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Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

A poser for you

As you will probably have guessed, I have been trawling through old photo collections again.

Well I have never seen so many people – so I am lost as to the occasion!

Over to you MyBHers to illuminate.

Comments about this page

  • I would think that this shows the bottom of Queen’s Road, with the clocktower on the far left. Perhaps the people are ‘down for the day’ from London, or elsewhere. They may be heading towards the beach. I would imagine that the photo was taken in the early to mid 50s?

    By Philip Burnard (23/09/2017)
  • Was there a sale on at Burtons Clock Tower branch?

    By Alan Hobden (23/09/2017)
  • I wish they were all this easy for location, Queens Rd with the Clock Tower on the left and Crystal Rooms a bit further up between the buses (opposite the Regent). A place where so many met up with friends on a night out in the 50s and 60s. As to the occasion it could have been something as simple as the recent arrival of the Victoria – Brighton express train bringing day visitors on a Bank Holiday mixing with the regular townsfolk out for the day. Yes, it did get that busy on a sunny day.

    By Bob from Brighton (23/09/2017)
  • I forgot to add that the film “The Gay Dog” with Wilfred Pickles and Petula Clark was released in 1954. (See poster above the Corner Shop sunblind).

    By Bob from Brighton (23/09/2017)
  • What a fantastic, but intriguing, photo. The only contribution I can make is a guess at the year. Wilfred Pickles is appearing in “The Gay Dog” at the Theatre Royal. This stage play ran from 1952 to 1953 in London, before being made into a film in 1954. I’m guessing that it was presented in Brighton before transferring to London, so the year of the photograph could be 1952. As to the occasion, I’m at a loss. I know the 50s was the heyday of the seaside holiday, so could this have been a particularly busy Bank Holiday with day trippers walking down from the station?

    By Janet Beal (23/09/2017)
  • I think this was 1954. In the background, a poster shows that Wilfred Pickles was playing in The Gay Dog, which came out in that year. 

    By Philip Burnard (24/09/2017)
  • Well, it was taken in 1954, as that was when “The Gay Dog” starring Wilfred Pickles was released. (see poster in background)

    By Robin Finch (24/09/2017)
  • Revise that from 1954 to 1952. The poster refers to the Theatre Royal not cinema. Wilfred Pickles performed there in the stage play in 1952 according to Royal performance records.

    By Robin Finch (24/09/2017)
  • Ronnie Ronalde, the British music hall singer, was appearing at the Hippodrome at that time according to the other poster, but I can’t think this would account for the crowds either.

    By Alan Hobden (24/09/2017)
  • This photo gets more interesting, the more you look at it. Ronnie Ronalde was playing at the Hippodrome. What was Bobbie’s Cafe like and what sorts of meals did it sell?  Did Mr Dass make bespoke suits? His looks like a very small shop, given that (as Alan indicates) Burton’s was on the corner opposite the Clock Tower. Burton’s was a very large concern that produced ‘made to measure’ suits. There is a big difference between made to measure and bespoke. My guess is that Mr Dass turned out very good suits that took quite a long time to make. 

    By Philip Burnard (24/09/2017)
  • When I look at this photo two things stand out.
    Firstly no-one seems to actually be walking and if they were they would be more spread out than this. Even several train arrivals at the same time would not pack people around the buses so strongly as to be this swamped. In that case a few police would be organising traffic safety.
    These people seem to be gathered rather than on the move.
    The big black car is parked there under the clock. And the buses are at a stand-still.
    Secondly people seem to be conversing with one another.
    I am taking a guess it may be a procession they are all waiting to see.
    Something coming down from Western Road and on to the Old Steine, or perhaps turning at the Clock to go down West Street.
    So who or what may be passing that would draw such crowds that the buses are in allowance of?
    And who had permission to park at such an angle under the clock.

    By Sandra Bohtlingk (26/09/2017)
  • On second glance I see another car facing up the road but not in the way to drive it. It is just behind the two gents who are wearing caps front right of the photo.
    This suggests it is parked, like the one by the clock, perhaps to define which way a procession might flow past and not turn the wrong way up Queens Road.Maybe none of this is true but I am enjoying my Sherlock Holmes attempts.

    By Sandra Bohtlingk (26/09/2017)
  • I think that this could well be a ‘non-event’, just a typical busy Saturday, possible Bank Hoilday, in the early 1950s.It was not unusual for there to be a pedestrian ‘traffic jam’ around the Queen’s Road/Clock Tower/Western Road intersection.Bear in mind that there were no supermarkets or retail parks at that time, and local shops only provided basic day to day necessities, so for anything else a visit to the main shopping centres was necessary.  Also there was no Sunday shopping.Very few people owned cars, so shoppers travelling from out of town would travel by bus or train.  Queens Road had very narrow pavements in part, so walking on the road was commonplace (no cars to contend with!).I recall Western Road would be similarly pedestrian congested on the Saturdays leading up to Christmas.Post WW2 rationing of many items was still in place, it is possible  perhaps that word had got around that a rationed item in short supply was available in one of the town centre shops.

    By John (27/09/2017)
  • Princess Elizabeth visited Brighton in 1951.After a reception at the Royal Pavilion she went to the Brighton and Hove border on the seafront to meet the Mayor of Hove.One route she may have taken from the Royal Pavilion would be up North Street and down West Street and westward along the sea front, passing the clock tower en route. Maybe this crowd was there for that occasion.

    By Peter Barnard (27/09/2017)
  • These are day trippers, they always asked which way to the sea, I would tell them to keep walking south until their feet got wet.

    By Jay Cee (07/10/2017)

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