The Happy Ballroom Hastings Pier and more 1st October 1966 by Andre Martin

The Autumn has arrived and we are now only 12 weeks away from Christmas, it is Saturday 1st October 1966. But unlike today, none of the shops have any Christmas decorations or advertising, everything was centred on the coming month’s prime activity – the 900th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. The Happy Ballroom was still very quiet and the focus of the Pier is very much on the Triodome on the Parade Extension.
Friday night would have normally be a Ready Steady Go evening, but for some unknown reason nothing was transmitted. All I can remember about that night was that I had to start Night School and catch up, because my new employer from October wanted me to brush up on Book Keeping as part of the terms of my employment! It was common practice all those years ago and to include Friday in the normal timetable.
Down at Marine Court, the home of The Witch Doctor entertainment continues, but at present only on Two nights a week. On this Saturday it’s the return of The Lonely Ones, who feature prominently in the regular line-ups of live music, and On Thursday it’s the return of Steve Maxted for yet another of his completely unscripted, unplanned and crazy nights ! We are told by management to watch out for changes.
Television over the weekend would include many of the regular programmes – On Saturday for example – Grand Stand followed by Juke Box Jury with David Jacobs and his special guests this week with the power of Hit or Miss were Una Stubbs, Lena Martell, Kenneth Horne and DJ Jimmy Young, later Dr Who, Dixon of Dock Green, Dick Van Dyke, The Film – 10 Tall men, Death Do Us Part, the Trouble Shooters and Match for the Day .BBC 2 The Danny Kaye Show and Wickers World. On Sunday television was educational till 3.20pm and this was followed by the film Lost Horizons. Women in White, Meeting Point, Film The Mudlarks, Billy Cotton Music Hall with Spike Milligan and Lance Percival and to round up the evening Ages of Man.
Radio, was similar with regular known programmes – Saturday – Saturday Club with Brian Matthew and Alan Price Set, Lulu, Graham Bonnet Soulmates, Geno Washington & the Loving Kind. Later in the evening the shows would have included pop Over Europe, Have a Go, Night at The Music Hall, Roy Castle, and Time for Old Time with Bob Potter & His Band. Sunday was a mix of Children’s Favourites, Mrs Mills, Easy Beat and this week a special – Peoples Service from Zambia. Lunchtime we had a three way Family Favourites from London, Koln and Malta [from RAF Luqa] later shows included the Navy Lark, Clitheroe kid, Billy Cotton Band Show, Sempreni Serenade, POTP, Movie Go Round and Top of the Form. The Pirates as ever were feeding us with some of the most popular tunes of the day, Radio Caroline South – Keith Hampshire spinning the discs, Bend It : DDDBMT, Dusty : All I see is you, Sonny & Cher : Little Man, Supremes : You Can’t Hurry Love, The Who : I’m a Boy. Radio London Big L on 266 with Ed Stewart – The Who : I’m a Boy, Stones : Have You Seen your Mother standing in the Shadow, New Vaudeville Band : Winchester Cathedral, Dusty : All I see is You, DDDBMT : Bend It. Thinking back all those years ago I have some great memories of my last few weeks on the buses, as on 1st October, I handed in my uniform and left what had been a very enjoyable job – even with the 6.00am starts.
So there is a another week of 1966 gone, what secrets do we still await, what earth shattering moments will happen – all I can say is keep reading –One of the memories that I have just recalled is connected with the date 1st October, how many of you worked in government offices, post office, local council buildings etc, do you remember the golden rule that would come into effect on 1st and lasted until 31st March next year – YES – the Heating went ON no matter the temperature, and in March it went OFF again no matter the temperature, so it was no unusual to boil in October and Freeze in April. I will leave you with that thought. To you all, take greet care out there.     Andre Palfrey-Martin © 2016

Leave a comment