Name chosen for new Bexhill Wetherspoons

6/1/15- Site of the new Wetherspoons in Western Road, Bexhill. SUS-150601-125144001
6/1/15- Site of the new Wetherspoons in Western Road, Bexhill. SUS-150601-125144001

A name has been picked for the new Bexhill Wetherspoons.

The pub, which is to take over 36 and 38 Western Road, will be called The Picture Playhouse after the cinema which was opened by the Duchess of Norfolk on the site in 1921.

In 1974, the stalls were turned into a bingo club and the circle into the Curzon Picture House.

Its final lease of life was between 2005 and 2008 as the Redstack Playhouse theatre/cinema.

Since then, the premises have remained empty before being bought up by the pub chain.

The Picture Playhouse was one of a number of potential names on the table, drawing from Bexhill’s rich history for inspiration.

Number 36 Western Road is part of a group of 1930s properties which are on the site of the Cinema de Luxe.

The cinema opened in 1913 and was advertised as ‘The Cinema of the District’ before it closed in 1921 with the Picture Playhouse being built on an adjoining vacant plot.

The manager, George Tichborne, had managed the old cinema since 1914.

The owners described Tichborne as ‘one of the most popular public men in the town’.

The new owners also announced that the Cinema de Luxe would continue to show films on special occasions and was to be known as the Vaudeville Playhouse.

During the 1930s, it became the group of buildings, ‘with Art Deco features’, that can be seen today.

The properties will be known to older Bexhillians as the long-time print works and offices of the Bexhill Observer which gave rise to another suggested name - The Printing Press.

The King Offa was another name considered then rejected by Wetherspoons while John Webb, who developed much of the town centre between the 1880s and early 1920s inspired the name The Builder of Bexhill, a phrase used in a newspaper caption to his obituary.

In 1902, Bexhill became an Incorporated Borough. To celebrate its new-found status and to promote it as a resort, the 8th Earl De La Warr organised the first ever motorcar races to be held on British soil.

Thousands flocked to Bexhill seafront to see Leon Serpollet reach the top speed of 54mph in his steam-driven car Easter Egg.

The ‘40 Guinea House of Commons Challenge Cup’ for ‘the car with the best appearance’ was won by the 16hp Napier owned by Selwyn Edge.

This inspired the possible name The Challenge Cup.

The 9th Earl De La Warr was responsible for the construction of Bexhill’s best-known building which bears his name.

The 9th Earl, who was also the town’s mayor, held a competition to design an ‘entertainment centre’ to attract visitors to the town. Built on the seafront, in the mid-1930s, the De La Warr Pavilion is a triumph of ‘modernist’ architecture. It was also a triumph for the 9th Earl, one of the three earls who transformed a hill-top village into a seaside resort.

This part of Bexhill’s history inspired the possible name The Three Earls.

An opening date for The Picture Playhouse has yet to be set.

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