Memories of Brighton & Hove in the 50s

Besi Besemar August 27, 2012

Do you own photographs, posters, tickets or other memorabilia dating from the bygone decade?

Brighton & Hove City Council Libraries team is seeking mementos from the Fifties to create a giant Memory Wall at Jubilee Library.

Staff will make copies of all contributions (original items will stay with their owners) for inclusion on the Memory Wall. The display will be installed in the centre of Jubilee Library from Saturday, September 8 as a celebration of 1950s Brighton & Hove.

The Fifties was a time of change. Post-war food rationing was phased out, Queen Elizabeth was crowned, Roger Bannister broke the four minute mile and Sputnik orbited the Earth.

In Brighton, local sights and stories included a small pox outbreak, the Promettes on the seafront and Teddy Boy fashion filtering down from London.


The Memory Wall is part of a range of activities for the annual City Reads initiative, organised by Brighton-based Collected Works and supported by Brighton & Hove City Council Library Service. The popular City Reads scheme encourages people across Brighton & Hove to read a chosen book during the month of September. The aim is for the whole community to read, discuss, debate and take part in a series of special events, workshops and performances.

This year’s City Reads title is My Policeman by Bethan Roberts. For the first time the book is by a local author and set in the city, or town as it was then, in the 1950s.

The Memory Wall project takes inspiration from City Reads’ chosen story.

Contributions could include souvenirs from holidays taken to the town, something related to issues raised in the book, tickets from venues like the S. S. Brighton ice rink or information about what current residents were doing in the 1950s. Anything goes! The library team hopes to see innovative and unusual donations as well as iconic imagery from the era.

Cllr Geoffrey Bowden, chair of the economic development and culture committee, said:

“The Memory Wall is about bringing our city’s recent history back to life in the centre of our community. We can learn from the past to make a positive future. The collection is for everyone, the everyday item can be as fascinating as the obscure. It’s a great project to be part of, and a welcome addition to this year’s City Reads, whether you have a memory to share or can visit to see the memories appear on the wall.”

Anyone wishing to add to the Memory Wall can take items to Jubilee Library from Saturday September 8 or to one of a series of free events being held at libraries across the city to remember the 1950s.

The events invite people to take a trip down memory lane and rediscover 1950s Brighton through shared photographs, objects and period recollections.

A prize draw will be held for free copies of My Policeman at the free sessions.

Times and locations of the free library events remembering the Fifties:

Saturday 15 Sep: 11am – 12.30pm, Patcham Library
Tuesday 18 Sep: 5pm – 7pm, Hove Library
Saturday 22 Sep: 11am – 12.30pm, Saltdean Library
Saturday 29 Sep: 11am – 12.30pm, Portslade Library

The library team will also be asking for titles of recommended books, music and films either written in or set in the 1950s. Top suggestions will be used to develop library stock.