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Life on the beach

West Pier and beaches 1966
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton and Hove

Popularity of Dalton’s beach

One of the most popular parts of the beach was ‘Dalton’s beach‘, just east of the Palace Pier. On sunny days in summer, that beach was packed. You trod your way through masses of family groupings until you found a tiny space to fit yourself in. Tides made a difference to where you planted yourself. If the tide was coming in, those at the front had to keep moving back. Things were easier when the tide was going out and more of the beach was reclaimed.

Quite a walk to the sea

Once the tide had gone right out there was a huge swathe of sand. Kids made sandcastles while older children and adults enjoyed walking across the sand and then wading, slowly, into the sea. It was quite a walk. Some people had the necessary Lilos to enable them to float. Others had blown-up car inner tubes; good to lounge around in when the tide was coming in but potentially less so when it was going out. 

Which of the beaches did you like best? Share your memories by posting a comment below

Beach ettiquette

When you went swimming, you left your clothes in a pile, covered by your towel. No one thought that there was any chance of your things being stolen. The beach was covered with loads of people, covered in suntan lotion, lying on their backs trying to go a very dark brown. A tanned body, at that time, was also a ‘healthy’ body. We have learned a lot, since then.

The nudist beach

The beach to the west of the Palace Pier was popular, but no match for ‘Dalton’s beach‘; I do not know why. Much further east, was the beach to the left of the Banjo groyne. This was a quieter beach, usually with plenty of room for settlers. Maybe it was the distance from the centre of town that made the Banjo beach more exclusive. Perhaps all these differences in popularity of various beaches related to tides, the wind and the distribution of sand. Later, in the 1970s, me and my wife went to the nudist beach. We did not stay long; we both decided that people probably look better with their clothes on. 

Comments about this page

  • My main memory of the beaches back in the 50s were the flea-like creatures that seemed to invade your body if you lingered too long in one spot! Perhaps they’ve departed for greener pastures, or been eradicated in these more health-conscious times by an EU directive?

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (24/11/2015)
  • I had many great times in the 60s on the beaches, I spent a lot of time on the ladder beach by Black Rock Pool; one thing that really sticks in my mind and about everywhere else was the tar, you always seemed to find some on your body, towel or clothes after a day on the beach. Thankfully ships are restricted from cleaning their diesel tanks out at sea because of the pollution laws, hence no more tar on our lovely beaches. 

    By Michael Brittain (21/12/2015)
  • I also remember going home covered in tar from the beaches by Hove Lagoon as a child. It used to come off easily with butter.

    By Alan Phillips (22/12/2015)

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