A sneaky BabyCham
I was born in 1947 near Seven Dials and so was the right age to enjoy the days of the coffee bars. The Zodiac will never be forgotten; I met my past husband there. I spent hours over hot chocolates, listening to the latest on the jukebox, then popping across the road, and down the little street opposite to the Seven Stars pub. I used to have a BabyCham with my friends; we felt so, so daring as we were all under-age. The White Pigeons was a great place, as was the Scandinavia and the quieter Penny Farthing in East Street. Of course there was The Cottage up the little alley off Middle Street. I worked there for Mike many a night to save for holidays; up in the attic the boys sometimes played cards.
Working at Hannington’s
These memories overlap the period when I worked as part of the window display team at Hannington’s. I remember the endless basements and upper corridors linking all the historic workrooms and storerooms. My fellow junior Stella and I were always a little scared going to the basement under the East Street section. It appeared that behind closed doors, the tunnels would connect to those believed to link the Royal Pavilion to Mrs Fitzherbert’s home. I was also taught to use the wonderful “cord and plug” telephone switchboard at Hannington’s, and remember being so distraught when I once carelessly unplugged the chairman Sir Ivor.
Fashionable ‘beatnik’ look
I often tell friends about the Chinese Jazz Club in the Aquarium buildings. Wow! Was that great jiving exercise? I could keep going for hours in those days. I remember we also went to the dances at the YMCA in the New Steine. One of my great dance memories was when the jazz groups/jam sessions happened on a sunny, summer weekend on the fish-market hard. The ‘beatnik’ look was popular then. I wore an old shirt of my dad’s over my swimwear, a trend of the time, when dancing/jiving there. Happy days never to be forgotten.
Do you remember?
Were you part of the ‘coffee bar scene’? Do you remember places like The Zodiac or The Cottage? Maybe you went to different places? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.