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Memories from two generations

The Regent,shortly before demolition in 1970s
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

Remember the aviary?

I was talking to my Mum recently about this site and the Regent Cinema amongst other places.  She wonders whether anyone remembers the aviary, housing mostly canaries, inside the North Street entrance, it was next to ‘Mrs Phillips’ cash office  in the early 1940s? As a teenager during the war she was working as a cashier and had to cover all the various cash desks.

Mum loved The Regent

Other names she remembers from over 70 years ago were Mr. Lionel  (Stewart) who she says was a lovely man, Johnny Wild, Assistant. Manager, Mrs Beard,  Mr Amerino,  Restaurant Manager and Mr Huggett who was Head Doorman.  She loved to dance the night away in the ballroom after her shift finished. She does admit that although she loved The Regent her favourite dance venue was The Dome.

Do you remember the aviary or the perfume machine? Please share your memories by posting a comment below.

Many great songs

My memories of The Regent are from the early 1960s. Thursday nights dancing to all the hits of the day: Runaway, The Night has a Thousand Eyes, oh so many great songs. I especially remember that On the wall in the ladies cloakroom there was a pink metal cabinet with four plungers which dispensed perfume. You would put a 6d coin in, and choose your favourite. At the time, mine was Goya, Black Rose. You had to be careful where you stood or the jet of perfume would end up in your eye or over your shoulder!

The last bus home

I also recall The Victor Sylvester Dance Studio.  I think it was accessed from the Windsor Street entrance. I still have a certificate somewhere, proud winners of a waltz competition with my then boyfriend. Of course there was that rush at the end of the evening rushing to get the last bus home. Happy days! 

Comments about this page

  • Hello Elaine, thanks so much for your post. I love the fact that both you and your Mum have memories of the Regent. I was wondering if you’d like to help me with my coursework? My project focuses on nightlife and dancing, and it would be brilliant to interview someone who remembers dances in the 1950s/1960s. I’m already interviewing someone who was into Northern Soul and someone else who was part of the late 1980s dance scene – your memories would make a brilliant comparison. Let me know what you think. Many thanks


    By Abby Wharne (16/02/2017)
  • Hello Abby, I am not sure that I can add a lot more to your research. My ‘night life’ in the 1960s was rather limited to Thurs. nights at the Regent, once or twice weekly trips to the cinema or ‘pictures’ as we called it and more often than not,  hanging out in the numerous local coffee bars, playing the juke box and sitting for hours on end with one of those Pyrex cups of rather awful tasting coffee.

    Mum’s memories would be of the early 1940s (WW2). They lived for the day and many did not heed the air raid warnings and unless the buildings were shaking the band played on and they carried on dancing (mostly at The Dome). I was born in 1945 and rather curtailed her night life!

    I do have a  March 1964 programme from The Regent, details of a Top Rank talent competition, singing and dancing and other acts with pictures of the contestants. This was recorded for TV.  If it would be of any use to you I’ll gladly pass it on.

    I won’t waffle on now but if you would like to send an e-mail address I will get in touch.

    By elaine (20/02/2017)

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