sure that’s my Aunt Dorothy crossing the road, on her way to work in Jepsons, Robertson Street perhaps.

Merv Evans… School holidays meant continuous comedies like Laurel & Hardy and cartoons at the Orion Cinema. My brother used to sit through two screenings !


Bodega Bar & Orion Cinema Hastings

supplied by Leigh Kennedy

Nadia Compagnone… Can anybody date this? Thanks.

Alan Esdaile… I would think early 60s?

Graham Sherrington… 1860’s it’s OLD

Leigh Kennedy… Nadia, late 1950s , possibly early 1960s. By the mid 60s it was renamed Fortes Wine Bar, and later the York Bar..

Mick O’Dowd… The traffic is still coming down Cambridge Road

Lloyd Johnson… This is how I remember it in the early 60s….

Dennis Torrance… My mum worked part time in the Orion 60s tried blowing up the film posters to find out roughly year but still quite blurred.

Margaret Trowell… My dad worked in the Bodega bars 1965/67 ish

Tracy Birrell… Oh yes…..

Jacquie Hinves… That’s brought back memories! We as a class travelled from St. Richards school to watch The Prime of Miss Jean Brody” What a flea pit. Happy days!


York & Crypt Bars, Orion Cinema and WHSmith Hastings photo by Anthony ‘Nan’ Morland

photo © Anthony ‘Nan’ Morland

Pauline Richards… Was it the rubber shop just out of sight?

Alan Esdaile… don’t know if it was the rubber shop but if you mean coming down the road next to WH Smith, at this time it was ‘Jax’.

Pauline Richards… Oh. I thought it was either rubber coat shop or criterion cafe. Was Jax a boutique

Alan Esdaile… woman’s clothes shop I think?

Oliver Leonard… is that in the 80s?

Matt Thomas… I would say about 77/78 with Star Wars showing at the cinema

Wendy Weaver… Look at that car! I had one of those

Jan Warren… Which one Wendy? the Citroen DS? – beautiful cars!!

Angela Frances Gardner… ‘The Flea Pit!’

Tracy Birrell… I remember this well in the ’70’s.

Dennis Torrance… My mum worked there Orion cinema in late sixties pass she had greatly used by me and my mates . Got beer by pub next door smuggling it in there and leaving bottles in there . Next morning my mum got home Bad temper about louts drinking in there and beer bottles. I had to turn my head away as first I started laughing got told off but she never knew it was me and my mates . Feel terrible about it now but thanks for the photo which triggered the memory

Nick Prince…

Star Wars showed at the Classic in Queens Road for six weeks in 1977 and didn’t screen at the Orion until 1978, when the Orion ran it on three different occasions, the last of which was an eight day run, which finished on August 31st, 1978, the day it closed. It should be noted that the Orion was still profitable but due to the barring system at the time, the Orion could only get one release in five first run in Hastings, with the Classic getting the other four. The 1/5 bar of new releases to the Orion was infact put in place when the Curzon in St Leonard’s shut in 1977. The Curzon itself having the 1/5 bat before. Prior to January 1977 and for as far back as I know, the Orion had no new releases and in a previous proprietor’s words…. “This is why we show sex!” No one asked for a lecture on the film barring system in Hastings in the late 70’s but you got one I could go back to the 60s and earlier. Lol

York & Crypt Bars, Orion Cinema, WH Smith 1978

Steven Graham… My dad was landlord at about this time

Peter Houghton… I used to go to watch films at the Orion cinema and go down to the crypt for a drink and I think they had things on the wall

Jacquie Hinves… I saw the “ prime of Miss Jean Brodie “ at the Orion in 1972! Great days.

Diane Knight… I remember when my parents had an old folks home , I was sent down to the Orion to pick one of the old boys up …I went up to the counter and said I was looking for an old man in a raincoat…”we get a lot of those in here “,was her reply 😂😂😂..happy days !!!

Julie Morris…  The Orion – otherwise known as The Fleapit!

Angela Frances Gardner… I went there as a teenager watched a film that totally confused me. It was an X rated film which I shouldn’t have been allowed in to.

Nick Prince… the Orion never worried too much about things like your age. I think the weekend cashier was only about fifteen on Weekend afternoons.

Gerry Fortsch… I remember seeing Chesty Morgan in the Flea Pit as well as Dr Who in a more adult role being w—-d off, great memories from my younger days.

Roger Simmonds… Wonderfull remember them well!

Liane Carroll… My Auntie Vera was an usher there and she used to giggle at the XXX films

Josie Lawson… my mum worked there and she used to say she had a friend there called Vera. My mum was a cashier after usherette. I knew Julie Bull who became my friend daughter of the manager Mr. Bull. Did you know them too? my mum knew a Vera when she worked there

Sue James… Used to go to the Crypt then

Jane Hartley… me too

Tony Court-holmes… Hastings used to have a lot of cinemas

Nick Prince… That photo was actually from October 1977. From when the whole block was sold at auction. For the record, the Orion was screening Emmanuel when the pic was taken. At the time of its closure, the Orion was still making a profit

Jonathan Mendenhall… wonderful memory ..a thriving un pretentious town. The Orion was the local “flea pit” showed dirty movies

Josie Lawson… that’s why I left my job there Jonathan but that was when it changed. When I started working there it was a nice ordinary picture house with ordinary films even films for children. Last time I had a chat with you was at the Kings Head pub that was in 2009…was at my ex’s funeral wake.You know my brother Robin, but also we discussed the non profit mag I founded and edited in the past.

Roy Marven formely Syrett… same here

Josie Lawson… maybe you know a friend of mine from the past..,Linda Syrett ?

Roy Marven formell Syrett… that would be my auntie – Lynda Craske – she is in facebook

Mick O’Dowd… AAh! The Flea Pit as the Orion was once known. One of the last films shown there was the original Star Wars and you sat ankle deep in discarded sweet wrappers, drinks cups etc!

Jan Warren… Used to go to the fleapit with my hubby, Pete (we lived just around the corner in Middle Street at the time) I remember seeing “Emmanuelle” (Sylvia Kristel) there, although that was mild compared with some of the films they showed?!!

Martin Richter… i don’t think any would be seen as that bad these days – i seem to remember it was “confessions of ….” type of stuff ?

Paul Coleman… Tony Court-Holmes mentioned Hastings used to have a lot of cinemas. Believe it or not, but Bexhill used to have I believe 5 of its own!

Nick Prince… If one includes the Kursaal and the virtually unused one under the balcony Bexhill has had seven cinemas but no more than four were open at any one time.

Lloyd Johnson… The Gaiety,The Orion,The Ritz,The Deluxe, The Curzon,The Regal are the cinemas I remember from my childhood in Hastings and St.Leonard’s.

Tony Court-holmes… Roxy in silverhill 3 in bexhill 1 battle and 1 in rye, i remember it like that

Lloyd Johnson… Tony, The Roxy that’s the one I forgot. I remember going there with Dave Trodd!..he said I know this great little cinema all the ton-up boys go to ,it’s just like the 50s.It was a great laugh,very rowdy at times!…

Pete Houghton… That’s a great picture


The Concert For Bangladesh – George Harrision 1971



On the 1st August 1971 George Harrison organised a concert in Madison Square Gardens New York for Bangladesh. We saw the film at the Orion in Dec 1973.

Mark Gilham… Amazing man

Paul Coleman… Seeing the Pearl & Dean ad really brought back some memories, especially when Edward Woodward appeared as a taxi driver in a -“fag” advert. Always remember him as the oddball detective in the series “Callan”, with his equally unsolubrious informer “Lonely” (Russell Hunter”.

Jimi Hendrix Film – The Orion Cinema Hastings 12th September 1974.



Nick Prince… Yes. Turkish Delight. Or have I missed something. Lol

Stuart Huggett… Hang on, “Coming Sex Shows”? British cinemas were in a right old state back then.

Alan Esdaile… I can’t believe how many sex films are on this poster. I have memories of seeing ‘b’ movie horror films at The Orion.

Peter Fairless… Turkish Delight was probably a disappointment to anyone who went to see it based on this advert. It’s a very successful, Oscar- nominated, Dutch film, starring Rutger Hauer.

Josie Lawson… For any who are interested. Years ago my mother worked at The Orion first as an usherette then cashier. My gran died on Boxing Day 1965, so I took on my mothers job as casual usherette then for two weeks to keep her job open. I was 16 years and at the time, my main job not long started was in the office at Plummer Roddis Ltd now known as Debenhams. In those days I had met Mr. Jones the owner and the manager Mr Bull. Mr Bull allowed my tea break on occasion a little longer as I became quite good friends with his daughter Julie. He sometimes let us pop to a local coffee bar which wasn’t far from the main Hastings Library. When mum came back I was allowed to stay on. Eventually I left as my children were growing. I moved to Burgess Hill in 1983. Both Julie and I met there also by chance, she had moved there also.So we quite often met up. Julie was also another writer. We found out this by chance in Burgess Hill. Eventually we said our goodbyes as I moved back to Hastings in 1987 the place… I was born. Mum and Dad lived here also. Julie had moved to Africa. My mum was still in touch with Mr. Bull although she had changed cinemas, a different name back then but now called The Odeon. She then went onto, I think it was called ‘Out Of This World’ as cashier along the seafront opposite Pelham car park. As we had coffee one day she told me Mr Bull had told her in sadness Julie had traumatically been killed in Africa. I was so sad, she was such a good friend. I still remember the time she came to see me when she was on holiday here, she gave me a copper bracelet with elephants on it. Sorry for the sadness but seeing this flyer brought back the happy and sad moments. I know Nick Prince knows a lot about the cinemas as he has written and had published all about them, and I have via inbox Facebook chatted with Nick about this. To think, when I could get around easier, I used to pop in The Street with friends and have a cuppa.The place where The Orion was. Downstairs where the door was on the cafe part of The Street, I heard it led into the same steps of The Orion which when the door opened, you found yourself in Havelock Road…and no doubt still do..

John Wilde… Jeezuz bloody hell mary! I was there. We were smokin in the cinema!

Josie Lawson… That would have been after I had left. One of the reasons I left was realising how it had changed with the clientele coming to watch. The films and they had changed too.

Alan Esdaile… The days when people smoked in the cinemas. Mind you it helped to disguise the other unsavoury smells of The Orion.

Brenda Marshall… Read what I placed just now Alan. The Orion was a good cinema until it changed

Josie Lawson… The smell only came Alan when they changed the films. It was a lovely cinema before then. I worked there. Even kiddies films…

Orion Cinema – Hastings 1970’s

Mike Mitchell… As youths we always enjoyed taking a look at the still photos displayed outside…

Jacquie Hinves… Remember it so well

Dennis Torrance… My mum worked there till late 60s till it closed she was a cleaner there . Had a cinema pass which me and my mates used bottle of beers hidden we drank in the back seats lol

Josie Lawson… My mum was usherette then became one who dealt with the money at entrance. I began casually over christmas 1965 to keep my mums job that is when she was an usherette. My Gran died on Boxing Day and she had to go over for 2 weeks.
I became friends with Julie Bull , her dad was the manager Mr Bull. Unfortunately they have all passed now.

Dennis Torrance… I was 15 when I started to use the Orion with my mates as I stated. I remember mr bull well he was ok we had a nickname for him count bull but regret that now . My mums name was ivy Torrance but surname changed to Lamb in 1970 when she remarried. Unfortunately I can’t remember you but lived in stonefield road but moved to Cheviots 1967 if that helps am retired now 65 happy memory’s of times there.  In summer cartoons for kids afternoon and shall I say risky ones evening not cartoons lol

Martyn Baker… Ah “the fleapit”.

Chris Meachen… I remember the ‘dirty mac brigade’ congregating there when they were showing some of the racier type of films. I remember going there to watch something a bit more mainstream, but can’t remember what it was..

Dizz Corinne Ryder.. I remember seeing Slade in Flame there and calling it the “fleapit”!

Ralph Town… I saw the 2 Dr.Who movies there as a afternoon matinee.I had a bath when I got home!

Clifford Rose…  I went there once to see the film ‘Tom Thumb’ there with my Mum and Nan.

Jacquie Hinves… I remember seeing “The Pride of Miss Jean Brody” there.

Ian Johnson… Yep remember that you could sneak in the exit and watch a movie