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Were you there?

Some things never change. Sunny weather – seafront – crowds of people. But this was 1969 and you had to pay to go on the pier!

Do you remember what the pier was like in those days? Please share your memories with us by posting a comment below.

Palace Pier 1969
From the private collection of Chris Twigg

Comments about this page

  • I was born in 1959 and my dad Reg used to take me on the Pier in the 60s. I remember The Hall of Mirrors, the Candy floss, the Ghost train and much more.

    By Sue Burtenshaw (10/07/2013)
  • I was born in 1922, came to live in Brighton in 1928, and left to live in New Jersey, USA, in 1968. When I was 10 or 11, I used to go to the Palace Pier, entry one penny, to look at the video machines (cardboard flashcards), headed “What the Butler Saw,” etc. He didn’t see much! Sometimes we would fish off the pier but didn’t catch much. At Christmas, my parents would take my sisters and me to the theater at the end of the pier to see a pantomime.

    By Robert Green (10/07/2013)
  • My mates and I used to spend quite a lot of our time lurking about on the Palace Pier in the mid 1980s. We never really had any money to spend on the amusements etc but did often manage to rustle up enough for a cone of chips. The Pier still had a lot of its mothy old fashioned charm back then and was slightly rough around the edges. I remember the Pier radio that always played fairly old songs and True love ways by Buddy Holly always seemed to be playing, the sound of which would every so often, disappear from the speakers as the wind carried it away. I also seem to remember having to pay 10p entrance fee or something like that.

    By Jacky Pennock (11/07/2013)
  • What I’ll always remember is the fishing at the sea end. It was always packed during the mackerel season, when you could literally catch mackerel by the bag load. Does anyone remember the doughnut machine? It was a kind of mini conveyor belt setup that made ring doughnuts automatically.

    By Dave Laycock (11/07/2013)
  • Dave Laycock’s comment on the sea end of the Palace Pier reminds me of the jetty at the end of the pier, at which the paddle boats used to tie up to disembark and take on passengers to go to and from Worthing and Eastbourne, I believe. These paddle boats took part in the rescue of our soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940, but were sunk by the Germans and were never replaced.

    By Robert Green (13/07/2013)
  • I remember the doughnut machine and even today if I smell any sort of frying it takes me right back to the end of the Palace Pier.

    By J. Attoe (27/07/2013)
  • I was in Brighton from 1989 till 1993. I remember the doughnuts at the pier very well. I still regard it’s the best I ever had. Pier is one of places I would go if I had pressures from study.

    By Zack (25/08/2013)
  • Hi everyone, I loved the sixties with all the mods and rockers. I was a mod and was about 16 years old. Shirley Sue and myself used to go every Sunday to the Florida rooms. We also went to all the coffee bars and the starlight rooms at the bottom of Montpelier Road. They were great times. We all wore full length brown suede coats which we saved up out of our wages to buy -  about 50 pounds then which was a lot of money seeing we only earnt about 3 pounds 10 shillings in old money. Brighton has always been special to me – the pier which was the Palace Pier then and not the Brighton Pier. Bob and I still go down there now and always will. If anyone remembers me get in touch

    By Sue Jenner nee Chapman (28/08/2013)
  • i was born in Brighton in 1942, and as one of four girls we were taken on the pier many many times. It was always a treat for us, we just loved the whole seafront and pier – great fun, and very happy memories.

    By Joyce Blackman (29/08/2013)
  • I grew up in Brighton in the 50s and remember very well both piers, the Palace Pier and the West Pier but loved the Palace Pier most of all. We used to spend whole days on the pier, loved the dodgems and the exhibiton situated behind the helter skelter which had a display of famous buildings made entirely of matchsticks! Often wonder what happened to that particular attraction, does anyone else remember it? Happy, happy childhood days.

    By Chas (08/10/2013)
  • I remember in the late 80s to early nineties, a woman in a water tub and the men paid to throw water sponges at her anyone, remember that?

    By Shelly Regan (23/10/2013)
  • In reply to Chas (08/10/13) I too remember the models. They were part of the Richold Collection, all made by hand by Richard Old, in fretwork. The collection was sold off/broken up? in the sixties. In the early seventies I was working for a local transport firm and had to collect the model of Milan Cathedral from a building society office in London and took it to Burton Constable near Hull.

    By Bob Hatley (27/11/2013)
  • Going down the Pier was a special treat. I do remember that there were amazing baked potatoes with butter and slices of honeydew melon available. The West Pier used to have a banner declaring “The West Pier Is The Best Pier” which basically was true, so much more of what you would expect a pier to be. Such a sad loss to our town as of course was the Palace Pier which has been degraded to the state it is in today.

    By Phil (02/04/2014)
  • Does anyone remember the bumper cars? They were on the seafront, used to spend hours hanging around there. Way too young for the guys that worked them. And the meat and potato pie shop up Kemptown, we used to get lunch then make for the seafront, spend all day there then home for tea. Always remember the summers seemed to last for ever and nearly always hot, hot, hot!.

    By Rosemary Appleton [Trigwell] (08/04/2014)
  • I used to work for the William’s family who ran the Jacket Potato and Donut shops as well as the Candy Floss kiosks. Started working for them in the late 60’s and had a fantastic time. The donut machines were imported from the States and were the best I have ever tasted. And at 6d each we were always busy!

    By Chris Feek (24/08/2014)
  • Editor: Jane, I’m afraid we have had to delete your comment as, due to Data Protection laws, we cannot publish requests for other people’s current whereabouts.

    By Jane Newbould (02/11/2014)
  • I worked on the West pier as a rope boy and Hastings pier, Palace pier and Eastbourne pier as driver. I worked the boat at the Palace pier for about 25 seasons. I have many happy memories of the people who worked there. Keith who ran the dodgems,ghost train and helter skelter, Andy ran the rifle range and and gift shop, Bill Brookes the pier master, Morry who had the jewellery shop, his  wife and daughter Wendy also had a gift shop, son Bob sold burgers at the front of the pier, Bob’s wife Teresa had a cuddly toy kiosk. The doughnuts were the best but I remember a rotary fryer and halfway round a paddle would flip the doughnut over. Long hard happy days! 

    By Alan (11/03/2015)
  • Hi Sue Jenner. I think I remember you. I used to go all the time to The Starlight, The Florida, The Barn and everywhere us Mods used to frequent.  I hung out with Stephanie Browne, Carol Noble, Lesley Pressley and my aunt/uncle, Esther and Ben Royce had a shop in Queens Road and used to make leather/suede jackets, coats and they made a copy of a Levi jacket and a mini skirt in beige leather for me!  I thought I was the bee’s knees!

    By Geri Adams (19/09/2015)
  • Hi Alan, l remember you on the speed boat. I used to have the darts stall between the archery and your ticket kiosk. All the small businesses where family-owned and everyone knew everyone else. The ghost train, dodgems, archery and helter skelter were all managed by Keith for the Pier Company. I worked for Keith on the archery and Ghost Train before buying the rifle range and darts stall from Morry Franks and running them for two seasons until the Noble Organization took over the pier and got rid of all the tennanted businesses. A lot of families lost their livelihood at that time around 1980.

    By Dave Batchelor (24/03/2016)
  • As an impressable youth, I remember the What the Butler Saw machines. You  put a penny in, wound the handle and it flicked cards showing ladies undressing. How exciting!

    By John Hewitt (04/10/2016)
  • Born in Brighton but left (after 40 years) in 1988 for North Shropshire.

    Spent many happy hours on the PALACE PIER as the (then) fiancee worked there most weekends in the summer. I remember the late 60s fads of the Gonks and other gifts from the Marbeline Bazzar, also the delectable Donuts from the far end opposite the bumper car track and adjacent Fish & Chips. Later there for a visit from the Daleks and Jon Pertwee as Dr Who and several encounters with the Carry on Crowd from 68-75 including Sid James et-al. Also remember the staff wore mock Naval Uniforms as the Pier was then run like a ship.

    Shame about the storm damage in the early 80s but building was massively expensive to maintain but like most things, they don’t last forever.


    By Norman Porcher (Oswestry) (10/11/2016)
  • To Norman Porcher (my cousin), I have put loads of info on this site, if you put my name in search you will find it, I have put a bit on our uncle Les, go to places / intro to Kemp Town/ first petrol pumps in Brighton. And I have put things on Endeavour site, hope you are well, long time no see.

    By Terry Hyde (12/11/2016)
  • I remember when it was a tanner to get on the pier. But  we soon made it back banging the penny machines before we got chased out by Norman and Beardy as we called him. Loved them doughnuts – you could get misshaped ones a bit cheaper.

    By Terry (13/11/2016)
  • Happy days, I remember as a lad 8-9 years old Dad would give me 2/6 half a crown, and that was my bus fare, entrance on the pier and buy some bait to fish all day at the end of the pier, and still have enough for some doughnuts, which I still love now. 

    By tony smith (07/08/2018)
  • Hi Sue Jenner/ Chapman. I’m sure I must have known you as I was a Mod about your age. I guess we all just did first names in those days … there were so many of us. I went to the Zodiac, the Barn, later the 101, the Starlight. The Bosun later on and The Sussex. The Florida was my all-time favourite. I saw The Who there. We were young and life then was amazing. The Hideout coffee bar. Heres one … Does anyone remember the Beer Keller on Brighton seafront? Friends of mine and Steve Ferrone, later average white band hung out there. The Top Rank Suite. I got banned from there for 3 months because my mate wasn’t dancing with his girlfriend and the bouncers didn’t like it Oh and before any of this who remembers Hollingbury youth club. The Palace Pier was great. The manager back then. Mr Everett lived in my street In Hollingbury. I knew his son and daughter well. I had a TV 175 and never wore a helmet just a bush hat and stadium yellow glasses back then. I really wanted a burgundy ( Ok, Maroon) leather coat. I bought the skins from Friends for Leather in Bond Street ( Brighton) and had a tailoress at Fiveways make it for me. My Mum always said,” I lived above my means “. She was an usherette at the Hippodrome in Brighton. Anyway, I digress. So picture this: Me at 17 in black polo neck, Maroon leather coat, Tan trousers from Sammy Gordon’s and Brown suede and leather shoes from Toppers, yeah Carnaby Street. The weekend I went by train to London to get them ( Amazon didn’t exist then) Al Green was performing at the Staircase club in Wardour Street. Brighton is my hometown no matter where I go, I’m still a Mod, hairstyle and music hasn’t changed. Remember the dance called the painter? Anyway, Sue, we must have known each other. Was Bob around in those Halcyon days? Remember the Penny-farthing and The Whisky a go-go and the Scandinavia. The Shoreline club in Bognor. Wasn’t it an incredible time?

    By Johnny Watton (11/12/2019)
  • Ok you guys. We are the last of the greatest generation. We were Mods . We changed society into something good. For good. The sixties was a great time to be young. Bring on your memories , you know, the memories that are warm and locked away inside of you . Let’s do it. Johnny.

    By Johnny (16/12/2019)
  • Hello Johnny, our paths must have crossed many times back then, because I can relate to all the places you have mentioned even Carnaby Street and Bognor. It was fatal to even look in Sammy Gordons window because he would be out and try and drag you in to buy something. Truly happy times, the clothes the music and places to go, something I don’t think the modern generation of today have experienced.

    By Tony Smith (07/01/2020)
  • Hi Tony Smith, your name rings a bell somwhere in my foggy 70 something brain. Sammy Gordon, I had to walk down Trafalgar Street every working day as I was a train commuter and I made sure that I was on the other side of the street and looking in those shop windows on my way down the street or else Sammy would have you in his shop measuring your inside leg for a fitting toot sweet. Geri Adams uncle Ben Royce made me leather and suede jackets two of which I still have, still fit and still use occasionally, the black and red Bronx style motorcycle jacket to this day , testimony to his craftmanship. Tony, did you go to Stanmer School or live in Bevendean??

    Mick Glew

    By Michael Glew (29/01/2020)
  • Yes Mick to both , again Happy Days

    By tony smith (19/02/2020)
  • Hello Mick, yes to both.

    By Tony Smith (21/02/2020)
  • Hi can anyone help please? I am writing a book set in 1968, part of it is in Brighton. Does anyone know how much it cost to go on the pier in 1968 please? How much did it cost to go onto the dodgems ? Many thanks.
    Carol ( Canada)

    By Carol Harradine (27/06/2020)
  • I was born in 1944 and I remember the Palace Pier very well. It was a treat to go there…candy floss…ghost train and lots more… and a doughnut machine.
    I think the 1960’s in Brighton were a great time and even my children and grandchildren are really interested to hear about it and see old photos.

    By Deryn Bell (05/07/2020)
  • Alan Sadler I was your rope boy in Palace Pier,Paul Williams,I also worked for Keith Quick who ran the Dodgems and Ghost Train,great times,and Dave I remember you working the Archery on weekends when you weren’t at Uni,the 70s were amazing and I’ve some unbelievable memories. 😜👍

    By Paul Williams (11/04/2023)

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