6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Sussex Life today CLICK HERE

The New and Improved Uckfield Picture House

PUBLISHED: 15:23 29 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:27 20 February 2013

The New and Improved Uckfield Picture House

The New and Improved Uckfield Picture House

Uckfield has many beautiful and historical buildings. One of the "newer" <br/><br/>ones well worth a visit is the town's Picture House cinema on the High Street. Kate Eastman went along to meet some of the people who make it so special...

Uckfield is a small thriving town in East Sussex lying on the A22 Lewes to London main road. It has good rail, road and bus services.
The name Uckfield is derived from the river Uck that flows through the village. It has been in existence since the 12th Century and was famous for its wool and agriculture. With a pretty river that flows through the village, and 15th Century Bridge Cottage now a museum. It sits on the southern boundary of the High Weald with Medieval buildings.
Satnav: TN22 1HS (rail station)


The Picture House Cinema:
The beautiful Picture House cinema has been showing films since it opened in August 1920. It has been owned and run by the same family since 1964.
Today the cinema is run by Kevin Markwick who prides himself on ensuring that that the cinema is kept up to date with all the latest developments in picture quality and sound reproduction.
The cinema has had several developments over the years to convert the building from just one screen to three.
Now they have about 2,200 paying customers a week across their three screens. Screen 1 holds 135 people, Screen 2 has 80 and Screen 3, 100. It has had Dolby 5.1 digital sound in all three screens for many years and now with the advent of Digital picture and 3D, the next move will be to continue the improvements and install 3D capability in the remaining two screens. The Picture house has had digital 3D already for almost a year and a half in Screen 1.


Gavin Blake-Coggins, manager and projectionist:
Gavins role as manager is to be responsible for front of house duties, the staff, stock and the public areas as well as seeing that the three projection rooms are run smoothly.
I came to the Picture House 15 years ago following my retirement from the medical profession.
My interest in cinema began from the age of around 13 when l used to spend much of my free time at the ABC Cinema in Eastbourne as my best friends uncle was the chief projectionist there, explains Gavin.
My interest grew as l got a little older so once l had left school l began my career with Classic Cinemas Ltd at the Curzon in Eastbourne, firstly as a trainee projectionist and latterly trained as a Manager.
With the digital age now upon us, it is possible to be part of a network, which allows live theatre to be shown direct from the National Theatre in London.
Its great to be able to show live theatre shows from London, its an exciting new development for the cinema, says Gavin. Hopefully this process will grow. It is hoped that very soon Opera and Ballet will also join our presentation list. Plus we have licensed facilities available also so our customers can enjoy a drink whilst watching their chosen film or show.
A very rewarding factor of my job is of course seeing that our customers are happy when they visit us and hopefully have such a good time that they return week after week.



Kevin Markwick, owner:
Kevin Markwick, has been working at the Picture House for 30 years and is now the owner of the cinema. He was born into the business. His job involves, everything, far too much to answer, from film booking onwards.
Of course I get bored of seeing the same films several times. I dont have a favourite film, there are far too many to list. The best thing about my job is seeing people enjoy films.


Tom Adams, main projectionist, duty manager plus cashier and usher
when required I have been working here for five years. I first started as an usher and cashier as a second job but, when a position as a projectionist became available, I showed an interest which led to me starting to be trained from scratch. Gavin and Kevin both trained me up and within about a year or so I was running the place on my shift. Other learning opportunities came when we have engineers in, Im eager to hear what they are doing and how they are doing it.
My job entails putting the films together because when they arrive they are in five to eight parts depending on the length of the film. These have to be joined together so that the film is then complete on one spool and ready to show. Plus when digital films come in I have to upload the drive on to the projector, create a playlist to include the adverts, a few trailers and of course the film. This involves a lot of copy and pasting of the relevant codes, which get sent to us so we know which adverts to show and in which order.
One of the key roles as a projectionist is to work quickly under pressure. If the film suddenly stops you have to be able to deal with the situation quickly, The key is not to panic.
You have to stay calm, assess the situation and then get the feature back on as quickly as possible. Several reasons why the film can stop could be because there is a jam in the projector or a problem with the projector itself or if the film decides to snap which is very rare.
I could watch James Bond films over and over but my favourite film is Snatch, directed by Guy Ritchie. There are other films that are classics that I could never get bored of Classic Disney films, The Grinch and even a few chick flicks!
I would say the best thing about my job is seeing customers enjoy their cinema experience at our independent cinema. Its lovely to hear comments from customers about how cute or quaint The Picture House is and how they love going there over the multiplex cinemas.


So why not come on down to the Uckfield Picture House for a great cinematic experience.


Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Sussex Life