Childhood memories of the beach

Banjo Groyne, Brighton seafront

I enjoyed spending the day on the beach near Banjo Groyne, east of the present Peter Pan’s playground, on the way to the Brighton Marina. This groyne is shaped like a banjo.

The Volks Railway train used to cross over this crowded beach, going over our heads because the beach was then lower. Sometimes my brother used to throw stones up and try to hit the wheels of the train. I used to worry in case one of these pebbles hit the train and made it topple over onto us sitting underneath – of course it never did.

Comments about this page

  • A bunch of us used to go fishing here and my brother fished off of here also. Well – I watched – while the boys fished. This is where I experienced my first killing of a fish … I was horrified.

    By Fiona Coleman (nee: McKechnie) (23/05/2005)
  • I just finished recounting tales to my children about how we used to dive through car inner-tubes from the ‘Banjo Groyne’in the 70’s whilst the tide fell to breathtaking shallow depths! And low and behold, there is even a pickie to be found on Google! On returning to the UK after a lengthy absence, it was one of the first places that I visited and the memories flooded back..I closed my eyes and could nearly hear the sunburnt joy of screaming youngsters and picture the occasional fully clothed tourist that strayed further along from the pierfront with their trousers rolled up!. Any true local though would remember Uncle Jack’s puppet show..? Is the train still running..? I would be suprised!

    By Laurie Selby (12/12/2005)
  • The Banjo groyne was where I learnt to swim in the 50s. When I got the hang of swimming, I with other kids dived from the groyne into the lovely deep water from the round bit of the groyne. The tide seemed to stay in for ages. A friend of mine had a wood and canvas canoe that we played in for hours on the Banjo beach. Afterwards we would have to push this canoe up Dukes Mound to the top, and then home on a two wheel contraption. This canoe was a relic from the war and was covered in tar and heavy.

    By Mick Peirson (13/11/2006)
  • Ian Hunt from Alberta Canada made me giggle about the pebbles on the beaches. I too played on the Banjo groyne the same time as Ian. We kids could dash across those pebbles with no problem and no pain at all. We would laugh at the holidaymakers who wended their way to the water. Those with sandals or old plimsoles were ok. But those without any footwear had a struggle to make it to the water. Some took hours as though they were treading on hot coals, and others would shuffle down on their bums. When I go to the beach with my grandkids I realise how they felt, because I now struggle down to the water if I have forgotten my beach shoes just as the holidaymakers did all those years ago.

    By Mick Peirson (23/12/2006)
  • When I was seven in 1947, my cousin Joan, who was 18 dived off the banjo groyne and injured her spine. she ended up in a wheel chair for the rest of her short life. Such a tragedy for a bubbly young girl. I remember, she was in the land army at the time.

    By Harry Atkins (21/11/2007)
  • I’m pleased to see my 6 year old jumping off Banjo’s last summer into just the same deep clear water Ian and Mick describe. I note Harry’s warning though…personally, I surf there whenever the waves are right. It’s a great place to have a quietish spot of beach – even in August.

    By James Farrell (04/01/2008)
  • Like all those above, I remember the Groyne well. I was one of the many boys that used to fish there. Volks railway in the summer on other memories, what a wonderfull place it was. I frequently walked there – down Dukes Mound which came out on the opposite side of the beach – to the Groyne.

    By Paul Fleet (25/04/2008)
  • On the 25th of May, 1879, a man called George Perrin slit his own throat at the Banjo Groyne. He’d just murdered a baker named Charlotte Hill in an argument over a bowl of flour. The sea washes everything away, doesn’t it?

    By Catherine (12/08/2008)
  • Just to let Laurie Selby know that yes Volks railway still runs along the beach from the Palace pier to the Marina, I guess this must be the train to which you refer? I was on it on Sunday with my family and little grandson. Long may it remain, keep your hands off it Brighton council!

    By Iris Taylor (Panther) (30/09/2011)
  • I too used to fish off the Banjo Groyne in the early 1960s and distinctly remember wading into the English Channel on it and made a mighty cast out to where the Bass were (I thought) when a 10 pounder swam between my legs. I didn’t realise then that he/she was playing with me; it wasn’t till I got totally messed around by a Grouper, at 85ft in the Med, that the “penny dropped”!!

    By Joe Stoner (09/09/2021)

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