Snapshots of Brighton in the 1970s

"Brighton has the air of a town that is perpetually helping the police with their inquiries" - Keith Waterhouse

Brighton

Brighton 1970s

Castle Square, 1974

Brighton 1970s

Seafront, Kings Road with the junction with Ship Street

‘Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.’
– ‘Pinball Wizard’ from Tommy, 1975. Pete Townsend
Brighton 1970s

Pony Express, 1976

‘A comfortable inn in Brighton is better than a spunging-house in Chancery Lane.’  Vanity Fair, chapter 25, 1848

– William Makepeace Thackeray

 

Brighton 1970s

Brighton beach 1972

There is a phrase: ‘the sweet smell of success’. And I can only tell you, I’ve had two experiences of that and it just smells like Brighton and oyster bars and things like that.

– Laurence Olivier – who made his stage debut at the Hippodrome in Middle Street in 1925. From 1968 to 1979 he lived at 4-5 Royal Crescent.

 

Brighton 1970s

Palace Pier, 1972

‘Brighton is still very gay and full of balls.’
– Samuel Rogers, January 1829
Brighton 1970s

Druids Head pub, 1972

While Brighton slept—North Street, West Street, East Street, Western Road, Preston Street, Hove, the hotels, the shops, the restaurants, the movies, the baths, the booths, the churches, the Market, the Post Office, the pubs, the antiques, the second-hand books—slept and gleamed and climbed up from the sea under the dark blue dawn, the enormous gloomy man walked along the front, hardly visible in the darkness, seemingly the only wayfarer, the only one awake. And he looked out at the sea and wondered what he had to do. When he remembered he was about opposite the Grand. He remembered without any trouble, any strain. He had to kill Netta Longdon.
– Patrick Hamilton, Hangover Square, 1941.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOlkKTvSf34
Brighton 1970s

Royal Pavilion, 1972

The place is absolutely dreadful, the food is bad, the waiters are ugly, the one good thing about Brighton is the bad morals of its visitors.

– Richard Burton (the explorer not the actor, 1821-1890)

 

Brighton 1970s

Brighton, 1973, old family slide

Human nature doesn’t change—like a stick of Brighton rock you bite all the way down and still read ‘BRIGHTON’!

Brighton Rock, Graham Greene

 

Brighton 1970s

Royal Pavilion, 1972

Sickly old King George has been relegated to a mere figurehead, whilst his naughty, eldest son, George, runs the country as Prince Regent. What parties we have attended! What palaces we have visited!
Prince George’s fantasy pavilion at Brighton was by far the most erotic. I have never been in a Turkish seraglio, but I’ll wager that even the most sophisticated Pasha was out-done by Prince George. He had erotic furniture, such as comfortable chaise longues [sic] that in Paris were made for ladies to lounge in, but in Prince George’s Brighton palace were for sexual intercourse.

I had the privilege to watch the artist Rowlandson draw a pencil sketch of the Prince with his lady, Mrs Fitzherbert. He created good likenesses of both.

– LOUISA Catherine Johnson ADAMS (1775-1852). First Lady (1825-1829), wife of John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States, and daughter of the American consul in London. The first of only two First Ladies born outside America (the other being Melania Trump).

 

Sign in Brighton, c.1970

Riding down to Brighton in a charabanc,
Fifty miles an hour and we don’t care a hang.
We don’t envy those big Rolls Royces,
Singing a song at the top of our voices,
Though that charabanc’s a good idea,
Though it shakes your liver up we don’t care,
The engine’s full of petrol, the driver’s full of beer,
Driving down to Brighton in a charabanc.

– Hit song for Whit Cunliffe c1920-21

 

Brighton 1970s

Metropole Hotel, 1972

What I have always liked about Brighton is its impersonality. Since the 18th century, people have come, used the place and gone home again.

– Lynne Truss

 

Brighton 1970s

Brighton Railway Station, 1972

The great thing about Brighton is that you can buy your lover a pair of knickers on Victoria Station and in less than two hours have them off again in the Grand Hotel.

– Keith Waterhouse

 

Brighton 1970s

Jetty opposite East Street, 1974

Brighton 1970s

Palace Pier, 1972

I love San Francisco and Brighton has something of San Francisco about it. It’s by the sea, there’s a big gay community, a feeling of people being there because they enjoy their life there.

– Brian Eno

 

Brighton 1970s

Hanningtons Department Store on the corner of East Street and North Street, 1974

Brighton 1970s

Brighton Palace Pier, 1973

Brighton 1970s

East Street, 1974

Brighton 1970s

Brighton Railway station, 1974

Brighton 1970s

West Pier, 1976

Brighton 1970s

Royal Pavilion in 1979

1974

Brighton 1970s

Pavilion Buildings, 1974

Brighton 1970s

Grand Hotel in 1974

Brighton 1970s

Brighton Pier in 1973, family snapshot

Brighton 1970s

English’s Restaurant, Brighton 1973

Brighton 1970s

Middle Street Synagogue, 1972

Brighton 1970s

The Palace Pier

Brighton 1970s

Volks Electric Railway, 1971

Brighton 1970s

Brighton Beach, lost family snapshot

Brighton 1970s

A Tesco bus outside Pavilion Buildings, North Street, 1974

Top Rank Suite on the corner of West Street and King’s Road, Brighton (now called Pryzm) 1974

Brighton 1970s

Palace Pier in 1976, photo by Yvonne Thompson

Brighton 1970s

1976

Palace Pier, 1976 – photo by Yvonne Thompson

Most of the images on this post courtesy of Glen F. whose amazing collection of photographs and postcards can be found on Flickr.