A 'stamp out' at the Starlight

March of the Mods - released in 1964
From the private collection of Jennifer Drury

Celebrating great events

As we moved into the 1960s I remember the Union Jack flags were hung out of windows to celebrate the start of a new decade, something you do not see now. There were also banners and flags hung out to celebrate Princess Margaret’s wedding to Lord Snowdon, then Anthony Armstrong-Jones.

The circus comes to town

A great event was when the circus came to town. They paraded along Western Road on their way to Hove Park. The traffic was diverted while cages of animals travelled through the street, and young women rode on the necks of elephants or on horseback. There were so many people I had to climb on one of those green boxes that contain grit, so that I could see it all.

Pink Floyd in 1967

I remember many Sunday evenings at the Top Rank Suite dancing to Syd Dean and his Orchestra; I think they started playing there when the famous Regent Dance Hall closed down. Does anyone remember doing the March of the Mods or the Can Can? I remember buying tickets to see a Pink Floyd concert at the Top Rank, it must have been about 1967.  But my favourite haunt was the Starlight Rooms. There was no license to serve alcohol; you would get your hand stamped so you could go to the pub across the road for a drink, then return to the Starlight. It was always pitch dark in there and I don’t recall any seats or tables – but was terrific.

Do you remember?

OK now is the time to come clean. Were you a Mod or a Rocker? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.

Comments about this page

  • This is a brilliant article I really enjoyed it! My Dad tells me lots of stories about going to Brighton on scooters from London and how the Mods had such a fierce rivalry with the Rockers. He told me of a friend who drove his scooter into the sea for a dare and totally wrote it off! Its great inspiration for my 60’s show!

    By James Goddard (13/02/2014)
  • I can remember dancing March of the Mods down the Top Rank with my boyfriend (now hubby) and his sister. He too had a Lambretta, which he sold to buy my engagement ring.
    Does anyone remember Saturday morning at the Regent for dancing?

    By Patricia Maggs (09/03/2014)
  • The Starlight was the best! Run by Lionel who used to be at The Regent and owned by Mo. All the scooters used to line up outside and we used to come off the beach at the week-end about 4pm and go to the Starlight until 6pm. There was a pub opposite run by Percy where we used to go for a drink as there was no alcohol in the Starlight. Those over 18 used to go to the Pop-In next door.  Does anyone have any photos of the Starlight please?

    By Geri Davies (was Adams) (19/09/2015)
  • I remember you Geri, we had some great times at the Starlight Rooms. The walls were wet with condensation on a busy night! I preferred the Florida Rooms where The Who played most weekends. Cost to get in for an all-night rave? All of two shillings and sixpence! You knew me as Jean Jefferies then. I now live in France.

    By Jean Barrett (24/09/2015)
  • Geri Davies, yes I have a pic of the Starlight taken from outside.

    I was born and lived most of my life in Brighton so I used to go to the Starlight Rooms every week and the Tudor Bar just down the road and also the Barn/Florida Rooms where The Who played most Thursday nights. rogergb1@live.com

    By Roger Graham-Brown (22/06/2016)
  • I was a mod in the sixties and watched the Small Faces in the barn, the Who in the Florida rooms, Geno Washington, Syd Dean at the Top Rank Suite. We had full length leather coats made at Royces in Queens Rd, wore suits on Sunday and Levis and boots for Friday and Saturday night fighting the rockers. French blues, dexedrin and purple hearts were readily available on nearly every corner. Loved Brighton in the sixties.

    By Barry Woolford (08/03/2017)
  • Ah memories of the 60’s. I was a mod, drawn on eyelashes, pansticked lips, stirrup trousers and a blue nylon Mac. Loved seeing the boys all dressed up in their tonic suits at the Top Rank. There was a group who would come down from Windsor – saw a few fights in the Tudor Bar! Had my first job at The Alliance Building Society in North Street but then they moved us out to spanking new offices at Hove Park. Had a great time, especially when Biba opened on Queens Road!!

    By vivien cunningham (13/03/2019)
  • Oh, how I wish I could just spend another year of those days down The Suite, The Barn , The Regent, The Pickwick, Saving up to buy a dress from SNOBS, or Biba, took me weeks. ballet pumps in fashion, all colours, from SHOE BOX off WEST ST , and our black patent vanity cases, our black and white earrings, black and white mini skirts with high boots and hot pants and suede clogs with over the knee stripped socks Dressed up I felt a million dollars, Motown was magical, us Mods were a happy bunch, and we knew how to Dance ! and Dress . memories of knickers and bras showing through our crochet dresses, because The Barn, had illuminated lighting still makes me smile as we didnt realize until someone told us.
    The Who at the Dome finished their gig by smashing up their guitars and the drum kit!! electrical sparks everywhere, scared us , such a waste of expensive kit when us youngsters would have given the earth to own even a simple guitar or drum kit. put me off them !! even at that young age. Went to see Jimmy Ruffin at THE SUITE , fantastic. the Suite was my thing, I danced and danced first on the dance floor and last off, oh wish I was back there, best time ever. I used to go to the HI lo in Fiveways they had a jukebox there and I loved the song “Build me up buttercup baby.” by the Foundations. so that went on and we would dance in the cafe. Motown, Mods and Music, THE THREE M’S = Magical !

    Gill Read nee Shephard known as lil Gill back then.

    By mrs Read (12/08/2019)
  • I remember going there ! There was a group (local) who were really good at doing songs by the Animals!
    Anyone remember The Cottage coffee bar! Think it was around middle street?

    By Linda smith (15/07/2020)
  • Yes Linda, The cottage cafe was just off of Middle street, mainly used by the Hippies of the 60’s, but others too, Tiny, It became Blind Lemon Alley, I so miss the 1960’s, we had such an amazing time with fab Motown, so many friends , and danced our socks off I loved the Animals too, Met my husband down the suite when I was just over 15, we have just recently celebrated our 49th Wedding Anniversary, who says young love doesn’t last lol I’d give my right arm to go back to the 60’s for a few weeks.

    By Gill (16/07/2020)
  • I was a bouncer at the Starlight in 1964 and Lionel managed to book Millie, the singer of “My boy lollypop” about a month before she got into the charts. The Starlight was absolutely heaving (no health and safety on people allowed then).
    There was another slightly more exclusive club upstairs, three of us bouncers were delegated to carry Millie onto the miniscule stage, we carried her horizontally onto and off the stage, I got the middle part of her, she was very gracious to us guys, we were all a little star struck. It was quite scary as we had never seen so many people in a small space. Happy days!

    By Clive Gale-Smith (22/08/2020)
  • I remember the Starlight rooms very well and the Pop In next door. Fred Ellen Hotel? I used to go to the Barn where I first saw The Faces, the Cottage, Jimmys where I saw Free. The Cadillac Club a disco with King Jerry – first time I heard Billy’s Bag by Billy Preston. I also went to the Combination – for coffee but the first coffee bar was the Scandinavia. does anyone remember any of these? Also club 66 at the College of Technology. Brighton was fantastic in the 60 and 70’s with fantastic clubs and all sorts of venues. The Suite and the Dome too. I saw many groups and I am an old woman now but those times were the best.

    By Angie nee Holgate (21/10/2023)

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