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A trip down memory lane?

I hope that these six photographs will enable many of you to take a trip down memory lane; to remember a West Street of the past, maybe a place of your lost youth? I would love to read your memories of this time, please share them by posting a comment below. Or you could send them to me at:-

The first photograph shows the top of West Street with Horne Bros on the corner of North Street. Did you go there to be fitted for a suit? Or maybe you bought one off the peg? Across North Street and on the corner, the tall building facing into West Street was the White Lion Hotel, the ground floor being occupied by Barclays Bank who vacated their offices in 1957. The building was demolished in 1977 and replaced by the present Boots store. The Eight Bells public house stood on West Street for over a hundred years before it was demolished. Did you ever go in there for a drink?

Photo 1: West Street: click on the image to open a large view in a new window

Photo 2: West Street: click on the image to open a large view in a new window

The second photograph shows the frontage of Ritz Amusements. This site has a long history of being involved in entertainment. In 1867 it was the West Street Concert Hall; it has also been a roller skating rink, a large cinema and most famously, Sherrys Dance Hall which, together with The Regent Ballroom, dominated Brighton’s nightlife for many years. Did you ever visit Sherrys? What about Ritz Amusements? Did you ever blow your pocket money on the machines?

Photo 3: West Street click on the image to open a large view in a new window

Photo 4: West Street click on the image to open a large view in a new window

The third photograph of 77 West Street was taken in 1966. Once described as a “commodious and commanding family mansion”, it was considered to be one of the best houses in West Street during the mid-19th century. It remained in private occupation until 1881. Just before the photograph was taken, South Eastern Gas Board gave up the building after 83 years occupation. The fourth photograph shows 51/2/3 West Street, at the corner of Duke Street, in April 1963. The corner building was erected in 1867 after widening of the north side of Duke Street. It was demolished and replaced by Guardian Assurance Company building in 1964.

Photo 5: West Street click on the image to open a large view in a new window

Photo 6: West Street click on the image to open a large view in a new window

Photograph number five shows the S.S. Brighton which opened in 1934, billed as the largest covered sea-water swimming pool in the world. It was soon converted to a famous ice rink, home to ice spectaculars and the Brighton Tigers ice-hockey team. In 1959 it became known at the Brighton Palladium and the photograph shows the advertising for its ice show at Christmas 1963. For the first time pop shows were introduced starring entertainers like Cliff Richard, Lonnie Donogan and Petula Clark to mention a few.  The last photograph shows the Stadium on the day it closed down, 17 October 1965, at the end of the Conservative Party Conference.

Comments about this page

  • I spent a fair amount of time down West Street in my youth. Used to go ice skating there about 1961/2 every Saturday morning, one of my teachers from Margaret Hardy used to go as well. I also went in the arcades with a boyfriend (Derrick Johnston) known as Des, he usually seemed to win. This was during 1963/4. Also bought my first leather jacket from Millets, had to save up for 3 weeks when I first started work in 1964. I’ve still got it and would never part with it. I can still get in it although there’s not quite so much room! When I moved to Nottingham I was wearing it on the train in 1965, and it’s still hanging in my wardrobe. Still a biker at 63 tomorrow!

    By Anne Newman (06/04/2012)
  • I remember going to Horne Bros in 1958 to be fitted out with my school uniform for Westlain and my Nan was horrified at the prices. In the shoe dept they had a machine that if you stood on it and looked down a wooden tube showed all the bones in your feet bathed in green light. Oh for the days before health and safety!

    By Robin King (23/04/2012)
  • I used to watch ice hockey and go to the wrestling every week in West Street in the sixties; sadly missed when it closed down.

    By Sue Adams (nee Cole) (08/01/2013)
  • Does anyone remember, or perhaps even have photos of, ‘The George Inn’, at the bottom of West Street, on the west side? It stood on the corner of West Street and Kent Street.

    By Philip Major (21/09/2013)
  • I remember The George at bottom of West Street. When I was very young I used to go there with my mum and used to sit inside at the bottom of a great big staircase while my mum was in the bar with her friends. There was a couple of other children that sat there as well -  the stairs used to go around quite a long way up a very old fashioned building.

    By Kathleen Catt (24/09/2013)
  • I first worked as a typist for the Guardian Assurance Company in 1964. I worked in a typist pool in a long row of old fashioned typewriters.  I can’t remember surnames but I worked with two old ladies called Muriel and Vera. Our supervisor was Margaret, and I remember Carol who became my best friend, Sue Rolfe and Angela Rees.

    By Lesley Miles (12/03/2014)
  • Does anyone remember the Italian cafe in West Street? I think it was called Di Mascio’s? My grandmother (Lena Smith) used to work there. I remember visiting it with my mum and dad once.

    By Henry Page (21/03/2020)
  • In Kelly’s 1966, E.Di Mascio was at 70 West St, just below Boyces St.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (24/03/2020)
  • And can anyone remember exactly where The Barn was on West Street? It was a massively popular club in the 60s?

    By Jax (04/05/2021)
  • I think it was 58 West Street, just above Boyces Street.

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (04/05/2021)
  • So much of my life was spent in West Street.
    The amusement arcade near the bottom (Was it called The Crystal Rooms?) where too much pocket money disappeared.
    The Model Aerodrome for all my slot racing needs.
    Uncle Sams for a nice sit down burger.
    The Queen Anne for a rowdy pint.
    Kingswest for movies and ice skating.
    The Top Rank Suite for live bands (Elvis Costello., Third World, Ian Dury, Pogues etc etc)
    There was a cinema near the bottom before Kingswest was built – I remember seeing Straw Dogs there.
    Plus it was always a good place to hang out on New Years Eve.

    By Marc Turner (05/05/2021)
  • Interesting Kathleen Catt asks if anyone remembers The George in West Street. One of my Ancestors (many times Great Grandmother) bought the pub in 1834. She had borrowed £700 from the Son-in-Law. Obviously she was not so good at running the pub as a widow and ended up insolvent in 1837. Her husband had owned a few pubs in Brighton before he died, including the White Hart in Upper Russell Street and Russell Arms in Russell Street. Both long since buried under the second Churchill Square.
    My Grandfather has on his WW1 records a memo sent by the Royal Artillery to 34 West Street. No idea what the building was during that time. I notice ‘General Building’ is written on the top palisade of the building. If anyone knows I would be interested as I like writing my Ancestry stories.

    By Ivor Williams (26/03/2022)
  • Kelly’s 1914 shows #34 West St as-
    Mrs K.Woodhams (Monteville House)
    Edwin Fehrsen Woodhams
    Bass,Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd, brewers

    By Dr Geoffrey Mead (26/03/2022)
  • Hi, Philip Major, Kathleen Catt and Ivor Williams,
    Concerning your comments above about The George Inn, West Street / Kent Street. Is the bit of building on the left of this picture The George? (It would be wonderful if anyone has pictures they could share.)
    For those who don’t know, it was where the fugitive King Charles II stayed on his last night before he was taken to France in 1651 by Captain Tattersell, who bought The Old Ship Hotel with money given him by the king for his service. (P285)

    By James Clarke (27/08/2023)

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