West Pier

Schoolboy memories of the 1960s

By Alan Scarratt

A school holiday job

When I was a pupil at Hove Grammar School, I worked in the ‘Captain's Cabin’ bar on the West Pier at weekends and throughout my school holidays in 1968. Although I was only 16 I was asked to serve drinks whenever the bar was particularly busy which was fairly frequent. I met many of the stars during the filming of  ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ including Richard Attenborough and Joe Melia. Joe was one of the nicest guys I have ever met, and appeared to play many parts in the final cut. He spent literally ages trying to explain the forthcoming decimalisation to me.

Truly magical

Another great friend was ‘Professor’ Pat Cullen the palmist. The bar often had impromptu performances and I remember Bill Tarling, the Pier Manager, asking for everyone's attention as the ‘Great Omani’ devoured a wine glass that I had just handed to him. There is a fabulous photograph of the West Pier at night on this section, which was just as I remember it. When working long hot summer evenings at the Olde Tyme Music Hall..........it was truly magical.

Do you remember?

Did you see any of the 'Oh What a lovely War' stars? What about The Great Omani - did you ever see any of his stunts or shows? Please share your memories by posting a comment below

Photo:West Pier

West Pier

Royal Pavilion and Museums: Brighton and Hove

This page was added on 07/09/2013.
Comments about this page

My dad used to work for Maynards in the 1960s and they supplied the Brighton rock to the West Pier. On Saturday mornings I used to go with my dad in his big yellow lorry and deliver the rock to the West Pier. It was great, a far better pier than the Palace Pier from a childs point of view and I thought it was a very important job we were doing delivering the Brighton rock. I usually got free sweets from the woman in the rock shop as well. I have very nice memories about this pier and think it is terribly sad that it has now gone.

By T Lorimer (19/03/2014)

Hi. I remember all the fantastic times on the West Pier and I do agree with you T Lorimer, it was the better pier. I remember back in 1965 or 1966 me and my best friend Ken Baverstock was on the pier and they had one of those recording booths you could record yourself singing a song and you would get your own recording on disc. Me and Ken both took turns to record our own songs, mine was A Ticket to Ride cos I was, and still am, a great Beatles fan. Ken - I can't remember what song he sang. I wish I still had my disc.

By Stephen Raynsford (11/04/2014)

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