The Happy Ballroom and more… 13th November 1965 by Andre Martin

After a short break, here we are again with another session on the History of The Happy Ballroom – Hastings Pier; the date is Saturday 13th November 1965. I know that several people have been in touch with me because nothing has appeared for several weeks, and the big question was – Does Nothing Happen on the Pier? To some extent this is true with the Ballroom not functioning as we would have expected, on the other hand, it is perhaps incorrect for me to say that nothing happens on the Pier. I have spent some time in looking back in the local newspapers and the minutes of the Directors of the Pier Company [thanks to Hastings Museum and Steve Peak] and they do not really say anything about the Entertainments in THE BALLROOM, however when you look at the Pier as a business then it is working well and making a profit. The Bars, Cafes and Restaurants are all still open even in this out of season time, dancing does take place on a much limited level, with small events in either the Palm Court Café or the Restaurant. Plus there are the weekly dancing classes on at least 4 nights per week. Bingo is another popular entertainment and this is another good source of income for the company and an attraction for the patrons. Fishing, often overlooked, but again another good source of revenue and attraction for so many, with the spin-off to the Bars and Café, plus a regular income from the Toll Gate – this I think was 3d to enter, and in the better weather the Deck Chairs out in the fresh air! or in the solarium areas when not so pleasant. Also you could find, Ice cream, candy floss and rock, fortune telling, the speedboat and the penny arcades, many of which would make every effort to keep going at least at weekends until after Christmas and New Year. So here if you like is the evidence that something was happening!
Friday night would have started in the time honoured way with those of us lucky enough to have cable Television in the town, with a switch on about 6.30pm to “Ready Steady Go” on the show this week Marc Bolan “ The Wizzard”, Tom Jones “ Thunderball”, Nashville Teens “I Know how it feels to be Loved”, Wilson Pickett “ Don’t fight it” “In the Midnight Hour” hosted as ever with Cathy & Keith.
Over in Marine Court, The Witch Doctor having made a few changes was back on e similar footing, the Friday Evening “candlelit dance nights” had run their short time, and a new regular night had been established. On Saturday it was Davey Sands & the Essex, supported by Eastbourne’s The Defiants. Sunday afternoon record spin was back and the rest of the week was now given back to Record sessions, the one exception was that THURSDAY NIGHTS these were now no longer just record nights as the era of STEVE MAXTED HAD ARRIVED! He would be a regular fixture on Thursdays for many years to come.
The BBC was very much following the same schedules. Saturday on the LIGHT programme would have included 10.00 Saturday Club, this week Brian Matthew introduced Cleo Laine, The Four Pennies, The Moody Blues, Billy J Kramer with The Dakotas and The Johnny Howard Band. Later in the day, we had Jack Jackson and his record roundabout, Fanfayre with the same acts as previous. Music for the Movies has become an established part of the Saturday entertainments. In the evening from The Royal Albert Hall was the British Legion Festival of Remembrance in the presence of HM The Queen. The scene was described by Raymond Baxter.
There was a small change to the Sunday broadcast as Easy Beat was replaced with Remembrance Sunday from the Cenotaph and Family Favourites this week was a link with London and Cologne. Alan Freeman was along at 4.00pm in his usual slot with Pick of The Pops.
Television gave us Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and this week’s Guests – Bill Kerr, Sandy Shaw, David Wigg and Muriel Young. Over on ATV “ Thank your Lucky Stars” with Winifred Atwell, Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, Carole Deane, Gerry & Thee Pacemakers, Kathy Kirby, Danny Williams and this week’s Host Jim Dale.
There we go for that week, many I know will also recall the Bonfire processions and parties, I have memories of being in Hollington in 1965 to such an event. With Christmas just a few weeks away things could be happening, we will have to wait and see. Until the next episode you all take care out there.
Andre Palfrey-Martin ©2015

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