1960s

A place for trysts

By Peter Allison

Back in the sixties the young would meet for their date on the corner by Electricity House; it was also a gathering place late in the evening for motor enthusiasts with their hotted up cars. They would sit and talk about cars and girls for hours, no yellow lines in those days. Late in the evening they would go off on a drive or across the road to the Continental Coffee Bar opposite in North Street for refreshment.

Photo:Electricity House c1967

Electricity House c1967

Photo by Peter Allison

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I used to work at Seeboard when I first left school in 1967 and yes I can remember returning there in the evening to meet a date along with lots of other young people. If we looked out of the window we could sometimes see a wedding coming out of the registrar's office across the Steine. Those were the days when if someone in the office was getting married we would all go across the road to the pub at lunchtime and yes have a drink or drinks and tehn return to work.
By Shirley Bilyeu (02/11/2004)

I used to enjoy a coffee in the Cafe Continental during the mid 1950s. I used to work at 20th Century Banking Corporation, just beyond the Clock Tower.  I would sometimes return to North Street to enjoy an hour or two with friends drinking the delicious espresso.

By Gloria Groeger (07/10/2006)

In the early sixties on a Saturday night we would gather at Electricity House at the bottom of North Street with our cars for a night of racing around. At about 8pm there would be a race to the roundabout in Crawley and back to Brighton. The first bit just outside Pycombe was a bit hairy. The idea was to take Windy Corner at over the magic ton. I was usually a passenger in a mini belonging to my mate at that time Bob Coe. There was a pig farmer, Teddy who had a Ford GT Mk1 Cortina, then after that a Lotus Cortina. Allan Muzzard, a hairdresser, had a Red Mk 1 GT Cortina. There was a lad called Roger who had a Riley 1.5, whose parents owned a garage in Lewes Road. In the winter the road from Palace Pier to Peter Pan's was used for handbrake turns on the ice, sometimes ending up with bent track rods. We are all getting on a bit now, but the memories have remained.

By Mick Peirson (20/11/2006)

Yes, that was the place where we would arrange to meet a date, it would have been nice if, sometimes they would turn up.

By Tony Clevett (07/09/2007)

Does anybody remember the banjo player John Winch who used to play in Brighton in the late 1960's? He used to play many of the pubs, including what is now Hector's House. I believe it was called something like The Norfolk back then but am not totally sure. I'd like to hear from anyone who was around in those days. There was a gospel & blues club started by John at the Heart & Hand in those days too. Does anybody remember that?

By Sally (26/01/2008)

Oh my goodness! Yes - Jonny Winch and Rod Machlin -they were fantastic. We used to go ice skating in the afternoon and onto the dive for a night of music - Jonny and Rod were our favourites - and I do believe that I had some photos some where - but sadly very poor quality.

By Ann Owens (08/02/2008)

We girls used to arrange to meet blind dates at the "Electricity House" and wait at Lyons Corner across the road. If we didn't like the look of the poor boy we never used to cross over! Seems mean now.

By Laine (17/08/2008)

Ann Owens - I have only just read your reply, sorry. John Winch is my birth father. He is still playing, in Hastings and Germany. He's still brilliant and did a gig in Lewes a few years back, making the whole room light up. If you would like to contact me direct let me know on here. Thanks for replying and I'd love to hear your stories of those days.

By Sally (04/09/2008)

I too remember Electricty House as the main meeting spot for your date. I waited shyly one Saturday eve for my fella to collect me and then a car started tooting at me. Feeling even more shy and embarrassed I started to read a letter I had in my bag and pretended it wasn't hooting at me. He hooted, I ignored. Finally, to my relief, my fella arrived at my side and took my arm.  Why didn't you come? he said, as he escorted me to the hooting car.  How was I to know he'd bought a car that day?  And maybe a lady doesn't like to be hooted at.  My fella was as shy as I was so it would have suited him not to have to get out of the car the same way it would have suited me not to be hooted at. We were both very young. then. We learn.

By Sandra (12/12/2008)

Well, well - yes, it's me! The other half that used to play with Rod Machling. I'm still playing the banjo, but not so often these days, and I've got a brand new blues quartet called 'Delta Spirit'.  Funny reading about girlfriends at the Electric House at the bottom of North Road, we used to meet at the Clock Tower. And, right here was a ladies' hairdressers where I started my apprenticeship somewhere around 1958.  Great scene in Brighton in those days. Ran two Folk clubs in the 60s - Country and Gospel Club at the Heart and Hand, North Street, and later at the Stanford Arms, Preston Circus. Yea there's a load more memories there, maybe too many to put down here. Still be good to hear from a few people who were partly responsible for all my hangovers then, and continued musical efforts of today. I'll never learn. Good old Brighton.

By John Winch (13/01/2009)

Thanks for printing my comment. Just thought a few people might like their memories jogging --- Tin Hut in a cellar near the art college and also Hove (one of the first ever discos). I also ran a rock and roll evening in Allen Dean's dance studio near there, something 'Chambers' it was called then. After the advent of R&R we all turned 'arty' and used to go to the Minataur coffee bar behind Hanningtons, and two others - one behind a shop in North Street and one at the beginning of the road leading up to the hospital and over to Seven Dials. A bit later we all used to meet in a pub called the Running Horse, which was along the road from the Ballad Tree Coffee Bar in Black Lion Street at the side of the then new bank in North Street. Once we forgot our keys and had to climb over the roof of the bank to get in the window, a few minutes later half of Brighton police force turned up, some of which I was at school with earlier at Varndean Grammar. Paul and Mike, my brothers, were also there at the same school and Mike turned into a world famous athlete, and not a hillbilly banjo player like someone I know well. I remember him telling me when he came back from his first day, one of the teachers saying "Oh no, not another bloody Winch". Okay, a few memories: cheese on toast at the Golden Fleece, Laurie Poore and myself, playing at The Norfolk (don't know where you are Jenny, but hope you're okay). Top bar of the King and Queen, and jazz on a Sunday morning. Being arrested umpteen times for busking on the seafront by the Palace Pier (begging in those days!). Live music in the Belvedere pub on the beach and another one nearby. Doctor Brighton's. A skiffle club in a cellar up near the Pepper Pot by Queen's Park. The dubious Grenadier Club at the Clock Tower run by Harvey (he of the 1950's Red Corvette). Johnny's, the hairdresser in Trafalgar Street, and Sammy Gordon's where you couldn't walk past the window without out him dragging you in and trying to sell you a suit. "Only got five bob Sammy." "Never mind boy, got a nice pair of socks here for five bob" - pocket money gone! Skating on a Saturday at the Ice Stadium, Brighton Tigers on a Sunday evening. The 'Pav', or Shades Bar, as it was properly called, and working on the deckchairs as the tourists arrived down Queens Road. Later I spent two freezing winters working for John Ridge and Son (Black Lion Street) up at the race course building the stables. Another two winters at Falmer building the Sussex University sports pavilion. There was a record shop in Queens Road run by the brother of Ken Collyer the famous jazz trumpeter and broadcaster long before the shopping complex was first built. Concerts at the Co-op hall in Lewes Road and music in most of the town centre pubs on Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday mornings. Yes, I could go on forever, but it would be great to hear from whoever remembers all or any of this.

By John Winch (17/01/2009)

First, a big sorry for all the mistakes in my last comment. Somebody mentioned the Cottage Coffee Bar (now called the Blind Lemon after the famous blues singer), I'd forgotten about it. (Sat in there once with Jimmy Hendrix, and his drummer Mitch Mitchell would you believe!) That was another meeting place after the pub, and I often played there with Rod Machling. And, while we're on this theme, does anybody remember The Lorelei downstairs? This place was at the Duke Street end of the Lanes and opposite what was back then, a church, but now strangely enough, is another pub. Hippie meetings on the beach every Easter was another great tradition back then. I met Tommy Steele (the famous singer and musical star, real name Colin Hicks I believe) there, as well as Long John Baldry, a young Rod Stewart, Maggie Bell, Joe Brown, Wizz Jones, Russell Quaye, and a host of others who later became famous. Does anybody remember Chuck and Guidian from Glasgow, who were also around then, and had a No.1 hit record? They sounded like the Everley Brothers, and used to sing in a few of the local pubs as well. Changing the subject somewhat, we used to go down to Kensington Gardens then to buy our meat or fish. If you walk down there today, it's hard to imagine that this street had only meat and fish shops in it. Hence the gutter in the middle of the road where they used to hose down their shop floors and outside stalls, and wash it all down this very same gutter. Late on a Saturday morning, you could get a whole leg of lamb for 5 shillings then.

By John Winch (18/01/2009)

Reading all the above comments brought back so many memories of my student days. I guess the John Winch mentioned above is the same as the John Winch who was a student at Brighton College of Art. Wonder if you remember me.

By Karol Griffin Eager (14/05/2009)

To John Winch. Harvey was Harvey Holford, the red Corvette generally had a boat in tow, and the club, over the Whiskey, was the Blue Gardinia. Like me, you're getting old. King and Queen Sundays had a double base player I knew as 97, possibly from the Lonnie Donnagan days. And I remember one guitar or banjo playing guy who always had a cigarette lodged between the strings.

By Roy Grant (12/09/2009)

Wow - that was a lot of water under bridge time ago. I remember Johnny Winch well. I was at Brighton Art College then with him and and learnt to play the guitar with him in a college basement on Grand Parade. I played a home made guitar and a 12 string thing I bought when I hitch hiked through Spain. Johnny was developing his banjo skills and I remember he even made his own 'Scruggs' style tuners for it. The Running Horse and the Ballad Tree coffee bar were home from home and a hangout for all the folkies and art students.The Ballad tree was famous and was run by a great singer of old English folk songs - Brian Matthews. Fond memories - I met my late wife there and used to catch the bus home with her at Electricity House. The Fishmarket Hard on the seafront, now the fishermans museum, was a place that all the guitarists and singers met when it was fine and used to compete with the Salvation Army for attention. There was usually a big crowd of holidaymakers watching. The seafront was the focus for many happy days. I worked during the vacations on the Palace Pier and had many adventures with fellow student Laurie Preece looking after the helter skelter. Fellow student Roger Hallett was a great mate and we used to play guitar together constantly, being inspired especially by the American performer Rambling Jack Elliot who we managed to see in person in the Co-Op Hall in London Road. Is Roy Grant the same Roy who I knew in Hollingbury? I also remember bassist '97' who I believe got his nickname from his rendition of the song 'Wreck of the old 97' about a train in the states. I met Pete Seeger after his performance at the Raleigh Hall near Hove Station. He was another big influence on the folk music scene. Another coffee bar was the Penny Farthing in East Street, not frequented much by penniless art students but opposite the folk club over the cinema, so convenient for pre or post club meetings. I had a long chat with Long John Baldry in there after he performed at the club. Talking of musicians does anyone remember the violinist and concert harpist who used to play on the kerb in East Street?

By Mike King (09/10/2009)

 I met Lauri Poore in the 70s when he was doing a regular gig at the Market Wine bar in Market Street, just over from the Druids Head. I loved his music, he was a great musician who had a 12 string acoustic that he’d wired up himself. Lovely guy. He was very encouraging to me and recorded couple of my songs. Anybody remember Big Mick Wilson? Fantastic guitar player. Unfortunately he passed away few years back. As to meeting at the Steine- on my first date with my future wife, I was waiting at the Clock Tower and she was waiting at the Steine. We both realised the mistake and met half way up/down North Street.

By Glenn Botterill (29/10/2009)

We used to call it 'bogbrush corner' - from the hairstyles of some of the kids that used to hang out outside Seeboard.

By David Deacon (10/11/2009)

Message to John Winch, it would be good if you could leave a note about your meeting with Jimmy Hendrix at The Cottage on the page itself, here is the link:http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__8929.aspx. I know he played at the Dome around 68/69, I was a tad too young to see him, my elder sister and her boyfriend (now husband) did. Any memories you have of that meeting would be great for the page.

By Peter Groves (22/11/2009)

Message for Mike King. Did you live in Cuckmere Way around No 164 or 166 and was your Dad a potter who at one time owned a beautiful convertable coupe with 2 dickie seats in the boot? My sister Sue and I lived at 156.

By Peter Wood (28/11/2009)

Message to Peter Woods, yes I'm that Mike. I lived just along the road from you and dad had that car. It was a Triumph Roadster from 1946 same type as driven by John Nettles in the TV series 'Bergerac'. Later he passed it on to me. I drove it for some time but with a young family and increasing maintenance costs had to, to my everlasting regret (the gearbox failed), sell it for scrap! Dad was a keen hobby potter and I followed in his footsteps at Brighton Art College and ended up teaching pottery, sculpture and art history. Now retired I have continued, amongst my other interests, making musical instruments. The latest being renaissance lutes.

By Mike King (29/11/2009)

Message for Mike King. Hi Mike, I would love to get in touch and chew the fat about life in Hollingbury in the 60s. I now live in Melbourne and plan on coming over in the next couple of years. If you are interested my email is: flybo1@optusnet.com.au. Rgds Pete

By Peter Wood (01/12/2009)

Hello, I'm a writer who is writing about Brighton in the 60s. I'm looking for help. If you lived there in the mid 60s, I'd like to hear about what it was like to live there - good and bad! I'd be very grateful for any help. My email is codeadvice@gmail.com

By Ali Taylor (11/01/2010)

I used to live in Brighton in the 60's. I lived in Hove near the Goldstone football ground. I worked at Hanningtons, and Jacee? furniture manufacturers. Very fond thoughts of Allen Dean's dance studio, made a few girlfiends there, is Valarie Phillips still around? And especially Carol Milton - not sure where she is now. Also, lost touch with a good friend called Raymond Crisp who was a bit of a mod, loved his Vespa scooter and ended up working in Norway and then married a Danish girl living in Abenra - would love to hear from anyone that knows Ray. We had a pack of friends who would meet their dates at the corner of the Electricity House, and sometimes at the Clock Tower. Friday nights we did the rounds at the Druids Head, the Sussex and Dr Brighton. Danced at Allen Dean's, the Court School of Dancing and the Regent Ballroom. Loved the jazz bands that played at the Dome. The pop groups that played at the Hippodrome (and Frankie Vaughn, Tommy Steele). Great days and missed opportunities.

By Stephen (22/03/2010)

When all the skinheads started hanging around outside Electricity House at Castle Square around 1969-1971, it gained the title of Bogbrush Corner, alluding to the haircuts of some of the lads there - quaint eh!

By DAVID DEACON (13/06/2010)

Perhaps not the place for this question but I do remember standing outside Electricity House and the Evening Argus offices waiting for my girl to show. However, the question is this; does anyone remember the coffee bar almost opposite St Peters Church called 'OK Coffee Bar'? Next door there was a ladies hairdressers and a few doors further on towards the Astoria cinema was the Pitmans School for Shorthand. I remember sitting in the OK when the news of JFK's assasination was broadcast. I was home on leave having not long been back from the Persian Gulf. I'm sure I didn't dream this up and if anyone else remembers it, please let me know so I can sleep at night.

By Ashley (21/08/2010)

I think the OK Coffee Bar opposite St.Peters later became the Bar J and was the place the mods used to hang out- we called it "the Barge". The rockers had the Little Chef in Marlborough Place just along from the King and Queen. There was a School of Shorthand and Courts Dancing School right next to the Astoria.

By Robert Taylor (24/09/2010)

Just had a look through the site after a while away. Surprise-surprise! Mike King, how many times did I come around to your house then with a guitar. I remember when you made the very first one from a kit you ordered from somewhere or other. Plywood was popular in those days! I also remember your dad giving us a lift somewhere in the old Triumph and I was sitting in the 'Dicky' seat and got blown to pieces. Maybe I shouldn't mention this-but didn't we call you 'Froggy' because you were always playing the Byrle Ives song Froggy Went A-Courtin' back then. On another subject,The Little Chef as I remember it, also had one of the best 'Duke Boxes' in town then, and I remember hanging out in there and driving everybody mad by repeatedly playing Jerry Lewes' Whole Lot of Shaking and something else from Elvis- Are You Lonesome Tonight. There was, later when I was at the Art College supposedly learning something, a coffee bar along the road from the college. I remember sitting in the cellar listening to Dennis (the other owner of the Ballad Tree later) playing Big Bill Broonzy songs on an old 1938 Dobro. This electrified me at the time, and was indirectly responsible for no end of things that influenced my future life. Before all this, I also remember my first guitar, and hanging around the Clock Tower with it slung over my shoulder pretending that I could play it. At that time, and before living in Hollingbury, we lived in a grotty flat up in Eastern Road. Above us, in the upstairs flat, lived the son of Volk the original man from Volk's Railway on the sea front. He could play guitar a bit, and showed me the first crude efforts of 'fingerpicking' as I sat there wide-eyed. The daughter used to come down stairs sometimes, and we used to sit in the dark in the kitchen and listen to Radio Luxenburg with the radio ariel fixed to the gas stove for better reception. I also used to sit on the stairs with her after school and sing the first few lines of Pat Boon's 'I'll Be Home My Darling' over and over. What an idiot, but great fun. I was also keen on skating at the time but couldn't afford any skates, so went down to Jack Ball's junk shop (does anyone remember that) and bought some old skates and screwed them to a pair of football boots - wonderful. It was also down at the ice stadium that I met my very first girl friend Monica Burdett who used to work at the bra factory along near Shoreham. Back to Hollingbury for a moment; I have fond memories of a girl called Pauline, and for ages we used to catch the 26 bus down to Preston Circus - I wonder if she is still around? Yes I know, I could go on for ages, but if anyone wants to contact me, there's a message board on my web-site. www.john-winch.de - be nice to hear from 'old' friends.

By John Winch (17/10/2010)

Reading the comments on this site has taken me back to those 'good' times. I went to Varndean School and caught the No 46 trolley bus from Electricity house to take me up to the school. I then worked in Royal York Buildings, now the Royal York Hotel, one of the scattered departments of the Town Council. I remember ice skating on Sunday afternoon, the Bamboo coffee bar next door in West Street, and if you could afford to own a Tiger's jacket you felt pretty cool. Anyone remember Roger Cox with the Ford Anglia fitted with 5 1/2 J rims and tyres; he had a garage in a mews off of Grand Avenue Hove where he converted cars; Brian Harding with the red Ford Cortina GT; I had a white version reg no GCD 311D. We also used to park outside Electricity House but can't recall the race to Crawley, just the tearing around the one way system and back again. Cruising along Western Road late at night with the roar of our cars' straight through exhausts reverberating off the buildings. We must have been a damn nuisance at the time. I spent many hours at the Whiskey -a - GoGo in Queen's Square; and I also recall the Tin Hut in Grand Parade. I remember that the Weaver brothers were the family to be 'wary' of at the time and they were often at the Tin Hut. STEPHEN: do you remember a man who worked at Jaycee and was the maintenance fitter in the 60's? Because I worked for Brighton Council I usually managed to get free tickets for the speed trials and in the evenings they had live bands along the arches on the lower road. I remember seeing Otis Redding there on one occasion. I also had the privilege of having a suit made for me by Sammy Gordon. Does anyong recall Jack Bull with the fishing tackle shop at the bottom end of Edward Street?

By Graham Sharp (17/10/2010)

I don't quite know how I ended up at this site - following links as one does. Anyway I remember only too well Brighton in the early 60's. I was a rather under age schoolgirl when I first visited the whisk-a-go-go and remember being taken upstairs to the Gardenia, very innocent. I later turned to folk and spent all spare time at the Ballad Tree and halves of cider at the Running Horse along the road. I started work at Barclays Bank which was conveniently next door to the Tree. All night jazz gigs under the Aquarium, parties on the beach being watched by the holiday makers, Art School dances at Hove Town Hall where I met the infamous Nick Dennis who was working and living at the Tree. We eventually went on to marry and have two children. We divorced many years ago and he sadly died a couple of years ago. I also remember Roger Hallett who I met at the Whisky. My best friend Veronica became his girlfriend, incidentally I am still in touch with her. Wizz Jones, Gary Farr, Pete Cleall (do you remember hiding in your room at the Sussex?!), Roger Dade and many others. Sorry this is so rambling but all these forgotten memories just came flooding back. One final memory, does anyone remember pushing, yes pushing, a piano from Brighton to I think Haywards Heath?

By Barbara York (05/11/2010)

I found this page by accident and, after reading all the brill comments about Brighton in the 60s, I was just wondering if anybody remembers the local Brighton pop group 'Count Downe and the Zeros' who later became 'Peter and the Headlines'?  My dad, Brian, was one of the guitarists and backing vocalists. Fun times.

By Darran Cornwell (13/01/2011)

Darran, There is a website Brightonbeat dedicated to the Brighton pop groups from the 60s, it features Count Downe and the Zeroes with a photo of your dad Brian. Hope this helps and, yes, they were fun times. We knew how to have a great time without all the nonsense that happens today.

By Robert Taylor (14/01/2011)

Robert - thank you so much. I went on to the site and saw the pics of my dad's group and also a pic of him with a later band 'Black Orchid'. Not only that, I also found my stepdad's, Barrie Feest's, group 'The Bootleggers'. Fantastic, thanks again. I know that you can get the 'ember records' 60s compilation album on itunes which feature lots of local Brighton bands from the day including 'Countdowne and the Zeros'. The album is called 'Hello my Angel'. Thanks again.

By Darran Cornwell (16/01/2011)

For Barbara York. I have fond memories of merry evenings in Vloprop at the Three Horseshoes with Tony and Dot Semple, you two and the Beat Group No1! I lived with Di in Posterholt. Ring any bells? John. beezageeza@btopenworld.com

By JOHN LLOYD-HUGHES (21/02/2011)

Visited the site today, and reading through some of the newer comments, thought I must know some of these people, or at least been in the same place at the same time. I ran Allen Dean's Saturday night dance then (you might call it one of the first discos apart from the Tin Hut). The first and last record of the evening was always Cliff's 'Move It', and in between Jerry Lee, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Elvis, and the rest. Used to dance myself silly with two super girl dancers Vivian and Pauline. Mentioning the Weaver family - I was at school with one of them and regularly threatened, even once beaten up by the sister and her brothers. Graham Sharp mentioned Jack Ball's fishing tackle shop. It was originally a junk shop and a never-ending story of buying and selling things to substitute the pocket money in those days. Barbara York also mentions the Sussex. Gary Farr and our circle of R & B fans used to meet upstairs to play guitars and exchange blues riffs. The parents of one of the lads were the licencees of the pub then I remember but I don't recall what his name was. Also thinking back, does anyone remember the out of it nights in the Norfolk. The excellent Laurie Poore used to play there, and myself. Remember when 'Noddy' got arrested in there for picking daffodils in the gardens opposite. Another guy got arrested in there for cutting up substances on the mantlepiece and escaped out the back door which the police had forgotten about. Does anyone remember Big Tex and Mad Dave. Also mentioned on here are Roger Hallet and Laurie Preece, I was at art school with both of them and Rog amongst many others used to play every Saturday evening in the Running Horse until we got thrown out at closing time by Mrs Q. Along to the Ballad Tree where Wizz, Pete Stanley, John Baldry and all of us stayed on an All-nighter. Incidentally, the all night jazz club by the Aquarium was in the Summer Gardens above, and called Uncle Bonny's Chinese Jazz Club. I still have a 1951 Höfner guitar that Terry Lightfoot scratched his name on in way of a signature at the time. Does anyone also remember Dutch Pete who used to think he could play bass and insisted on getting up on the stage with whoever was performing then? There was also the art college Rag Day dances at the Corn Exchange. When I think about all this, it's a wonder I'm still alive really -GREAT TIMES. I was also on the 'Piano Pushes' - the start of the Aldermaston marches up through Haywards Heath to Crawley organised by Pete and Beverly from H H.

By John Winch (18/03/2011)

Oh my, the places available to us then. All the places mentioned are part of my teenage years. Sorry for the kids today, they do not have the cafes,etc we had. We had so many choices of places to go. A much nicer,safer place in those days.

By Jennifer Tonks (20/03/2011)

I wonder if the Mike King above was the Craft teacher at Varndean in the early 70s when I was there. Sadly not even he could turn me into anything resembling an artist and I rather wasted his time in is efforts to teach me anything! Still, I did share his other interest in the Model Railway Club and learnt a few things there!

By Geoff (18/05/2011)

John Winch mentions the various places he used to visit to listen to jazz. I wonder if he remembers a jazz drummer named Bob Spanswick?

By Graham Sharp (05/06/2011)

The comments from John Winch have rekindled some memories of a special time. I have a memory of a room above the building next to the Cottage Coffee Bar where there was an ad- hoc blues club, I think Gary Farr was a prime mover and John turned up with a guitar that he had either made or had made. I remember the sound hole was a strange shape. This would have been sometime in 1962/3, the Cottage was important then, but my memories of the juke box included Ella singing Manhattan and Every Time We Say Goodbye and some Gerry Mulligan or Benny Golson. There were some people I remember from then,a girl called Wendy who was exotic and may have had an Indian parent and Audrey who was at the Art College. Gary Farr was also a member of a Drama Group called Group 8, they put on a play The Dark of The Moon at the Co-op hall in London Road. Other members included Peter Cleall, his girlfriend Christine?, Roger Dade and Nigel Wady (who I believe was associated with The Lorelei Coffee Bar which opened about 1963). Does any one remember any of this? There was a great party scene every Saturday which often started at the Pav (Shades Bar) or the Sussex, I think Peter Cleall's mother was landlady there. But of course the weekend started on Friday Night at the Chinese Jazz Club, the likes of Cyril Davies All Stars, Long John Baldrey and later on with bands like the Animals as well as trad jazz and 'skip' jiving.

By Martyn Bivand (03/07/2011)

Hi All, Couldn't resist adding a comment as J.W is my brother and I spent much of my time in the places mentioned, but have different memories. I remember we went to the Hippodrome and watched as Lonnie Donnegans Skiffle group thrashed great music out of guitars, a washboard and a double base. I can still see John standing at the bottom of the stairs in the Eastern Road house getting his first touch of a guitar (there is a traffic island there now, next to where the Star in the East pub used to be). Did anyone see him down the fish market, two or three of them playing, one sitting on a big galvanised water tank producing a real heavy bass accompaniment. They use to get big crowds watching. Not like one day on the east side of the Palace Pier among the saucy post cards, cockles and mussels. John playing the banjo and it could of been Brian Golbey on guitar. The banjo case was open and the crowd, many of them up on the top promenade starting throwing money into it. Arrives a big uniformed old fashioned copper with words to the effect of "oi, you can't do that ere!" Well, the money kept coming down, some of it bouncing of his equally old fashioned helmet. I remember well the rag day parade winding its way through the streets, halves of 44 gallon drums used either for fires to cook chestnuts by, or as yet another bass instrument. A noisy part of the parade was a trumpeter who went by, i believe, the name of Diz- Dizzley. All the folk clubs that I went to were great, Lewes, Eastbourne, Standford Arms, as were the impromptu sessions at Lord Nelson, White Horse? First In Last Out, Trader and the Dripping Spring, all in Hastings. The Running Horse Pub in King Street became one of my watering holes after I found that, at the tender age of 14, i could get away with buying a beer or two without getting thrown out, (because i was tall and looked older than my age, I sat with impunity as the police came in and chucked out three other boys, who were probably older than me anyway). My memories of the Cottage are that they used to serve the meanest spaghetti bolognese you ever tasted, don't know how long he kept it in the pot but that didn't seem to matter. To Mike King, Hi Mike I remember your harpist and violinist well. They played the most beautiful music, I remember their shoes were worn and their clothes were old but even at the age of 7 or 8, standing in the pouring rain, I couldn't tear myself away. I seem to remember the violinist died first. One day he was there, the next the harpist was alone, even today it brings a lump in my throat.

By Paul Winch (14/08/2011)

To John Winch, regarding the Allan Dean: We used to go there on a Saturday night in the earlier '60s. There were several of us, Cliff Taylor, Derek Hoad, John (Alfie) White, Mick Silsby, Tony George, and myself. There was a lady called Lou who helped run it and her mum used to go there too. The DJ was called, I thought, John Dean, and I think he later moved on and took a pub in Henfield, I forget the name, but it was the last pub on the right as you left the village, going towards Horsham. Also there was another guy called Michael, who worked at "Deans", and he moved on and was working in one of the big hotels, but by now it was in the early '70s.

By John Davis (08/12/2011)

The Starlight Rooms were great, but does anybody remember the Pop Inn around 1964 - 1965?

By Marnie (31/12/2011)

Great to read about the early 60s in Brighton. Sadly I moved away in 1963 but returned to the area 6 years ago since when I have been busy rekindling my memories and in some cases friendships from those days. Yes, I remember the Starlight Rooms and meeting my school pal Bob Steer there in identical black vinyl fronted leather-look knitted jackets [fashionable at the time]. Not ideal in the sticky,ultra-violet lit club atmosphere! Does anyone remember the Zodiac coffee bar, another favourite haunt of my friends Brian Tyrer, Phil Birch, etc. from Patcham County Secondary where I lived nearby. A crowd from the Zodiac gate-crashed an infamous all night party I held in Patcham once and the neighbours never quite recovered! 1963 was also the year I managed to see the Beatles supported by Roy Orbison at the Hippodrome. Absolute magic! Would love to read about or hear from anyone who remembers me from those happy days on davidseaton7@aol.com

By David Seaton (07/02/2012)

I went to Fawcett School from 1961-196. I was also a member of the Salvation Army in Brighton, I do remember a dive in West Street called the Barn, and of course the Regent with its bouncy floor. I would love to meet up with some of my old school mates if any one remembers me. I still live in the area. In the 60s I lived in Albion Hill for my growing up years. There was also a charachter called King Jerry -does any one remember him, and of course the weavers- I suffered a few cracks around the head from them.

By Cliff Pittam (12/04/2012)

I was born in 1968 in Hove, my mother Patsy Richards from Liverpool was a bit of girl from what I can gather and my old man Billy (Bunny) Walker Brannan was Scottish and a pub singer and worked for O'Hagans either in the fish bar or sausage stall 67/68. As my half brother was born a year later back up in Scotland and my sister the year before me, they didn't mess in them days. Any memories of this pair would be appreciated. Unfortunately both have passed away. I did meet my mum 10 years ago she lived on Donald Hall Road.

By Stuart Roberts (24/06/2012)

Yes, I also worked at Seeboard in the mid 60s and part time at Top Rank Ballrooms by the waterfront of which I have some wonderful memories. I was switchboard operator by day and purse check girl by night. When I think of the great groups that came through - what a trip. Anyway I now live in Ontario, Canada - still love music - want to visit Brighton again soon.

By Zana Daren (26/06/2012)

I remember Brighton in the early 60s very well. I shared a flat off Waterloo Street with Gary Farr. We used to earn a crust by following posh cars in Hove on his motorbike and asking them if they'd like us to clean them when they arrived at their large residences - inside & out for five shillings. A bargain! Sadly Gary died in the early 90s. He was a fine blues singer & guitarist who never achieved the recognition he deserved imo.

By Peter Cleall (31/12/2012)

@ Barbara York, Do you remember anything of Jimmy Webb, or know what happened to him. My mother was Coral Rutherford, and I have learnt a lot since she died! I'm dying to know more.

By Joss (03/01/2013)

To Peter Cleall. Remember me? We were an 'item' for a short time back in the day when you lived in the Sussex. Remember seeing you on the box some years later and basking in reflected glory!! What you doing now? Also do you still have contact with Roger Dade and Tony Stanwick (?) who also lived in a pub. Still in regular contact with Veronica (aka Suzi Wong)

By Barbara York (nee Scott) (04/01/2013)

To Peter Cleall, you should check out the Brighton Beat website: http://www.brightonbeat.com/home.htm There are some photos of Gary Farr when he sang for the T-Bones in the 60's, it also shows that Kieth Emerson of E.L.P fame also played with Gary for a while. The site also mentions another well known local 60's singer 'Bobby Sansom' and his band 'The Giants', Bobby went on to sing regularly down 'Jenkinsons Cabaret Bar' in Kingswest.

By Michael Brittain (04/01/2013)

To Joss. Sorry I don't recall the name Jimmy Webb or your mum Coral. This doesn't mean we never met, may be in the bit of grey matter lost in the mists if time!!!

By Barbara York/Scott (05/01/2013)

To Peter Cleall...What a coincidence that you should mention Gary Farr as there is a very good article about him in this month's 'Shindig' magazine.

By Paul Clarkson (09/01/2013)

To Barbara - of course I remember you. How could I forget? Roger Dade is in Portugal where he's teaching art and Stanwix was in Switzerland being a ski instructor last I heard. I am now an actors' agent. I gave up acting several years ago. It's a young person's game these days. To Michael & Paul - I've seen the Keith Emerson clip - it's from Biarritz I think & Chris Barber is also playing with the band. Will try to look at the Shindig article. Such a loss - Gary dying. He was recorded at Muscle Shoals Studio a few years before he died which is an honour that few white singers receive - let alone ones from the UK.

By Peter Cleall (12/01/2013)

So many memories, the Whisky-a-go-go... at the young age of 15 I used to get in with my older girl friends. We would attend the Thursday evening dance at the Regency, then over to the club. I recall some of the coffee bars in Brighton. I remember the Beatles, Roy Orbison, and many more at the Hippodrome. This web page certainly brings old friends together. Not forgetting dances on Sunday evening at the Aquarium.

By Bonny Cother (22/02/2013)

Just re-visiting this page after a few months and glad to see it is still rolling on. I worked for the Council in Royal York Buildings and I used to own a white Cortina GT and park it outside the Electricity Showrooms in the evenings prior to tearing around the town until the early hours. Brian Harding was a mate of mine and he had a bright red Cortina GT immaculate inside and out. He was a mate of Alan Mussard the hairdresser. Spent many a night at the Whiskey and the Continental. In my schooldays every Sunday afternoon was spent at the ice rink in West Street and a coffee afterwards at the Bamboo coffee bar next door. Great days with great memories and a safer place.

By Graham Sharp (20/04/2013)

I am researching the Brighton dance scene in 1953 - can anyone confirm that the Allen Dean Dance Studio was there in the 50s, as these reminiscences mostly relate to the early 60s..?

By Sara Clifford (15/05/2013)

Reply to John Davis Re: Alan Deans Dance Studios in Brighton. Hi John Did you remember the girls called Carol Milton (hairdresser) and Valarie Phillips, and the guys called Roy Macfarlane, Jim, can't remember his surname but he worked at Hepworths in Brighton, and Ray Crisp who worked at Jaycee Furniture. Was Derek Hoad the short guy who suffered with Asthma, who was a close mate of Cliff? Anyway, there were good days there and fond memories, especially Carol Milton.

By Stephen Browne (26/05/2013)

I have just stumbled across Johnny Winch and Rod Machling on this site. I was a student at the Art College from 1963, and at some point took a room in a large and dilapidated house that John was renting on the London Road near Preston Circus. Coming home at night there were always two sounds: John's astonishing banjo and guitar playing, and the phantom gardener, whom we never saw but who had obviously been employed there in more respectable times and couldn't give it up. I have many memories, of that time, not all of them printable. The folk club at Preston Circus was outstanding.

By Julian Bond (25/09/2013)

Just stumbled on this column - great to be reminded of those faces and places! Life for me in '55-'59 revolved around The Little Chef, the Whiskey-a-GoGo ,etc. and the music! How many threepenny bits did I put in the Chef jukebox? And dancing? Jacquie and me would bop till we dropped, in the Chef, in the street, I think at one time in a telephone box!  And you guitar slingers - I'm still gigging around Brighton. Come and say hello at the Fitz or the Great Eastern!

By Ian Tracy (05/01/2014)

Haven't visited this site for quite a while and loved all the new comments and memories. John Dean was running Allan Dean's Dance Studio originally with a woman named 'Babs' Allan - hence the name. Michael Cullinane was John's partner at the time, and both were most charming people. In the latter days I used to run the Saturday night there as a Rock and Roll night (as I mentioned before on here) probably, apart from the Tin Hut, the only other place that today, you might call a Disco.
There is also mention on here of Roger Hallet and Laurie Preece both at Art College in the same class as I was. Roger, like us all, used to play in the Running Horse on a Saturday and then along to the 'Tree' for an all-nighter music session with whoever was down from London that weekend.
Does anyone remember Victorian Mike who used to ride around Brighton on an old bike in full Victorian costume including top hat? Another character we used to call Pickwick who acted and dressed straight out of a Dicken's novel, and often drank in the 'Pav' - Shades Bar.
Other characters - Barry Boone, Tex (with cowboy hat and long pony tail), little ginger-haired 'Mad Mick' who was always sitting outside the cafe on the beach at the bottom of West Street. He told me he used to get on the business train up to town when he had nothing better to do, buy a copy of the Times and cut two holes in it to look through, and terrify the fellow travellers by staring at them through the holes until they moved to another seat.
A lot of our loony stuff used to take place in the Heart and Hand in North Road. Mad parties at June and Gordon's with brain numbing home-made wine and a pissed Gordon playing the trumpet in the early hours.
There were also a lot of parties at the 'Old Fort' in Shoreham where Pete '97' Hill and Co. strummed away for hours. Does anyone remember the Lighthouse pub, I think in Southwick? Another great den of madness.
There are a whole lot more memories in the 'Hippies on the Beach' section on this site.

By John Winch (12/01/2014)

Readers may find it hard to believe, but there are still two bands formed in the '60s in Brighton still playing today. The Hustlers formed in 1960 and Polygon formed in 1966 now called Polygon 66. The Hustlers well be playing at Ovingdean Village Hall on September the 20th for The Martlets Hospice. Their first gig in Brighton since April 1965.

By Peter Dresch (27/08/2014)

Hi to Stephen Browne who was asking about some of the guys and girls at Allan Deans. The name Carol Milton is familiar, and yes, Derek Hoad, aka Winkle, was a good friend of Cliff Taylor. Sadly "Winkle" passed away, I think it was in the late 1990s. As for Cliff, he used to sidle up to some lovely girls, chew his gum, and say in an uninterested voice " Fancy a shuffle", and they did! That really used to wind me up, particularly they were usually the girls I liked. Hey Ho! Such is life. 

By John Davis (09/11/2014)

Hi John, thanks for the reply and sorry to hear that Derek passed away. You refreshed my memory re Cliff's laid back approach with the girls. I think he had an old Riley car. Carol Milton was an ex girlfriend of mine but I never found out what happened to her and Valarie Phillips. I was a regular at Alan Deans - we must have been there at the same time. AD was the place I learnt basic ballroom dancing, which they used to teach in the breaks. Many fond memories there

By Stephen Browne (21/12/2014)

How lovely to read all these memories. I had forgotten most of the coffee bar names but they all crashed back into my mind after reading of them. Laurie Poore was a boyfriend of mine. I remember Noddy too, and big Mick Saunders who played the guitar (he lived in Shoreham). I felt quite grown up hanging out with them in the pub next to the Art School I went to and in a basement club on the other side. Happy happy memories.

By Linda Hampson (20/01/2015)

To Barbara, I went on the walk to Haywards heath pushing the piano, we stopped at the pub on Clayton Hill for a drink at lunch time and then onwards to H/Heath. When we arrived at our destination we all went to a jazz club above the Burrel Arms for the evening. I remember those days in Brighton so well and the memories this site has brought back. Many thanks.

By Tony Lago (03/02/2015)

In the last 48 hours since finding this site I have relived some 6/7 teenage years going through these times in Brighton. Who remembers the Sunday afternoons down on the fishmarket hard jiving and skip jiving to the bands? YES even at this ripe old age I still do. If any of you would like to go onto the "Brightonjive promotions". site you can still go jiving regularly. Unfortunately I lost Jan after 49 years together, but remarried last September to the lovely "M" who does not jive but is starting to take lessons next week. watch this space.

By Tony Lago (04/02/2015)

My daughter is off to a soul night this evening and it brought back memories of a cafe/coffee bar in Kemptown we used to go to in the 60s where they had a juke box in the basement full of great soul music. Very popular with mods and fabulous girls in long leather coats and Mary Quant hairstyles. But I can't remember its name. I googled and came across this great site and all your brilliant memories. Does anyone know the place I mean. BTW I saw Jimi Hendrix at the Dome and Mayall, ELP, Cream, plus loved the bolognese at The Cottage, a 'groovy' shop in Duke St called Gamut?, Smokey, hairy nights at King and Queen, art school bops where I attended briefly 68/69, Arts Lab at the bottom of West Street.

By Tim E (07/02/2015)

I used to meet up at the Electricity House with my girlfriend Rona to cruise around Brighton late at night. We used to meet up with Alan Mussard and his friend Mick Phillips. Alan had a red Cortina GT and Mick had a Capri. Rona had a Mini Cooper S then she got a Ford Escort TC. She was the envy of many of the guys with these cars. We always ended up having coffee with all the boys at the 'Continental' coffee bar opposite Electricity House. Memories.

By Lesley Miles (08/02/2015)

The coffee bar in Kemp Town was called "Tiffanys" and I had forgotten all about gamut. I bought a Jimi Hendrix poster there, and I also saw him at the dome with Cream, Wizard, Amen Corner, Great days. Marilyn.

By Marilyn Jones (08/02/2015)

Answering the comment about the Pop Inn, I so remember it. I was only 14 or 15 but we used to manage to get in, it was down a basement in Montpelier Street. My friend and I were mad on a local group called The Sea Urchins, that's all we went for. They made a record, we bought it in Bellman's, London Road. It was called 'I made her that way',  does anybody remember them? We were crazy about them. 

By Hilary (15/02/2015)

I remember that great coffee bar. It was called Tiffany's. It was run by two guys, both called John. I was a mod and used to go there every evening. All of our scooters would be lined up outside. Would like to get in touch with anyone who went there during 1964 to 1966. Be great to catch up. Look forward to getting a reply. 07718128798.

By Ron Trott (03/06/2015)

Hi Ron. We spent so many great evenings at Tiffanys. Hot chocolate and hot blackcurrant, Bob Dylan and Manfred Mann on the jukebox, parka coats and all those scooters parked outside. I had a Li 150 and then a GS 160.  We knew so many other mods ... where are they now?  I'm sure they must look back with happy memories, as I do, of those carefree days 

By Den Allen (05/06/2015)

Haven't been on here for a while so thought I had to catch up again. I was was wondering if Pauline Phillips was the Pauline who I mentioned in one of my comments and used to live at Hollingbury? Whether this is the right Pauline or not I don't know, but we used to dance ourselves silly at the Hollingbury Youth Club where they held R & R record sessions during the week and a local Skiffle band on a Saturday night. We also used to dance nearly non-stop at Allan Deans on a Saturday R & R session. It was also only a couple of years ago that I heard that Garry (Farr) had died. There are a couple of TV documentaries (shown on English TV) about him and his life in the USA. I used to hang around often with his sister Ann and brother Ricky. I always thought Gary was a rare and natural talent, and a great blues singer. I remember his band at the University (one of his first 'big' gigs) as support for the guy (name forgotten) that had a huge hit with 'Fire'. Laurie Poore was also one of the rare and great musicians then, somebody who should have made it much further in the rat race they call the 'music industry'. There was also one of two blind piano players playing in Brighton who used to play Jerry Lee stuff in a pub in North Road on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The other played for years in Doc Brightons. We (a few friends from the art college) also used to hold record sessions in the Calerium (as we called it). An undercliff meeting place just along by Peter Pan's playground. Art college: Does anybody remember the parties at Mike Caulfield's mother's house in Heathfield where the whole world turned up from Brighton and London. College friends then Laurie Preece, Roger Hallet, Tony Smart, 'Froggy', etc. as well as some of the girl students and a gathering of nurses from the local hospitals. I remember they had the bath filled with cider and a friend falling into it.

By John Winch (07/08/2015)

Hey all, I just happened to stumble across this great site while surfing around the net. I'm the guy who wrote the article on Gary Farr in Shindig magazine a couple years back and just wanted to say I wish I could have tapped into this site to have seen if some of you would have liked to have shared some of your incredible and singular memories of the man and the scene at the time. I feel like I was there reading through the comments. Man, it sounded  like there were some seriously good (and hazy - the best sort) of times you all had! Reminds me of a line from a Baker-Gurvitz Army song (Memory Lane) where we hear, "We got to carry on / but don't forget what's gone / kerb crawling days in Brighton / You know they still go on". Reading the great comments here, I see it is indeed true ;) "Peace to you all"!

By Mike Shannon (20/10/2015)

My friend Rona and myself used to be one of the crowd. Rona had a Mini and we used to cruise round Brighton on a Tuesday evening and meet up with Alan Mussard and Mick Phillips, and a whole crowd whose names I can't remember. We then all used to go over to the Continental Coffee Bar. Roma's father bought her a new Ford Escort RS 1800 much to the envy of a lot of the guys. We also used to do car rallies including special stage events and we were both members of Sussex Car Club. Those were the days.

By Lesley Miles (Goddard) (07/05/2016)

I've just read a very long thriller by American James Orlando called "The Jade Nomad" all about an American car. It's mostly set in America, Hawaii and Hong Kong but with early chapters in Brighton and Hove of 50s and 60s, especially with art students.  As my dad was at Brighton Art College then, I got him to read the Brighton bit and he swears it all happened! He even remembers the characters involved although with different names he thinks. Besides the Grand Parade location, there's earlier chapters about the Blue Gardenia, the ice rink and Canadian ice hockey players.  He says it captures the era perfectly and later the mood changes as the story develops and moves through the decades (and the world) which follow and gets progressively more sinister.  Worth a look if you've not heard of it, by it I mean the book of course. I've just downloaded it onto my dad's PC from Amazon's free Kindle app (took seconds). He tried reading it on my iphone but the screen was too small and it's over 300 pages long. Quite a journey but well worth it.
If any of you remember Kev Walsh (mainly graphic design etc 1959-63) let us know. He's now following this site as he didn't know about it until I told him.

By Barry Walsh (04/06/2016)

My father was the manager of that Seeboard shop from the mid 1950s until 1962.

By Bob Eager (30/10/2016)

Hello, I'm looking for a photo of The Ballard Tree, a coffee shop in Black Lion Street, Brighton. My father who is now is his eighties used to have a partnership with someone and run this coffee shop around 1957 - 1960. This is where he also met my mother and over fifty years later they are still together. Any information or photos would be greatly appreciated as I would like to give it to my father for his eighty fifth birthday. His name is Eric Barker.

Thank you 

Erica 

By Erica Arnold (26/03/2017)

I wonder if anyone remembers an eccentric piano player and singer named Nan Coton? A short dark haired lady? If so I would  love to hear from you.

By Wright (02/09/2017)

The only coffee bar in the early sixties called The Ballard Tree was in Kings Street (off North Street) just down from The Running Horse.

By Nik (17/09/2017)

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