Penguin Cinema Hastings 4th September 1974

Chris Baker… Where was that? (and don’t say opposite the Car Park!)

Keith Blizard… Well it was Chris…lol

Alan Esdaile… The Snooker Club, Priory Street, Chris.

Tony Court-holmes… and the small one next door

Wendy Weaver… The one next door we called ‘Alf’s. Oh how i miss the Penguin, it used to be my second home (or maybe my first)

Josie Lawson… Dad did some casual work at the Penguin when it was a bingo hall…he went there after he retired from work in 1964

Penguin Cinema – bank holiday films May 1975

Jim Breeds… Good grief, I think I went with some mates to see both of those in one sitting! But I’ll not be admitting that in public!

Patrick Lewis… 1970’s ‘Ladism’ at its height as purveyed by the British cinema industry.

Josie Lawson… Was that Penguin bingo hall once ? My dad retired from the Observer 1964 then did some bingo work in the Penguin.I lived in Hove then. I then in Hove did some casual bingo work over there in Ladbrokes bingo hall, actually went into doing some bingo calling during the breaks….

Jane Hartley… My mum used to go to bingo there too.

Matt Thomas… Confessions of a Window Cleaner was the first rented video I saw on old betamax recorder hired from the Rediffusion shop in Queens Rd

Alan Esdaile… I do remember Jill Gascoine in Confessions of a Pop Performer.

Martin Richter… cert X – “for all the family” ???

Dennis Torrance… How many I wonder look 👀 over their shoulders before entry to this cinema showing lol

Martin Richter… the Orion was similar – x-rated or kung-fu

Michael Wilson… Went to see a James Bond Double Bill at the Penguin.


This film has been passed X certificate and Penguin Cinema

supplied by Nick Prince Cultural History Of London & South East

Nick Prince… Who remembers this at the cinema? Horror or porn was the norm for the old X certificate. Most reasonable size places had a cinema showing this type of film… Hastings had the Orion, Penguin, La Dolce Vita and Eros Cinema Club. Brighton had the Vogue and Continental…. and so on…

Jim Breeds… I think The Exorcist was X when first shown in Hastings?

Nick Prince… Indeed it was Jim. When we screened it to full houses at Bexhill as late shows as late as 1991, the film still had the old X certificate on it.

Jim Breeds… I saw it at the Gaiety (if that what it was called at the time, or was it Classic!?). I assumed it was tenth in a series. I have yet to see parts I to IX.

Nick Prince… Gaiety was taken over by Classic in 1966 and named Classic from 1967 Jim.

Alan Esdaile… The Exorcist, I remember seeing it in the cinema in Priory Street and people being sick.

Dennis Torrance… The penguin I think it was called the cinema in priory street .

Nick Prince… It started using the name Penguin when it opened in August 1974 Dennis. Cinema upstairs, Bingo downstairs. Adjacent to the Pelican Billiard Hall. Prior to being the Penguin it was the Casino Bingo Hall.

Jim Breeds… I have no recollection of that place! How odd. I went to play snooker at the Temperance Hall regularly – is that the same as the Pelican Billiard Hall you mention Nick?

Nick Prince… It had little entrance at the side of the Priory Street end of Provincial Passage. It was definitely called the Pelican during the cinemas time Jim. I believe are talking of the same place. I have a pic somewhere of it. lord knows where. Personal recollection on the name Jim btw.

Chris Meachen…I can also add a little information, in that the cellar of the penguin bingo was the meeting place of the local ‘venture scouts’ group, who I would occasionally spend time with when mum was at bingo. This bit was later turned into Rennie’s nightclub..

Ian Quinnell… Seem to remember I had to go to Brighton to see Clockwok Orange (merited its X cert). Was it ever shown in Hastings?

Nick Prince…  No. The Watch Committee banned it. it wasnt shown in Hastings until it got re-released. It was around the time that the Queens Road Cinema was changing its name from ABC to ODEON. It was shown in Bexhill where the film was never banned.

Alan McCann… I was managing the Classic when ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ was released with a AA certificate. After the fiasco over ‘Clockwork Orange’ the last thing that Hastings Council wanted was to review ‘Brian’. However, there was so much who ha about it that they asked for a private showing, (with NO press). Afterwards, at a council meeting, it was agreed that it could be shown with an AA Cert. I had been asked if they could change the rating to 18, but the Film Distributors had already told me that this was not going to happen, and that an 18 request would be the equivalent to a ban, so it was passed. The general consensus was that it was a bit rude – but not blasphemous. The Hastings News was quite supportive at the time – also a group called “The Cinema Users Association” -though I don’t recall them ever being cinema users! Fun times.

Lawrence Ralph… I remember at a very young age noticing the poster artwork for Flesh Gordon showing at the Penguin cinema – on a visit to Hastings , my dad didn’t think i should see it though.