The Duke of York’s Picture House is an art house cinema in Brighton, England, which lays claim to being the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. According to cinema historian Allen Eyles, the cinema “deserves to be named Britain’s oldest cinema”. In 2012 it was voted best Cinema in the UK.
The Duke of York’s was always a quality cinema for the more discerning patron, its marketing tag-line for many years was “Bring her to the Duke’s, it is fit for a Duchess.” The name came from the West End theatre which its first proprietor Mrs Melnotte-Wyatt was also associated with. Being slightly outside the town centre, the Duke’s catered for its local audience and this has been its saving grace. While other cinemas in Brighton came and went, The Duke of York’s has remained in continuous operation.
The cinema has operated as an arts cinema since 1981 and has passed through several owners and hosted illegal punk rock concerts. The cinema was in a shabby state when it was purchased in 1994 by Picturehouse Cinemas who have invested in the building and returned it to its former glory.
The cinema regularly hosts events such as fancy-dress film premieres, all night Lord of the Rings marathons and late night cult screenings.