Happy 100th Birthday to The Picture House Uckfield 15th December 2016
On the 7th May 1915, plans were approved for the building of The Picture House as owned by a Mrs Measures. However, due to the fact the magistrate owned Foresters Hall, the existing cinema in Uckfield The Picture House had numerous refusals for a cinematograph licence.
The Picture House officially opened as a Garrison Theatre on 15th December 1916 and didn’t require any licence as it was being privately used by local troops. Most garrison theatres put on cine-variety programmes and would have showing films to the troops as well as variety entertainment.
In August 1920 The Picture House, then owned by Mr Proctor who also owned Foresters Hall, finally got a cinematograph license and opened to the public with The Eternal City on Monday, 16 August. The Picture House has remained a fulltime cinema ever since.
Proctor sold his lease to William Harper around 1923. The final silent movie was a free Mother and Baby presentation on behalf of Nestlé in July 1931 and the first talkie was Atlantic, which opened on Monday, 27th July, 1931. This film was originally made as Titanic and followed the story of the Titanic throughout with the exception that the sinking scene was cut and the boat in the film renamed Atlantic. The changes occurred because of a potential law suit and so not to cause offense to survivors of the Titanic.
Mr PV Reynolds took over in 1936 and he saw the installation of CinemaScope. Mr Reynolds died in Mid November 1963.
They say that everyone can remember where they were when they heard the news of Kennedy’s assassination. In the case of Roy Markwick, he was viewing the Picture House with the view of taking over its lease.
Roy Markwick officially took over on 17 February, 1964, and the Picture House has remained in the Markwick family ever since. Later that year it opened on a Sunday for the first time.
In January 1979, the single screen closed for twinning after a screening of Death Wish. The new screen Two opened for business on 19 March, 1979 with Every Which Way But Loose.
Sadly Roy Markwick died in 1994 on his 65th birthday and his son Kevin who had literally grown up in the cinema took over. He built a third screen which opened on 11 February, 2000, with The Beach.
2010 fully digital in all screens and shows the first Arts on Screen content was included in the cinemas schedule including, opera, ballet and theatre from around the globe.
In 2014 The Picture House saw a total refurbishment throughout and also saw the opening of the Picture House Restaurant opposite the cinema.
The success of the cinema has been moving with the times. Introducing two then three screens, going digital and introducing our Arts on Screen content in 2010 has been essential to the business. It now accounts for 26% of our content compared to 3% nationally. We have introduced a Picture House Membership Scheme which enables us to gives our loyal customers a better service and they are rewarded with free tickets plus discounts at both the cinema and restaurant. Also introducing special screenings such as kids Saturday Morning Movies and Baby Friendly screenings. Our refurbishment has brought us into the 21st century in terms of what customers expect and this goes further than just the environment but includes the selection of kiosk drinks and treats. Then acquiring the restaurant has given a whole new dimension to the business being able to provide a complete night out and special film based events.
2015 – Awarded ‘Best Independent Cinema in Europe’ by the Event Cinema Association
2016 – ‘Highly Commended’ at The Screen Awards 2016
2016 – Awarded ‘Restaurant, Hospitality and Leisure Award’ at The Uckfield Business Awards 2016
Here’s to the next 100 years.