Invasion of the Mods

In the sixties Brighton was well known for the regular clashes between ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’. At one time the local police came up with a good strategy to keep the warring factions from causing mayhem in the town.

The police had a plan
When the London train arrived and the youths filtered down to the Palace Pier, the police herded them all down onto the shingle and patrolled the lower promenade,to stop them leaving. From time to time, there would be a stampede towards the east end of the beach in an attempt to get off at Dukes Mound. The police were way ahead of them and promptly chased them all back again.

Home on the last London train
This continued until the last London train was due out, when the lads and lasses were allowed to leave. It couldn’t have been much of a day out for the young people, but I wouldn’t mind betting that those youngsters, if they remember it today, think of it as a grand experience.

Comments about this page

  • Are there any Mods about that used to hang out at the King Alfred Bowling Alley? All I can remember is Chipmunk OXO Crisps.That would have been 1964.

    By Chris Edwards (10/09/2009)
  • Hi Ron and Chris. I was a wayward 13 year old in ’64 and used to get along the Alfred on the back of an older boy’s scooter. Unfortunately I don’t remember any names. What about The Zodiac coffee bar anyone? I used to stuff pillows in my bed and sneak down there. And a little later saw the Who (didn’t know who they were ha!). But I was knocked out by the music, they were at a place at the bottom of West Streer that later became the Barn (I think) and even possibly the Pink Coconut in more recent years! Then there was The Staright Rooms in Montpelier Road – around 1965/66?

    By Glenn Botterill (28/10/2009)
  • The “Zodiac” coffee bar was above ‘Hiltons’ shoe shop at the bottom of St James St. I can remember the Kings and Queen’s pin ball machine and the Wurlitzer Lyric jukebox, (push the buttons C 3 for what becomes of a broken heart. The toilets were none existent and you had to use the coach station across the road in Manchester St. I spent so many hours in there, I think coke or a coffee was a shilling.

    By Richard Pearce (19/02/2011)
  • I’m glad someone else remembers the Starlight rooms and the Pop In. I used to go there quite a lot, usually before or after a trip to the ‘Scan’ as the Scandinavia coffee bar was known. The Starlight rooms were a mixture of music rooms and dance rooms with different bands, artists or a D.J. playing records in each room, From what I remember it was a fire hazard and would never be allowed to open these days with ‘health and safety’ controls. I seem to remember a resident group, Bobby Sansom and ? (can’t remember) but I do remember ‘Millie’ singing ‘My Boy Lollipop’. It was a far cry from the ‘Scan’ where serious Mods used to listen to Georgie Fame singing ‘Yeah, Yeah’, or Prince Buster, the Animals’ ‘House of the Rising Sun’, the Kingsman’s ‘Louie, Louie’ or John Lee Hooker. From the ‘Scan’ it would be onwards to Castle Square (Electricity House) where all the Mods and scooters gathered before going home.

    By Wayne Doidge (12/04/2011)
  • I also remember the Starlight Rooms. It was one of the “in” places for real mods. My then girlfriend (now wife of 45 years) and I went there often. We would delight in seeking out other mods who went to the Lyceum Ballroom in the Strand as we had a mod jive that was unique. Even now we sometimes see couples doing the Lyceum Jive. Would be interested in hearing from others who remember it. Lyceum mods also had the longest vents in the back of suit jackets, some right up to the shoulder blades.

    By Graham Chapman (26/09/2011)
  • Bobby Sansom’s band were called The Giants, they played regularly around the Brighton area and have played a few times at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. You can read about the early 60s Brighton music scene at Bobby Sansom is well remembered for having a residency at Jenkinsons Cabaret Bar at the Top Rank on West Street in the 70s. Bobby now lives in California where he still performs as a singer style impersonator, check him out at

    By Michael Brittain (28/09/2011)
  • I grew up in Brighton in the 60s and liked to think of myself as a ‘mod’ at the time. It was a constant round of visiting the coffee bars every night of the week, but favourite haunts were in the early days the Saturday morning Club at the Regent where we would dance away to local group ‘The Blue Flames’. Then upon reaching a more mature age of at least 14 -15yrs, the Florida, The Scan and The Starlight, but one of the best was The Barn, later to become the one o one club. It was bottom of West Street, going down on the left, tucked away down an alley and reached by a long staircase outside into an enormous room. Groups such as The Small Faces and John Mayall Bluesbreakers often performed. Does anyone remember this place?

    By Linda Warburton (Was Sims) (06/11/2012)
  • Barn? The place you describe sounds like the Combination.

    By Elaine Edwards (10/12/2012)
  • I remember going to the 101 with my friend David who worked out that as the pass-out hand stamp was a brown ink mark you could get the same effect by using an unrolled dog-end, smearing the tobacco on the palm and telling the bouncer the sweat had made it run! Worked a treat.

    By Geoffrey Mead (10/12/2012)
  • The Barn was the best Linda. It’s hard to remember it now but I do remember seeing the Small Faces and other groups and the bumping and grinding, everybody squeezed tight and not to mention plenty of girls. We used to park our scooters outside with maybe 20-30 in a bright sparkling row.

    By Michael Small (30/12/2012)
  • I used to “hang out” at the King Alfred in the mid ’60s (where I met my hubby to be – 41 years married and still very happy) with all the local Hove schools kids who went there. When I was a mod I too went down The Scandanavia and Starlight Rooms, must have been 13/14 – your hand was stamped to get in and out. Went to The Barn with hubby and a club at the bottom of Preston Street in the basement – maybe where the Chinese eaterie is now. Hubby sold his Lambretta and bought my engagement ring! When I used to go along to his house in Portland Road – before the flats were built – he was always stripping it down with his mates and rebuilding it. I always have a laugh when they call Paul Weller “The Mod Father” – you wish! I also saw the Rolling Stones at the old Hove Town Hall – tickets weren’t £1,000 plus, but 8s/6P (42p) Brian Jones was playing with them then – I wish I could leap about the stage like Mick Jagger!

    By Patricia Maggs (07/01/2013)
  • I was 18 in 1963 and I met my first husband in the Zodiac coffee bar over Hiltons, St James St. My friends and I also went to the Chateau Rouge coffee bar down West St, the Penny Farthing coffee bar in East St. Tuesday nights dancing was the Florida rooms down the Aquarium steps and Thursday night was record night at the Regent in Queens Road. I can still remember the excitement going up in the lift. From there we would race down to Electricity House to watch all the Mod scooter boys lining up before catching our last buses home. My dad used to be waiting on the doorstep for me pacing up and down! There was another coffee bar over the shops at the beginning of Western Road near the Clock Tower before they were pulled down to make way for Churchill Square but I can never remember he name. Great times. Bobby Sansom married a school friend of mine, Susan Baker. I lost track of what happened to them.

    By Jackie Thomas, formerly Parker, nee Jones (12/04/2013)
  • I was on the beach when the invasion happened. I was 9 at the time and I remember them climbing over the very high wall. Did a youngster fall and die? We ran like mad back to the bus stop at the Old Steine and I never told Mum and Dad what happened!

    By Jill Aberdeen (16/06/2013)
  • Further to my comments above I have recently found the name of the coffee bar over the the shops in Western Road. You entered around the back up stairs, it was the Istanbul and they had a dance area and a jukebox. Oh the memories, it was a great time to be a teenager.

    By Jackie Thomas/Parker Nee Jones (03/07/2013)
  • Jackie, if you enter Istanbul Coffee Bar in the Search Box top right of page several hits come up. I have pasted my own memory of it here- “Nobody has mentioned the Istanbul…it was accessed up an iron fire escape at the back of the Western Road shops from Grenville Place, now long gone under Churchill Square. It was the haunt of Turkish Cypriots and lots of very young English girls in white knee socks! I was a young 15 and more interested in the ‘demi-monde’ atmosphere rather than the schoolgirls…this was not true of the Cypriots! The owner, Mustapha, sold wonderful chocolate cup cakes with very thick choc icing, much better than anything from a cake shop or Sainsburys. By Geoffrey Mead (11/09/2009)”

    By Geoffrey Mead (03/07/2013)
  • Does anyone remember a Mod called Terry Legon who came from Peacehaven and had THE best scooter in Brighton in 1965 – emerald green and chrome. Was down at The Barn and heard the news that he was killed going round the bend by the Pavilion. If anyone remembers him let me know, Geri Adams

    By Geraldine Davies (23/08/2013)
  • We loved the 60s with all the Mods and Rockers; we were Mods, Sue Shirley and myself. We went to the Florida Rooms most Sunday evenings, you had your hand stamped so you could go in and out. Then we would go to the Barn, down West Street I think it was, and also the Starlight Rooms at the bottom of Montpelier Road. They were all such good times. Does anyone out there remember us?

    By Sue Jenner (07/09/2013)
  • To Geraldine Davies: I knew Terry Legon, he was sadly missed; but never forgotton. Do you remember  King Jerry; The Barn; Starlight Rooms; Florida Rooms; Tudor Bar; The Zodiac; The Cottage? All great places. I will never forget any of them. Great days; Great people.

    By Roger Graham-Brown. (21/09/2013)
  • Sue Jenner: I was a Mod back then  and went to all the places you went to – may remember you, long time ago! What about Blaybers; the scooter shop; Clark the Barbers next to the Regent cinema? Email me if you like to talk about the good old days:

    By Roger Graham-Brown (21/09/2013)
  • Hi Geri I remember you. You married Denny Davis and you were always with Linda White, Ken Newton, Dorrie ?, Pat Kirkwood (sadly no longer with us). My boys went to school with Lee (Pats boy) and Danny (Dorries boy). Denny was friends with my late partner Alex. Not seen him for a while.

    By Marian Gregson (11/10/2013)
  • Hi Marion – yes I was friendly with Pat Kirkwood, Dorrie, Linda White, Stephanie Brown, Carol Noble and Lesley Pressley, and I was married to Denny Davies.  Please email me for a ‘memories’ catch up!

    By Geraldine Davies (08/11/2013)
  • I remember all the names mentioned here. I went to Davigdor School with Geri Adams and Stephanie Browne and Lesley Pressley. I went to all the places mentioned 1961 till 1967. I miss those good times. Do you remember me?

    By Pat Sinclair (18/08/2014)
  • Hello Pat Sinclair – was at the kiosk yesterday along from my beach hut.  Lost your phone number but would like to meet up for a chat when you are free. 
    I was thinking of arranging a ‘Starlight’ re-union night would any of you out there be interested?  Let me know with your email please.  Geri Adams –

    By Geri Adams (Davies) (18/09/2014)
  • Brilliant reading all of these comments! I was involved in the Mod scene in Brighton in the 60s & still am at the ripe old age of 69! There are many names on here that I remember from my time working at “Blabers Scooter Centre” & it was us that sold that beautiful green & chrome Lambretta reg no CUF 59 C to the sadly missed Terry Legon. Would love to hear from others on here.

    By Adrian Tincknell (19/09/2014)
  • I remember Blabers; at the bottom of Dyke Road just up from the Clock Tower. I had parts of my Vespa GS chromed there. If I remember it had a lift to take the scooters up to the workshop. It was a very good shop; bought loads of stuff there. If anyone else remembers it drop me a line at

    By Roger Graham-Brown (20/09/2014)
  • Hi Geraldine. I remember Terry especially when I hear the Rolling Stones’ record ‘Get off of my cloud’, it was a hit at the time of the tragedy. I remember we all used to congregate at Castle Square and on a Thursday night roar off up to the Regent with our porky pie hats and high neck collar shirts – it’s the smartest we’ve ever been. I also remember the Starlight Rooms, Scandinavia and the Zodiac. I recall a coffee bar along Eastern Road, I think it was called the Zanzibar, where we made cup of coffee last all night.

    By Colin West (03/09/2015)
  • I remember the barn at the bottom of West Street in 1965. A man called Tom ran the club, also the Florida rooms and the Starlight Rooms.

    By Tony (11/10/2015)
  • What memories, I used to work as a Sunday boy at J Lyons tea shop, bottom of St James Street. After work we congregated in the pub opposite and then wandered down Manchester Street to the pub at the far end, before crossing over to the Florida Rooms to watch Geno or Jimmy James etc. I recall Mod Gerry being the  DJ there occasionally. Does anybody recall any memories of “The Motion” a top local Mod band at the time?

    By John Ledward (03/12/2015)
  • Patricia Maggs, I was at Hove Town Hall to see the Stones when you did. My friend Lynne Crumpler and I were right at the front squashed against the stage. We talked to Bill Wyman for ages. He was a really nice guy.

    By Barbara Wells (20/01/2016)
  • I was there as well. Even had my picture in the Argus. I remember all the clubs and coffee bars. As my dad was a tailor I had the sharpest mod suits. Those were the days.

    By John Starr (12/05/2016)
  • Great to see so many people still remember those days in the ’60s. I was a regular at the Scan and remember The Barn and Starlight Rooms so well as I was a member of a local mod band, The Alex Lane Group. Anyone remember us playing at The Starlight on Friday nights? We also played at The Barn regularly and supported The Small Faces there one Saturday night around 1965!

    Nik Apostolides (1/9/2016).


    By Nik Apostolides (01/09/2016)
  • Terry Legon – he was my wife’s cousin and we’ve sadly buried his mum, June, today. She never got over Terry’s death and is now at rest next to him at Peacehaven cemetery. Personally I remember Brighton as a mod with the Richmond / Ham guys. We would camp at Sheepcote Valley each weekend. I remember a group called the Coloured Raisins (?) who played in a club in Montpelier Road. Does this sound right?

    By Graham Baughan (16/02/2017)
  •  I remember seeing The Motion one Sunday afternoon at The Barn in West Street, it was the first time I had heard the song “get ready” originally sung by The Temptations  . The Motion were a very good local band.

    By Dave Maxey (27/10/2017)
  • I had a Lambretta Li. Metallic blue, chrome panels, spots, mirrors, with a red leopard skin seat and spare wheel cover. I was always down the Starlight Rooms and ‘Scan’. As well as other coffee bars and clubs. The scooters lined up Montpelier Road. I remember the ‘Mod’ clothes shop just round the corner. My first tailored leather jacket. Happy days!

    By the way to Nik Apostilides. Were you friends with Alan Sheppard? I knew his brother Brent very well.

    By Jim Lewis (24/02/2018)
  • Hi all, I was 15 at the time and a roady for the motion their manager was Ray Banks. I think he went and worked for CBS RECORDS.
    The singer was Ian.
    Lead guitarist Ray Mellor.
    I think the drummer was Ray as well.
    They played in Hastings and I met:-

    Gary Pinnell.

    By Gary Pinnell (31/01/2021)
  • In relation to the ‘Istanbul’ I think it might also have been known as the ‘Black Cat’ or was another coffee bar situated in ‘Grenville Place’ . My mother and I lived in a basement room for a short time in ‘Grenville Place’ in the 1950s.
    In relation to the ‘barn’ I am pretty sure that it was also once known as the ‘Combination’. Talk about a trip down memory lane and could any of us have imagined we would be living through what we are living through now.

    By Reginald Gennaro Woodhouse (19/02/2021)
  • Does anyone remember the Tin Hut it was in a basement in Grand Parade.Used to be open on a Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evenings. There was a juke box and bar, selling soft drinks, it was run by John and his partner who’s name I cannot remember. My friends and I were mods and used the Whiskey a lot. On a Sunday the London boys came down on their scooters. In 1964 at the age of 22 I met my husband in the Quadrant pub opposite the Regent where we used to go a lot Thursday and Saturday nights. Trying to remember the Bouncers name if there was a fight he would put them in the lift and throw them out at the ground floor I knew his nephew very well but can’t remember his name either.

    By Rosalind Hughes nee Sullivan (22/02/2021)
  • Forgot to mention about mama who would be on the door at the Whisky. I think she was Greek she was always dressed in black. Also remembered seeing Screaming Lord Sutch at the Florida Rooms. More memories.

    By Rosalind Hughes nee Sullivan (22/02/2021)
  • Geri, I can tell you about Terry Legon who was my boyfriend at the time of the accident. I was the one lying in the hospital with half her face smashed up and a broken arm but no-one was interested in that. My family hid the press reports so I never heard much about the funeral. It’s all a bit of a blur to this day, but I have a couple of photos of him.

    By Sue (18/12/2021)
  • Does anyone remember the Mod Ball at the Lyceum Theatre in London in the 60s? I saw Mick Fleetwood and Peter Green on stage. All the Carry On Team, Morecambe and Wise. Just a non stop stream of celeb’s just on stage to be seen and just say hello. I stood next to Captain Mainwaring on the steps outside enjoying an enormous cigar. I also remember George Lazenby slagging off the James Bond franchise. Was anyone else there?

    By Sidney Chambers (01/04/2023)

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