The site of The Melrose Restaurant has an intergral role to play in the history and culture of Brighton and Hove and fascinatingly, the emergence of the film industry as we know it today. Not only has this family-owned restaurant been serving some of the finest seafood for over 40 years, but the site was once The Pandora Gallery – the first “Kinema”, as they were once known, to show films outside of London.
It all began on 25th March 1896 when Brighton became the first town outside of London to host a public film exhibition in Britain, A series of short films by the Parisian brothers August and Louis Lumiere marked the birth of cinema in Brighton. Several Brighton film-makers, such as William Friese-Greene, R.W. Paul, Esme Collings and Alfred Darling, were pioneers in their field and invented techniques that would change the art of cinema forever.
So on 1st July 1896 The Pandora Gallery was renamed the Victoria Hall and began to show regular screenings to the paying public. Thus began a long and illustrious history of film- making in Brighton.
The British Film Institute (BFI) recognised this landmark in history by awarding The Melrose Restaurant a BFI Plaque commemorating the fact that film was first shown to the paying public on this site in 1896.