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Italian street entertainers

‘This photo of Italian musicians playing on the street corner in the 60s are part of an exotic streak in Brighton’s history. In a much earlier period, foreign musicians came to Brighton to play in the Royal Pavilion, the grand mansions, and the Assembly rooms. Musical entertainment is a very important line in Brighton’s cultural history, right through to the Brighton Festival today.’ (Geoff Mead, landscape historian, selecting winners in a 1960s photo competition, 16-05-04)

Street entertainers
Photo from private collection of Rosemary Deacon

Comments about this page

  • Frederick Alexander played the harp and the violinist was Joseph Mercantonio. They used to play on board the paddle steamers Devonia and Waverley in the ’30s and I think there was a third musician who played the cello. The paddle steamers used to do cruises (IoW, Eastbourne etc) and called on both the piers in Brighton.

    By Bernard Cornish (28/07/2004)
  • The harpist lived in Queens Park Road 3 or 4 doors from me. His great great grandson was looking for info on web he would have loved this picture

    By Ray Barontini (10/07/2005)
  • In 1933 Mother and I used to go to pay the rent by bus from Sussex Square to North Street. On the corner of East Street, outside Harringtons, were the buskers. One played the violin and the other a strange instrument like a viola with a horn at the end and he played standing up. Every week we gave them something and I think they were probably Jewish and brothers. In the depth of winter they would be there. No photographs of course but what was the instrument?

    By Richard Stubbs (07/01/2007)
  • The instrument would be a Stroh violin. The horn was attached to assist amplification in the early days of recording. For further information see website with the address

    By Trevor Harvey (04/03/2007)
  • Frederick Alexander and his family lived next door to us in Twineham Road during the late 50s – early 60s. I believe his harp is still owned by one of his descendants.

    By Marion (01/04/2007)
  • Hello, around 1965 I purchased a Stroh violin for £8 from Needhams music shop, near London Road. There can’t have been many Stroh violins in Brighton at that time, maybe it’s the one in the picture?

    By brian hills (14/02/2008)
  • I believe that these gents had a third partner at on time, my great grandfather Carmine Amerena. My daughter plays his violin. He came from Viggiano in S.Italy at the end of the 19th century.

    By Richard Parker (24/02/2011)
  • Dear Marie
    Sorry but we have had to delete your post. We are no longer allowing the posting of requests to find third parties, as sharing information like this breaches their privacy. We recommend you try social media websites if you want to track family, old friends or neighbours.
    Comments Editor

    By Marie Robinson (29/11/2016)

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