The "dance craze": 1920s-1970s

Regent Dance Hall, Queen's Road, Brighton
From a private collection

The dance craze in Brighton
Dancing as a major form of entertainment really took off in Brighton during the 1920s and 1930s. ‘Dance’ music, much of it American, was becoming popular in the years before the First World War, spread by sales of sheet music and gramophone records. However, it was in the years immediately after the war that the so-called “dance craze” took place, encouraged by the spread of American-style ‘jazz’ and dance bands.

In Brighton a number of dance halls were established to cater for the new demand. The most famous of these were Sherry’s Dance Hall, in West Street, and the Regent Dance Hall, in Queens Road.

The opening of the Regent
The Regent Dance Hall was opened in December 1923. It was constructed in an arched superstructure on the roof of the Regent Cinema that had originally been intended to house a roof garden. Decorated in a ‘jazz’ style, with zigzag and square patterns painted in strong primary colours, giant lanterns in a variety of shapes, and illuminated by multicoloured lights, the dance hall made a major impression. The Brighton Herald described it as “like an artist’s expression of exclamation. It is jazz in its highest development. To enter without preparation into that great new hall…is to get the effect of a rocket bursting in one’s face. The hall is like an explosion of all the primary and secondary colours, flung hither and thither in a restless, intersecting criss-cross of blazing light”.

Saturday nights at the Regent
The Regent could accommodate 1,500 dancers on its specially sprung floor, which they boasted was ‘the finest spring dancing floor in the world’. The Regent hosted afternoon tea dances, evening dances, cabaret, dancing competitions and balls. One could also learn to dance at the Regent, which had a staff of “expert professional dancing partners for both sexes”.

By the 1930s, famous dance band leaders such as Jack Hylton, Billy Cotton, Harry Leader and Henry Hall were playing at the Regent and the dance hall soon became one of the leading social venues in Brighton.

A regular visitor to the Regent in the 1930s, remembered “Saturday night at the Regent was a must for us. It was an escape from reality for thousands of shop assistants, factory workers and employees who could afford to go out only once a week.”

Decline and closure of the Regent
The Regent’s popularity continued during the 1940s and 1950s, as people danced to big band and swing hits played by resident band leader Syd Dean. However, changing tastes in music and dancing styles saw the Regent’s popularity decline in the 1960s and in July 1967 the dance hall was closed and converted into a bingo hall. In 1974 the Regent Cinema and Dance Hall building was demolished.

Today a branch of Boots stands on the site. As local resident Arthur Clarke observed in 1984: “When the cinema and dance hall finally closed, Brighton lost the finest entertainment centre south of London. Nothing has ever replaced it.”

Comments about this page

  • My late mother’s friend, Joan (nee Mumford), was the beautiful young girl who played the organ at the cinema. Her mother was so proud but Joan hated it! Joan is nearly 90 and very fit. Does anyone remember my friend, Poppy Margeret (nee Baxendale)? She is now nearly 87 and she loved dancing at The Regent. She suffered from polio as a child so it is amazing that she took to dancing so well.

    By Heather Wilson (23/02/2004)
  • Between 1970-72 the ballroom opened up as ‘The Big Apple’, run by the same people as owned the Fox Clubs in Sussex and Surrey. The Rolling Stones, T Rex, Status Quo, Johnny Winter, Leon Russell and many others played there – usually two gigs a week – and all for under a pound. I’m currently putting together as much info as I can on the Club – I’ve still got my tickets, but no photos or full band list. If anyone has any memories or memorabilia, please contact me.

    By Paul Kaczmarek (11/05/2004)
  • I still have a handbill for the Big Apple club that lists the following attractions for 1971: Sat 6 March – Yes, Wed 10th March – Rolling Sones, Sat 13th March – Kinks + Patto, Thur 18th March – Emerson Lake and Palmer, Sat 20th March – Atomic Rooster, Sat 27th March – Colosseum. My recollection is that the club didn’t stay open for much longer than six months – neighbours’ complaints about the noise I think. Looking back there must have been a big fire risk as well. There were a hell of a lot of us crammed in for the Stones concert. The first gig I believe was Donovan in late 1970. I saw T Rex (just after they’d gone electric) supported by Status Quo just before Christmas that year. I also saw Strawbs (including Rick Wakeman) and Johnny Winter. I think Pink Floyd also played there. A hell of a lot of top name acts appeared in a very short time.

    By Andrew Taylor (05/04/2005)
  • I remember the Stones at The Big Apple as well; I think they were supported by The Groundhogs, could that be right? Queued all night for tickets in Middle Street, they were sold from the little independent record shop next door to The Cottage Coffee Bar, now Blind Lemon Alley. Saw lots of other great bands there as well: Curved Air, Status Quo, although they were not really thought of as cool at that time! Elton John never turned up for his show, they took him to court. Most records of the location of the Regent Cinema and Big Apple list it as on the site of the current Boots, however it wasn’t; it was just up Queens Road a little further. On the site of the current Boots was a bank that became Virgin Records then Boots. This is easily confirmed by checking the Clock Tower and Images on this website. There’s a great photo of the Clock Tower c. 1967 – the Regent Ballroom can be seen much further up Queens Road than the Boots site.

    By Peter Groves (11/01/2006)
  • I used to frequent the Big Apple almost every weekend in 1971/72. An aquaintance of mine, I think his name was Chris Margetts, worked on the door and would let us bunk in for nothing! I saw numerous bands there including Emerson Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Ginger Baker’s Airforce, Edgar Broughton Band, Lindisfarne, Johnny Winter, Fairport Convention, Atomic Rooster. That’s all I can remember, there were many more, but the effects of various substances (at the time!) and the years have dulled my memory. I remember the floor bouncing as we leapt up and down at the request of Edgar Broughton! The place closed suddenly much to my distress; it was a great venue to see bands, not like the dull Brighton Centre.

    By Paul Gasson (25/04/2006)
  • This page has had me thinking. Like many others at the time, a deal of substance abuse clouded the reality of the time. So far as the location, Boots is on a combination of the Virgin / Regent site, the current entrance to Boots from Queens Road is essentially where the cinema entrance was. I spent a lot of time there, in order to get free entrance I worked as a local roadie and remeber humping gear in and out of elevators to the top floor, the only way of getting the gear up and down. I seem to remember the first band that played was Ginger Baker’s Airforce and I remember all the names listed above but can add T’Rex, and Eric Burdon & WAR (even though Eric was a no show they still recorded the gig). I have vivid memories of the sprung floor covered in scatter cushions and the scaffold tower lighting rigs swaying precariously either side of the two stages. I wish I could remember the name of the record shop where tickets were sold, but I do remember that Robert Feld (later to be jailed for fraud over the Norfolk / Resort Hotels scam) had something to do with the management but no other names come to mind. I dare say that the grey matter will now work overtime and more memories will come back.

    By Steve Green (29/04/2006)
  • My sister Gloria and I had many a happy time dancing the hours away at the dear old Regent. That was indeed the highlight of our week!  That was in the 1950’s.  How we looked forward to ‘letting our hair down’!

    By Sylvia Pickett nee stephens (05/10/2006)
  • I was wondering if anybody has some more info/strories abot Harry Leader or his wife Rona Leader.
    Thank you,

    By Nathalie Edelsztejn (12/01/2007)
  • I got a job collecting glasses at the Big Apple, on and off, on weekends in 1971 and so got to see many big name acts like the Stones, Deep Purple, etc whilst being paid to wander around. It was sweaty and a bit chaotic inside and the sprung dance floor from the big band days still worked so (together with ‘substances’ and lager) you sometimes felt a bit light on your feet. The light towers certainly swayed, as Steve Green says. I remember that Edgar Broughton gig too!    I don’t think it was neighbours who had it closed down as not many people lived near there then. Certainly the police raided the place a few times looking for under-age drinkers (in one raid they carted off an ex-girlfiend of mine and her mother – equally glamorous – for allowing her to be there!) and I think they used fire safety as an excuse to close it.   We used to enter through a doorway at the back of the building in an alley next to the Essoldo and then climb innumerable stairs to the top. After a raucous night there we often walked to Little Preston Street for an Uncle Sam’s hamburger (best in Brighton) that we ate on the beach. Great days.

    By Adrian Baron (24/01/2007)
  • I have found a batch of photographs of Leslie Appleton, a Big Band musician who I believe to have lived at the old Springfield pub (now The Open House, Springfield Road). Photographs include his wedding pictures to Phyllis Pearn (1938) and many, many family pictures dating from the late 30s to early 70s. If anyone knows of these people or their family please get in touch.

    By Laura Creasey (15/02/2007)
  • My father, Denys O’loughlin, was the Regent’s general manager at the time, and along with Adam Faith started the big apple(he also rented out the front corner of the building to the unknown Richard Branson, who had his first virgin records shop there, remember the huge cushions & headphones?). we lived in the flat above the Regent, and worked in the cinema in school holidays, often taking our breaks upstairs chatting to the bands setting up. I saw every band that performed there and met many after in dad’s office. There were also 2 private gantry boxes which we often frequented, fantastic! When the Regent closed, dad left Top Rank and bought Chatfields, naming it the New Regent,(now the Walkabout Bar),which promoted new wave bands, later to become punk bands. We had young hopefuls like U2, Madness, X-Ray Specs,XTC, and the Buzcocks etc performing weekly; I still have video of these. Dad Denys died in 1984, mum Pat still lives in Brighton watching her boys,(us), still playing in local band The Diablos.

    By Terry o'Loughlin (25/07/2007)
  • The name of the record shop in Middle Street that sold Big Apple tickets was ‘Exspantion’. We queued for Rolling Stones too, but hadn’t got up early enough to get tickets. This shop was run by Mike Clayton, manager of the ‘Mike Stuart Span’, hence the odd spelling to include ‘span’. Don’t know why it had the ‘t’ instead of ‘s’ though. This shop was first in Hove off Portland Road (Westbourne Street?), then briefly above a shop in Duke Street. After Middle Street there was an ill-fated change of name to ‘Tiger Moth Records’ and move to the Lanes (straight ahead of you, if coming from Duke Street), where they went out of business a while later. I think there was also a branch in Portsmouth.  I have a flyer from 1969 for an Exspantion presentation at The Dome with Edgar Broughton, Strawbs(!), David Bowie and Steamhammer.  We saw Curved Air at Big Apple. Sonja Kristina stood near us during the support act, although we only knew this by her distinctive embroidered jeans with little mirror discs when she was on stage later. Curved Air were excellent, but when it came to the encore, they’d already played all they knew, and had to play some songs again. We also saw Sonja K. at Exeter Arts Centre some 20 years later, but she was rather disappointing.
    (Never try to go back.)

    By Barry Parks (06/08/2007)
  • Re above comment from Barry Parks dated 08/08/2007 on ‘Exspantion’ record shop. The shop was indeed located in Westbourne Street off Portland Road in Hove, however I don’t recall it moving to Brighton – does anyone have more info on this? The reason for the unusual spelling was because Mike Clayton managed two other local bands as well as the MSS, namely ‘Extreme Sound’ being the ‘Ex’ and the ‘Motion’ being the ‘tion’, with ‘span’ fitting neatly in the middle! I also recall going to the Big Apple – definitely one of the best venues to see top bands. Another great place was just outside Brighton in Haywards Heath at the Pilgrim Hotel where I saw many brilliant groups including the Hollies, David Bowie and The Who to name but a few. Anyone know what happened to Mike Clayton?

    By Gary Murphy (ex-drummer 'Mike Stuart Span') (09/10/2007)
  • Yep, absolutely loved the place. Saw Floyd, Waters announcing ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene’ at midnight …worth a bollocking for being very late back to Hassocks.
    Remember T Rex gig, ELP, Deep Purple, Edgar Broughton [and later gig at the Uni venue] and TS Mc Phee’s Groundhogs [ I thinkl]. The floor springing was amazing and local band was support for Floyd. Used to hang around in a Head’s Cafe up a blind alley near by…anyone remember it?

    By Geoff Ewards (24/10/2007)
  • Nice to see all this nostalgia for Exspantion Records and Tiger Moth. I worked in both shops, at one time managing Brighton and the branch in Elm Grove, Southsea at the same time. I also provided the artwork for the record bags and posters and flyers, as well as booking many of the gigs that Mike Clayton got me involved in – it was through my experience there that I moved on to join Chrysalis Agency and all that followed. Talking of The Mike Stuart Span I have a memory of them playing at The Speakeasy in London and a certain Jimi Hendrix asking if he could borrow a guitar to jam – it was right handed but made no difference to him – maybe I imagined this – anyone else recall?

    By Allan McGowan (31/10/2007)
  • Hi Allan, regarding your comments of 31/10/07 and to confirm your memories regarding Brighton’s MIKE STUART SPAN at London’s Speakeasy is absolutely true. Jimi came into the club along with Mitch Mitchell (drummer) their bass player (Noel Redding) was not with them on this occasion. Jimi came straight to the stage and asked if he could jam with our bass player Roger McCabe. They played for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, and yes he borrowed a standard Fender Telecaster and simply re-formed the chords to suit his left handed style! I know this for sure because I was the MSS drummer – were you there, or did you read this somewhere? Gary Murphy

    By Gary Murphy (25/11/2007)
  • I lived in Brighton 1967-74 and I well remember seeing the Rolling Stones upstairs at the Regent Ball Room and  also Elton John. In its last years the Regent Cinema downstairs was sometimes used for special screenings by the Brighton Film Theatre (on West Street). These included a memorable screening of D. W. Griffith’s ‘Birth Of A Nation’ introduced by Lillian Gish. Just prior to its demolition you could see an ancient poster of Gloria Swanson at ground level, long hidden by later accretions. Both the cinema and the Ball Room were incredible venues, and like so much else in Brighton were needlessly sacrificed to corporate greed sanctioned by the uniquely despicable local council. P.S. Does anyone out there remember a long-haired David Bowie’s acoustic warm-up for T Rex at the Dome, or the sublime Junior Walker & the All Stars on the West Pier?

    By Simon Watney (01/12/2007)
  • At last, the truth! I seriously thought the floor was going to fail and we’d end up in the cinema below! So much so that we clung around one of the support columns, just in case. We’d travelled down from Great Yarmouth to see Johnny Winter in 1971. The evening started off tranquil enough with a folk support group playing in the right hand covered wing until this 6 foot+ Texan albino ran onto the central stage (while the folk group were still in the middle of their final number) and literally blew them and everything else away going straight into ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’. From there it got louder still with ‘Out on a Limb’ and by our experience with THAT floor, we thought we were! What a night, what a memory….so sad to hear it’s gone.

    By Alan Hyde (14/12/2007)
  • Re the tickets for the Stones Concert at the Big Apple in March 1971: these went on sale at Tiger Moth on a Sunday morning in January. Many of us who queued all night went there at about 1am after seeing Deep Purple. The tickets cost 18 bob – a bit different from the £60+ you might pay today.

    By Gary Rawlinson (21/02/2008)
  • I met my wife Wendy Hargreaves at the Regent in early 1946, we were married in 1947 and her bridesmaid Pat Wade was also with her at the Regent that evening. The Regent was famous throughout the Royal Navy for
    the many officer training cadets who went through King Alfred. We had an anniversary party this week and six High School old girls attended. Those were the days.!

    By John Glover (06/04/2008)
  • I am pleased to see you have published my comments about the Regent Ballroom. What somewhat surprises me is how little is recorded of the impact on the Town of the regular flow of naval cadets training at King Alfred on Hove sea front to become Naval Officers. Some four thousand young men a year passed through Brighton, and surely part of their training in OLQ (Officer like qualities), was in the hands of the young ladies of the Regent. The training staff officers would also be visitors, and any out of order behaviour , and the sailor concerned would be immediately out as a failed candidate. A white ribbon hat badge was worn to identify the trainee, so it was not difficult to identify anyone, even in the black out. The other two ballrooms in Brighton, which shall be nameless, were not considered to be suitable for potential officers, but many a candidate would remove his white cap ribbon and experience these exciting places. Mothers questioning their daughters would be reassured if they had been out with a King Alfred date. Perhaps they were jealous. Many a wardroom on board ship has echoed to the laughter of those days.

    Editor’s note: John why not add this comment or any other such memories of the HMS King Alfred on the page about the ship and her wartime achievements? If you haven’t seen it click here to visit.

    By John Glover (08/04/2008)
  • Hi Gary. Yes – I was at The Speakeasy for the Hendrix jamming incident!

    By Allan McGowan (22/04/2008)
  • Regarding David Bowie and Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Dome (January or February 1969?). I still have the programme for this (it has heavy use of Letraset for typesetting). This says “David Bowie – mime”, which he did indeed do at this performance. John Peel read something about elves and pixies (probably) and Vytas Serelis played the sitar. There’s a picture of John Peel and his Ladye (sic) in the programme, she, at that time was a hamster apparently. An advert for “Simon’s Stable” in London’s Portobello Road says they are closed Thursday “even for the sale of cannabis resin”. The Edgar Broughton show I mentioned above had David Bowie singing. This was on 19th November 1969.

    By Barry Parks (12/05/2008)
  • The Big Apple brings back a lot of memories for me. I actually worked there for Brian Mason (Fox Enterprises) as well as other gigs in southern England. The Greyhound Croydon, The Wining Post Chertsey, and many others. The very first person to play the Big Apple was Donovan, he arrived in a beat up dormobile, plugged his gear into the sound system, sat on stage barefooted and played. Absolutely brilliant act. The second band to play there a week later was Pink Floyd, they turned up with two big lorry loads of gear that took three days to set up, including the biggest gong you have ever seen (just to be hit once during the entire show). They could have powered the whole of the Brighton front with the amount of electricity they consumed. I was also working there when the Stones appeared on a Wednesday night. The setting up started on the Sunday, the only member to show up was Charlie Watts. On the night of the event my job was to look after the media/staff/band entrance, embarrassing as it was I tried to throw Mick Taylor out as he did not have a pass. I used to have a picture that was taken on the night that was published in one of the local papers, I’m in the picture on stage with the Stones.

    By Keith Wheatland (01/07/2008)
  • My best memory of Big Apple was the Pink Floyd performance of Atom Heart Mother which was one of the best performances I have ever seen. We sat on the cushions on the floor and waited and waited for what seemed, and was, a long time – and then that great performance. Other groups I saw were Status Quo, Deep Purple, T Rex, Donovan and the Stones. What a great venue – something that will never be repeated,

    By Stephen Webb-Dowen (16/08/2008)
  • I too remember the Big Apple, and the amazing rush of concerts in the early 70s. Funniest moment was Marc Bolan saying “gee man, you hippies are dangerous” when people threw cushions on stage. For everyone that was queuing up outside Tiger Moth overnight for Stones tickets, thanks for making it a really cool experience. I recall wandering around the area at about 4 in the morning and never had to worry that I would be kicked from my place when I got back. Someone threw up behind the phone box (I should remember his name – seems like it was a double-barrelled surname), and every time I hear Billy Connolly’s monologue about diced carrots, I think of him. It must have been cold – it seems it was January when the tickets went on sale, and I was amazed that my mum let me stay out all night but we all told our mums that everyone else’s mum had agreed.  One row back from the front on Bill Wyman’s side- I was hooked.

    By Jill H. (06/09/2010)
  • After watching a documentary about Elton John on television I googled Big Apple, Brighton England. I thought about my father (Roger Woodbridge) and the stories he told me about working at the Big Apple as a producer. He told me that they sued Elton John because he didn’t show up for his gig at the Big Apple. Also, he told my brother and me stories about how the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Ginger Baker’s Air force, T’Rex, Eric Burdon and many other bands played there. I always loved to hear about the great musicians of our time and how they played at the club he worked for. We have several pictures of the groups that played there. Also, we have one of my Dad on a roof outside the Big Apple with snow on the ground and the Regent sign on a water tower in the background. In fact I also have a newspaper clipping from Thursday, March 11, 1971 and at the end of the article it states…’It may be true that the audience was well behaved but good old fashioned Stones hysteria was still in evidence. St. John Ambulance Brigade treated several girls who just broke down and cried when the group appeared’. I had to share some of this information after I read the posts on this sight. It must have been an exciting place to be.

    By Heather Woodbridge (19/11/2010)
  • I too remember the Big Apple, particularly the never ending stairs going up and up and also the cushions and bouncy floor. So far no one has mentioned Mott the Hoople who were absolutely brilliant though they left the stage at one point due to hundreds of cushions being thrown (not because they were no good I hasten to add). Highlights for me were Rick Wakeman’s solo from Where is this Dream of Your Youth with the Strawbs and Johnny Winter bouncing onto the stage and blowing everyone’s mind. Fantastic memories never forgotten.

    By Steve Bosworth (17/03/2011)
  • The recent album release by Elton John with Leon Russell prompted me to view The Big Apple Site as I saw Leon there in 1971. I can fill in a few ‘blanks’ that I have noted in the comments. The Cottage was the name of the coffee bar in Middle Street and it was run by Ian Muzio. Mike Clayton moved to Australia about 1979/80. His wife Pearl also worked there. Allan McGowan promoted many gigs in the early 80s at ‘Jenkinsons’ Caberet Bar by the old Top Rank:U2, The Thompson Twins, UB 40 amongst those who played there. Another ‘Face’ around at that time was Phil Lobato who ran Ben Shermans 1st ever shop called ‘Millions of shirts’ in Ship Street. I had coffee with Phil recently and he too was at the Incredible Leon Russell Gig at The BA. As a 14 year old in 71 I had great trouble getting in the club especially with the draconian drinking laws at that time but I was also at the Deep Purple gig. Remember ‘Quiver’ anyone? Also I remember Paul Kazmarek (Kaz) who was a mad Floyd fan. Hope my note is of interest. incidently Syd Dean’s drummer Sammy Bryant taught me to play for 85 pence a lesson and I’m still gigging.

    By Paul Johnston (23/06/2011)
  • Hi Paul, my wife and I are the proud owners of a record by Perfect Way which I believe you played drums on. Keep on Rockin. Hope you are keeping well. Best regards, Alan.

    By Alan Spicer (27/06/2011)
  • My late husband Peter and myself used to love dancing at the Regent ballroom, with it’s sprung floor. Eat your heart out ‘Strictly’! We were both in the Royal Navy at Chatham in 1954 and used to cycle on our tandem to my home in old Portslade for the weekend, enjoy Saturday evening at the Regent before cycling back on Sunday. I also remember the Quadrant pub by the Clock Tower.

    By Ann Singleton (31/10/2011)
  • I was lucky enough to be a barmaid at the Big Apple whilst it was open in the early ’70s. It was hectic and very hot but brilliant, as we got to see all the bands for nothing!

    By Cara Dunne (04/09/2012)
  • Does anyone remember the Melfi Boys? They were normally with their sister Valerie. 

    By Ami Shipton (04/09/2012)
  • Those talking of ticket prices at £1 or 18 bob should see it in relation to earnings at the time. I started full-time at American Express in July 1970 on £9 4s 7d a week! Regretfully, I never got to a gig at the Big Apple or Regent, but I did get to have a look inside just before it closed. My grandfather, Hugh Palliser, was one of those 1,500 dancers who frequented it in the 20s and 30s.

    By Renia (25/10/2012)
  • The Big Apple….my first ever gig was seeing Yes (and support band Egypt?) in March 1971 when they were promoting ‘The Yes Album’. Great venue, great vibes, not sure if the cushions were too good an idea. Since seeing Yes then, I’ve been fortunate to see them a further 16 times – the most recent being at The Royal Albert Hall when I took my 20 year old son – who loved them!

    By Ian Hughes (28/01/2013)
  • Paul Kaczmarek? The bloke from the record shop in Brighton Sq in The Laines? The Big Apple was a fine place! Free supported by Amazing Blondel was a fine night! Colin, from Virgin Records, did the lighting (and was DJ at the Hungry Years)

    By Terry Osborne (24/06/2013)
  • Our Dancing Feet: True, and not so True, Tales from the Dance Floor… Working together with a range of local artists and performers as well as heritage and education organisations, this inter-generational project will explore the social mores and gender etiquette of partner dancing in the 1950s, and will celebrate the history of the much loved Regent Dance Hall in Brighton, (which used to stand where the large Boots store is now), and the beautiful ballrooms at the Winter Garden in Eastbourne. The project will culminate in two site specific performance events with a script written by Sara Clifford and including art installations, film projections, soundscapes, dance, theatre and music and over 100 community performers. The shows will be presented free of charge to the public. We are looking for your old photographs of the Regent Dance Hall, and indeed also of the people who used to dance there, the fashions of the era, or the bands who used to play. These photographs will be included in the large scale outdoor projections which will adorn the Boots building on North Street each evening.  Please contact: or telephone 07956356407 if you have any photos or memories you would like to share with us.

    By Kate Laird (26/09/2013)
  • Good times. What a great place the Regent was. First stop for a pint – the Galleon bar, and then up to the Regent ballroom.The boys would be propping up the bar while most of the girls would be dancing. I can remember they had a strict dress code, I bought a smart leather jacket and the doormen said “sorry, no leather jackets, you can’t come in”, boy was I fed up. I can’t remember ever seeing any trouble there, might have just been lucky perhaps. Shame it closed.

    By Colin Philcox (11/03/2014)
  • The Big Apple was run by Denys O’Loughlin, and was part of the Regent complex that in 1971 comprised the Galleon Bar, The Regent Cinema, The Big Apple (Regent) Ballroom, the Academy cinema, and the Odeon cinema, later part of the Rank West Street Centre. I was 24 years old and duty manager and publicist for the complex and I had the infamous privilege of telling the Rolling stones who entered the front of the Regent cinema “to go round to the Apple entrance”, not recognising Mick Jagger; In those days of 3 channels TV and in black and white, I had a picture of Mick Jagger being 5’10 -6ft not 5’4. I felt a right fool when the rest of the band came in! I was sad to learn from this site about the death of Denys O’Loughlin, he was a great character and I idolised him. I don’t know if Terry remembers me. Eight years later, having left the cinema and trained as a nurse I nursed Denys in the Royal Sussex County. This page has certainly brought back memoirs and some sadness for lost times and friends.

    By David Hamilton-Williams (16/01/2015)

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