Combe Haven Caravan Park swimming pool 1973

Shared from Jeff Pitcher

Jeff Pitcher… Posted 50 years ago, July 1973. Combe Haven Caravan Park. ”Weather has been smashing so far, going to do a spot of shopping.”

Dave Weeks… We used to sneak in the pool at night ( when we were slim enough to squeeze through the turnstile).

Stuart Moir… Changed a lot since then .

Kevin Burchett… I was lifeguard on that pool for 1 season around that time but cant see myself in that picture

Leigh Mitchell… I worked in the bars at Coombe Haven during the summer seasons 1974, 1975 & 1976! Hard work but great workmates!

Patricia Burgess… My parent had 3 caravans there and I met my husband, one of the Talismen , when staying there in 1963. Where did they put the pool ?

Jo Turner… Worked one summer thee mid 70s

Peter Houghton… I worked there around that time in the Main Club House, worked in the morning then went home in the afternoon and started about 6pm till it closed around midnight and was brought home

Andy Wright… I used to go up to their TV room and watch TOTP because I wasn’t allowed to watch it at home in ‘69.

Kevin Burchett… If it had been the year before I would have been the lifeguard on that pool great job i met my 1st wife there

Ray Alan with Lord Charles – White Rock Pavilion Hastings 18th April 1976

poster: Van Buren

Matt Thomas… He was one of the many now missing signed photos in frames that were once displayed in the Stage Door Bar when I worked there.

Alan King… I was gonna get a vent doll made of Pete Docherty and go around saying Got any Gear ?

Nigel Ford… I didn’t know he died 10 years ago… but I see it was during May so wouldn’t have heard any news that month with Hastings Rock being on air.

Groundhogs – Hastings Pier 1st March 1975


groundhogs solid

supplied by Sarah Harvey

Sarah Harvey….A bit of a typo in the advert corrected beneath advert. A single Groundhog! I wonder which one appeared?

Leigh Wieland-Boys… I saw the Groundhogs, supported by Juicy Lucy, at a music festival in Keswick whilst on hols in the Lake District, when I was 14 – it was an overnighter but my Dad picked me up about 7pm! Five years before they were on the pier!

Jan Warren… Love Groundhogs!! 

Alan King… I put Tony McPhee up at the house a few times – surprised that he was a vegetarian – dunno why I was surprised by it but I was

Andy Wright… Give ‘The Hunt’ a listen on his 1st solo album…this gives us a clue


Did anyone go on the Magic Bus coach trips in the 1970’s?

Leigh Mitchell… No – but I’d go on one now at those prices

Rebecca Roach… What a memory – delighted to find this – I went on the Magic Bus to Athens from Kings Cross station in 1972/3 (?) stayed at The Funny Trumpet hostal in Athens – that was an experience!

R Stene… Yes. London to Athens in 1978. I was the oldest person on the ride (36) and best dressed it turned out. No head rests for three days and a memorable toilet stop for two girls on the side of the road in Yugoslavia in the snow. Lots of interesong smoking going on in the back seats.

Mike Curtis… No. Cos it was “too much”

John Wilde… Yes twice to Amsterdam.

Vicki Campbell… Yes, Athens to Amsterdam 1975. Yugoslavia we broke down near Skopje.  Pretty rough travel but the price was right! I remember how happy everyone was to cross into Austria! The fresh produce in Yugoslavia was the best anywhere.

Heather Sidery… Yes.. France and back. We we’re stopped in UK, and searched by police. Nothing found…..

Julie Findlay-jones… My uncle used to drive for them in the 70s.

David Hamblett… Went to Athens 1979, it cost £28,Should have been 3 days but took 4 as Yugoslavia police stopped the bus and took away the driver, Fantastic

Amanda Darling… David, I was on that bus too! My son was conceived on the roadside in Yugoslavia when the bus driver was taken off by the police!

Joan Hicks… I (a Kiwi) traveled Athens to London 1976. Alan was the lone driver. He had his kids Claire and Roger with him. Alan had a kidney stone attack in the Alps, so the whole busload baby sat until he came back. Also got stuck at the Yugoslavian border, the border guards demanding $200 US for a Visa I already had. Also got an unplanned day in Amsterdam. Brilliant trip. Made some good friends and still keep in touch with a couple of them. Traveled on with Alan down to Cornwall and stayed with him and his wife Flora for a few days. Happy days!

Meryl Gay… Yes, I took the 3day trip in 1975 from London via France, Italy over the ferry at Brindisi to Greece down to Athens. What a adventure. We had a puncture in France! Had many happy memories.

Peter Ellingworth… I didn’t myself but my youngest cousin Moira, sadly no longer with us having succumbed to cancer, and over from Australia at the time (1975-8) on their traditional overseas rite of passage, did so with her Canadian flat mate she lodged with in Shepherds Bush…..and ended up in Athens marrying a Greek. Did the bus go from the old coach station half way up Pentonville Rd., (now an upmarket restaurant) or from outside King’s Cross Rail station itself, most likely in York Way ?

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SMART coffee meet report 71

SMART coffee meet report number 71

Wow! Wonderful! Jam packed turn out for our 71 meet and first off, I must apologise for not getting time to speak to half the people! 

Among the newbies this time were Alan Harding, Yukiko and Kazuhiro Hanai, Joan Fenner, Baz and Jane Cooper,  Diane Crouch, Sam Dook, Jim McCarthy and Brian Crowhurst. Alan was talking about when he worked for Vox and designed the amps for The Beatles and many others. He also had some of his wonderful photos of trolls woodland creatures and windmills. Yukiko and Kazuhiro (Rommy). He plays guitar for Japanese rock group ‘Ivory Gate’ and had flown in from Tokyo to see Robert Plant, they were made most welcome by everyone. Joan was chatting about here happy memories of 60’s and 70’s Hastings and especially the Fiesta coffee bar. Baz who plays keyboards with Dowliners Sect was talking about his new recordings and working with ‘The Rebels’. Diane was chatting about her memories of jazz in the caves. Sam was looking for anyone with a connection with working at Ponswood Industrial Estate. He’s interested in stories and memories as he’s working on making a radio show with the Parchment Trust charity. If you can help contact or the website which is a music and arts community group. Jim was talking about the music books he has written and seeing if anyone could add anymore last minute information about ‘The Move’ as his book is due to be published shortly. Brian was talking about the exciting times, when he worked for United Artists records and EMI. 

Roger Ferris was talking about his compositions and the track he has just posted on You Tube by Glo Macari called Part Of Your Heart. Kerry Watling had with her cd’s of Barry Dransfield and Mike Wells, Chris Stovold had with him a collection of Nick Drake CD’s and book, Dave Jenkins had his George Hatcher Band records and autograph, Mick O’Dowd had cd’s of Radio Caroline 70’s flashbacks and We Love The Pirates with hits and Radio London jingles. Jackie Hersee had a list with dates of all the groups she saw in Hastings in 1965 and 1966 at the pier and Witch Doctor. John Busbirdge had a pile of Beatles records, Anthony ‘Nan’ Morland had a dvd of him documenting the Hastings Pier fire of 2010. Peter Ellingworth had a book of Trams and Trolleybuses by Robert Harley, Merv Kennard had a Blue Peter badge and more collectable pirate radio recordings and books, Cris Kennard had a Britex record needles tin, Linda Boiling had a photo of her YZ bubble gum machine, Ian Marketis had ‘The Solo Collection book of Freddie Mercury that included the cd’s and Pete Prescott had a pile of albums and the Bexhill hop photos and was talking about his new group ‘Stealer’.  This is just a small bit of what I remember. If you had anything interesting you were talking about or anything I missed out or got wrong! then please feel free to add or correct.

Claire Lonsdale… It was great as usual Alan, but what an amazing turn out despite the weather. Thanks Alan for all your hard work xx

Pete Prescott… We had a great time !

Wendy Weaver… Thanks Alan. A good turnout

Cris and Merv Kennard… As usual a good afternoon catching up with everyone, thank you Alan for organising.

Colin Bell… Merv, Good to see you, interesting records!

David Martin… Thanks for all your hard work Alan I really enjoyed it & what a great turnout

Mick O’Dowd… Agree entirely. Wasn’t expecting so many because of the weather but I think it must have been a near record turnout. Not often you can rub shoulders and talk to a guy that was an recording engineer at Abbey Road on the Beatle tracks. That is one of the real beauties of these Meets is that you never know who will encounter. I was re-introduced to a young lady that was a girlfriend of a fellow DJ Simon Davis (aka Tony Kane(RIP) from 50 years ago! It’s also nice to see that we have a very diverse crowd now with growing numbers of ladies joining in. Keep going and don’t be afraid to come on your own. You are not alone! Well done to El Supremo Alan for organising!

Matt Thomas… I know there was a music merchandise wholesaler up on Ponswood

Jackie Hersee… Really interesting afternoon thank you

Roy Winchester… I was in bands with Colin and David.

Mick O’Dowd… This, to outsiders, is exactly what we get up to. Very diverse crowd of folks with a diverse group of interests and facts about our beloved town in the past. The music they witnessed when the Pier and clubs like the Witchdoctor/Cobweb at al made us one of the most important places for the big names to play. From Hendrix , The Who, The Stones and a wealth of other top names all played here. The Stones & Who several times. Hastings was an important stopover for bands. Next time give it ago and come along. You won’t be disappointed and you will be most welcome wether you have any things to show bring yourself.

Colin Bell… An excellent afternoon, great turn out & it was nice to talk to so many friends & re-connect with old friend Joan, after a mere 50 years! well done Alan, as ever, for bringing so many people together

Monica Bane… Yes Colin, Was a great turnout, So good to chat to so many! Good to see you x

Baz Cooper…It was great to finally make it along to a SMART meeting! In trying to look it up on line, to check the venue, SMART offered a site devoted to people in rehab from addictions!!! Maybe an addiction to 60s and 70s music???!!! Anyway it was great chatting to people there including my good friend Colin Tapp, who is also an old band mate and to various other interesting people, I only wish we could have stayed longer, because I would loved to have chatted to many more people there. Maybe next time!

Bob Searle… I was in bands with Stuart Moir Colin Fox and Dave Easton

Andre Martin… Well done Alan for everything to keep memories and old friends in contact. You will need to introduce a ticket in advance admission if this keeps this numbers.

Tony Davis… Sorry couldn’t make it but we had a gig at The Carlisle and the bands were arriving around 4pm. Hope to get there next time


SMART coffee meet no.71 – Friday 22nd March 2024


Gill Smith… Would love to come along! Been down here since 1976!

Alan Esdaile… you are most welcome to join us Gill.

Jim McCarthy… Hi I am Jim, currently writing a book on (the Move) living in Bexhill and talked to Colin Bell recently. I’d like to come along, I better put this in my diary thank you, hope all is well 

Alan Esdaile… look forward to seeing you Jim

Alan Esdaile… Pete Prescott will have on display the photos albums of Bexhill Hop 1980’s, for anyone who missed them last time.



The Old Golden Cross Havelock Road Hastings 1979


Tony Court-holmes… have drunk in there and I have been drunk in there

Hazel Piner… We owned this pub in 1979 to end of 1981 had a few good times here, Our public bar had the best customers, great crowd, love to them all especially ladies and gents darts teams. regards Hazel and David Piner.

Peter Fairless… Remember it well…

Steve Whitelaw… Hello Hazel, Steve Whitelaw here. Only just read your little piece about the OGX. Nice to know you think so highly of us. We certainly remember you. Hope you are all well. Regards, Steve

Pauline Richards… And look at it now. What a.waste!


Candy Choir, Factory & Old Silver – Hastings Pier 20th March 1971


Paul Dove… Remember this, well done for finding it.

Chris Baker… Wow! Look at those young hipsters grooving away!

Robert Searle… Nice to see Candy Choir gets some mention especially as they played a lot in the Hastings St Leonard’s and Eastbourne areas in the 60s 70s. Candy Choir great vocals

Mick O’Dowd… Candy Choir were an excellent band. Saw them many times at Cobweb. Strange line-up.  I liked Candy Choir but they were a world away from Factory.

Geoff Peckham… I don’t suppose Andy will mind my quoting from his Factory gig diary: “March 20th at Hastings Pier for £15. Rubbish really. By the time the power points were sorted out it was difficult to get the atmosphere going. Not bad performance, audience danced politely, but in 45 minutes we could hardly whip up a frenzy. Candy Choir and Old Silver also on the bill.” Can’t say as I remember it; this is probably why!

Alan Esdaile… I’m sure you would have played ‘Substitute’ and ‘Born To Be Wild’ at this gig Geoff.

Geoff Peckham… Indeed, Alan, but I can’t imagine what the polite dancers would have made of ‘Time Machine’.

Andy Qunta… This was a lot of fun, but I don’t remember it in detail.