The 1960s

Modettes in West Street

By Peter Groves

Trying to look cool?

The photograph here, circa 1966, appeared on an invitation to a birthday celebration my wife and I received. I was drawn to iconic look and assumed it was a professional photo copied from a magazine or book. "Oh no, my wife said, that’s Isabella who I work with, third from the left, it’s her birthday". The photo captures the look of that time and could easily have come from a Quadrophenia promotional advertisement.  I thought the girl second from the left had ‘attitude’; on closer examination I came to the conclusion they are all trying to look so cool.

‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’

At the celebration some weeks later I discovered more about the photograph. The girls had all just left school and were aged about fifteen to sixteen years old. One of their favourite haunts was The Barn in West Street, which hosted live music.  Of the many bands they saw at The Barn was the newly formed influential London mod group The Small Faces. One of their hits was ‘Whatcha Gonna Do About It’ which would seem to illustrate the girls attitude.  

The Barn in West Street

The Barn was near the bottom of West Street, on the left going down. Access was via a narrow alley way and steep staircase, which then opened out onto a big venue.  On the right of the photograph, the B of the word Barn can be seen, and on the left there is advertising for one of Brighton’s early take-a-ways.

Do you remember?

Were you a Mod? Did you ever go to The Barn in West Street? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.

Photo:Modettes, with Attitude, L to R, Janet ?, Pam Kirby, Isabella (Sue) Hudson, Sheila Webster

Modettes, with Attitude, L to R, Janet ?, Pam Kirby, Isabella (Sue) Hudson, Sheila Webster

From the Private Collection of Isabella (Sue) Hudson

This page was added on 29/10/2013.
Comments about this page

I think those Modettes went to my old school - the Neville -they were a year above me I think.

By Patricia Maggs (09/03/2014)

Hi. The Barn was the first club I ever set foot in, I had just left school at 15, probably wasn't supposed to be there! I'm sure it was also called the 101 club. One of the girls - Sheila Webster - I worked with at Miss Selfridge. She was a window dresser. What a small world. Love this site, so many good memories.

By Rosemary Appleton (08/04/2014)

Wow!!! Is that really Sheila from Miss Selfridge days? I would not have recognised her if Rosemary had not pointed it out. I too worked at Miss Selfridge and remember Kaye, Heather, and you Rosemary, amongst many others from the '70s.
As for looking cool in the photo.....I think they are doing a great job of it.

By Sandra Bohtlingk (10/04/2014)

I used to go to The Barn or 101 Club in the Sixties! I saw Wilson Pickett there and also Davy Jones and the Lower Third alias David Bowie - it was 10 shillings, 50p today, to see them! Also used The Druids and The Sussex and Florida Rooms! Great days!

By Anne Cullingford (10/10/2014)

Hello. I'm an author currently working on a UK youth fashion history book called 'The Bag I'm In'. I'm looking for authentic photos to feature in it from the 60s, and noticed this fab shot by Isabella Sue Hudson that I'd love to include. Please get in touch for more details.

By Sam Knee (22/03/2015)