ADUR District Council’s decision to preserve the landmark Luxor building in Lancing has been met with praise from an illustrious cinematographer.

Sir Sydney Samuelson’s career in the film industry began in the 1940s art deco building in South Street.

Since then, both he and the building have embarked on different paths.

Sir Sydney ventured into Hollywood and became a Bafta grandee while the Luxor has fallen into disrepair.

But plans to renovate the Luxor are now afoot.

When he heard about the renovation he contacted the local authority to say: “It is quite touching to find that the front facade of the old Luxor will be retained.”

Back in the day, the Luxor building was a thriving picture house with cinema-goers queuing round the block to catch the latest releases.

The Art Deco facade and the Luxor name was once a much-loved landmark for the village but over recent years the building has been neglected and fallen into disrepair.

Development plans are now underway to restore this 1930s treasure and plans were given permission by Adur’s planning committee in October.

Even though the building is not formally listed, the development was approved on the condition that the building’s facade and Luxor name be maintained.

The Luxor building has great sentimental value for Sir Sydney because he started his first job there even before it opened its doors as a cinema.

He said: “I was employed to clean up after the builders together with my mop, scrubbing brush and pail.”

In 1940, cinema staff didn’t go to film school but started the old fashioned way.

“You just had to start at the bottom claw your way up and hope for a bit of luck,” he said.

Being an ambitious lad he didn’t stay as a cleaner for long and at just 14 years old he became a trainee ‘rewind boy’.

He explained: “There is nothing lower in the projection box than that.”

The job involved rewinding 35mm reels of film from one spool to the other with a handle.

Training was tough and during his first few weeks, he wasn’t even allowed to rewind the film and most of his time was spent keeping out of the way of “his brutal employer,” the Chief Projectionist (who had been pirated from the Plaza, Worthing).

Sir Sydney survived the strict training and went on to become a newsreel cameraman.

In 1953 he was one of an elite team given the honour of filming the Queen’s Coronation.

He helped produce blockbuster films such as Oliver!.