My favourite local pub

Drinking in the 1950s/60s

By John Winch

 

Drinking in the front room?

When I lived in Brighton in the 1950s through the 1960s, I think I must have been in most of the pubs in Brighton at some time or other, even the ones with bad or dubious reputations then, like the Basketmakers, Eagle, Half Brick, the Great Eastern and a few others in Kemp Town. Saying this though, in those days the pubs then seemed like the front rooms of the local residents who made them their own.

Local pub traditions?

I once lived in Islingwood Street. There were six pubs in the short length of this road, one on every corner, and two in the middle. Our house was in the middle of the two in the middle of the street. One evening I went in to one of them for a couple of quart bottles of Brown Ale; do you remember them? I was asked which number my house was, and then told I was in the wrong pub. Apparently the three or four houses the other side, including mine, only went into the 'other' pub. Friendly or what? Or was this the pub tradition then?

No ladies in certain bars

There was also another pub in North Road, opposite the Heart and Hand, with beautiful cut-glass windows dividing the different bars. The ladies weren't allowed in two of the bars at all, and on a Sunday morning they had a blind Rock and Roll pianist playing Jerry Lee Lewis songs. Does anybody remember the Running Horse in Black Lion Street, the Eagle in Gloucester Road, or any of the cider bars? One of these had wooden floors with fresh sawdust spread over it every day.

A flying drummer

What about Doctor Brighton which also had a blind pianist playing for years, or the Fortune of War, and the Belvedere? There was also one pub whose name I have forgotten which was between Pool Valley and The Ship. It had a bay window sticking out over the pavement with a resident drum kit in it for whoever played there. I remember walking past one night to go in there and the drum kit, complete with drummer, came flying out onto the street. We decided to go somewhere else that night. Happy days!

What were your favourite pubs in the 1950s and 1960s? Did you frequent some of those mentioned above? Please share your memories with us by posting a comment below.

Photo:The Basketmaker's Arms: photograped in 2013

The Basketmaker's Arms: photograped in 2013

Photo by Tony Mould


This page was added on 17/06/2013.
Comments about this page

The pub you cannot name was Harrisons Bar, underneath was Bill's Dive.

By Joan Cumbers (17/06/2013)

My favorite pub was the Star Of Brunswick in Brunswick St West. It's still there but private accommodation now.

By Dennis Fielder (19/06/2013)

I can't go back as far as the 60's as I was too young (I wasn't 18 until 1973) but I had a few faves in the 70's. When I was 16 and just about to leave school a friend and I used to frequent the Elephant & Castle in London Road. You could be sure of being served in there even if you were under age. I then progressed to Sherry's and The Revolution as I was at that age where girls and music were more important. After marriage though we used to have our 'locals' that we visited on a Friday with my parents. As we lived in Queens Road (1976/77) we started with The Brighton Tavern in Gloucester Road moving on to The Lord Nelson in Trafalgar Street. Then we moved to Ladysmith Road (1978/80) and went to The Martha Gunn and The Bugle. They were all great pubs in those days. In recent years we have tended to use The George Beard in Gloucester Road before its revamp but our favourite has to be The Greys in Southover Street. We used that pub from 1997 up until 2012 when it changed hands. The music they put on there was fabulous, not to mention the food and the best pint of Harveys in Sussex! Sad day when Chris & Gill gave up the pub last year. Not many decent pubs left, The Basketmakers, The Park Crescent, The Evening Star and The Colonnade Bar are, in our opinion, the best to visit in Brighton.

By Paul Clarkson (19/06/2013)

Re pubs: if you go on Topics, and click on 1950s, then on Pubs and Cider bars, I have written a few lines about the pubs in Brighton. http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__8032.aspx

By Harry Atkins (19/06/2013)

Bit of a stab in the dark but here goes. Back in the very early sixties I lived at Lennox Street, I'm sure there was a pub opposite our house but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was called. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.

By Tina (14/10/2013)

Could it have been The Devonshire - that was on the corner of Marine View? 

By Jax Atkins (04/01/2015)

The pub called the Devonshire and was  at the top of Carlton Hill. My husband's dad used this pub in the 1940s  Also there is a pub called the Mitre in baker street which has been there since the 1940s or before - it is a nice and friendly pub.      

By Kathleen Catt nee Cornford (05/01/2015)

The Heart and Hand: I understand that the landlord allowed gay people to use the back room as it was still illegal. Does anyone know if this was so during the 1960s? (Margaret, apologies but due to data protection we cannot publish requests for information about someone. I hope you can trace your family member)

By Margaret Forward (29/03/2017)

I believe my auntie and her husband ran the Basketmakers in the 50s. I worked opposite at the wholesale newsagents Surridge Dawson.

By Jennifer Capper (04/07/2017)

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