Sherry's Dance Hall

Formerly West Street Concert Hall

By Tim Carder

"On the pavement in front of the Pink Coconut night-club stands a small post, once one of seven chain-linked posts across the forecourt of Henry Thrale's house and now listed as being of special historical interest. The Thrale family, owners of London's Anchor Brewery, played host to many literary guests in the late eighteenth century including Dr Samuel Johnson and Fanny Burney, and their small, brick house, built in 1767, was one of the first of the new resort houses. It was demolished in 1866, but a mulberry tree from the garden was replanted in the grounds of Brighton College.

West Steet Concert Hall
The house was replaced by the West Street Concert Hall, opened on 6 December 1867 and designed by Horatio Goulty with hotels at the West Street and Middle Street ends. A number of musical concerts and lectures were presented, including the first of the Music Festivals, but in 1877 the building was converted into a roller-skating rink.

Sherry's opened 1919
On the evening of 7 October 1882 it was virtually destroyed by a gas explosion and fire which left only the frontages standing, but the roller-skating hall was reconstructed in 1892. In 1911 the building was converted into a 2,000-seat cinema, the Grand Picture Palace which was renamed the Coliseum in 1918, but following another serious fire it reopened on 11 November 1919 as the famous Sherrys Dance Hall.

Pre-war night life
Together with the Regent, Sherrys dominated Brighton's pre-war night-life, but in 1949 it was converted back into a roller-skating rink and then became the Ritz amusement arcade in the 1960s. The intricate Italianate facade of the 1892 building was demolished in February 1969 when it was remodelled as a night-club and amusement arcade, now the Pink Coconut (opened 1983) and the Crystal Room; the plain Middle Street facade remains."

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

My mother was on the door at Sherry's towards the end and just after WWII. I don't know the exact dates that she worked there but I know that one of her favourite bands was the Al Feld Combo. Mum was less than 4ft 10" and I can recall that she looked pretty smart in her uniform, this being similar to a NY bell-hop's consisting of a maroon jacket with matching pill box hat and cream slacks. In 1968(ish) my band together with Jack Hazledene's Orchestra played for a Musicians Union dance at Sherry's.

By Dave Cresdee (17/11/2006)

I have just learned about Sherry's and some family history. My mother Dora Sims, would sneak out of a hotel called Chichester Mansion which her parents owned at 18 Marine Parade, meet with her best friend Jean Davidson, and for sixpence, they'd spend the night at Sherry's. This was 1924, and Jean is now 101.

By Richard White (16/11/2010)

Hello Richard White

Does your mother, Did your mother, have any memories of Gwen Rogers' Musical Dolls, or other bands, orchestras which performed there?

 

By John Rogers (19/11/2013)

My lovely Mum, Joyce Yvonne Forgham, sang at Sherry's. She was just a teenager when she sang with some of the big bands, sneaking out of the house saying she was going to a friend's house to do homework.  Sadly Mum died in 2007 and I am anxious to put together more of her life stories.  She told me she would win the talent show on a Friday night, then spend the sixpence or shilling price money, taking her friends back there to dance on Saturday night.  My Mum was born in 1928, so must have sung at Sherry's and The Dome in Brighton in about 1945...guessing here.  If anybody can tell me anything more about my much missed Mum, or the events at Sherry's at that time, I will be eternally grateful. Very good wishes. Sandy

By Sandy Donohoe (07/11/2014)

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