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Childhood memories

Interior of the Palace Pier Theatre
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

Theatre at the end of the pier

Easter 1939: I remember that when I was a very small boy, my father took me to the theatre at the end of the Palace Pier to see a show; what excitement. I can just remember returning home up the seafront to where we lived in Atlingworth Street and how sunny the day was. I can also recall seeing the old paddle steamer, Brighton Belle, taking people off for a trip to the Isle of Wight.

Do you have any Palace Pier memories to share? Please leave a comment below.

Kayaking around the piers

Many years later into the early 1950s, my friends and I had two kayaks, and we used to go out under the pier to the West Pier. We would go under that, then out to sea and round the end of the pier, and back to go round the end of the Palace Pier, and back to the beach. When the speed boats were on the go at the end of the pier for a bit of what they thought was fun, they used to tear past us to upset us and often we had a long swim back pushing a partly waterlogged craft which was heavy going in the calmest conditions.

Comments about this page

  • Yes, the Palace Pier, it’s lovely to hear it called that these days and in my opinion the name should have remained. I have many memories of the Palace Pier, my earliest, which were around 1961/2, were when my parents or my Nan took me. I remember the smell of fish & chips and the sea, I also remember looking out along Madeira Drive and seeing all the Southdown coaches with their boards out advertising trips. We used to go on the ‘Mystery tour’ which always ended up in Bramber and Upper Beeding at The Rising Sun pub. One of my earliest memories was around 1964 when I was 7 years old, my Mum and Dad treated me to some seafood. The winkles were fine but when I got to the whelk it was so chewy and hard (and horrible)! I always joke now that I started chewing it in 1964 and finished it in 1967!

    By Paul Clarkson (14/08/2014)
  • I have lots of memories of the Palace Per theatre. My Nan, Lillian Ruff, was an usherette there in the 1950s and 1960s. We used to get tickets to go regularly. I can remember seeing lots of shows there. The best bit was getting an ice cream from her tray during the interval.

    By Marilyn Coates (04/04/2015)
  • I’m hoping to jog the memories of some Palace Pier visitors with a photo of a pier-front sign I recently bought on ebay. I’m trying to figure out which year it relates to but I’m having trouble as most histories of the pier don’t document which years certain attractions ran.  If this brings back memories for anyone I’d love to hear them.  Thanks in advance.

    By Vicky Schildkamp (17/12/2015)
  • Hi Vicky, that Palace Pier sign is great. I just found a site that told me that Guinness was 6d. in June 1916 and 7d in Jan 1917. ref: I think the prices quoted were in Ireland though. Never the less, I think it does give you a pretty good indication of the date of the sign.

    By Eric Cook (26/10/2016)
  • My grandad was a security guard on the Palace Pier in about the 1940s/50s. There was an article in a local paper titled: ‘The loneliest man on Christmas Day’, as he was working that Christmas. I have not been able to find the article and wonder if anyone knows of it?

    By Amanda Tidey (18/04/2019)

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