Regent Dance Hall

The Unicorn Inn, North Street, was demolished in 1920 and the Regent Cinema built in its place. That was demolished and Boots now stands on the site.

In November 1811 Prince William later King William IV attended a boxing exhibition match at the Unicorn Inn in Brighton for the benefit of Thomas Molineaux, also known as ‘The Black’.Read More »

Thomas Molineaux , a former slave from Virginia, won his freedom in a prize fight by beating a rival plantation champion and also earned his master allegedly a 100,000 dollar bet.  He came to England in 1803, but unlike America where boxing was segregated, Black and White boxers could fight in England on equal terms.

His most famous bare knuckle  contest was against Tom Cribb, the champion of England. The match lasted for 33 rounds; he narrowly lost, but his strength and skilled astounded 20,000 spectators.

The Regent Cinema and Dance Hall was designed by theatre architect Robert Atkinson.  He travelled around America for three months studying cinemas there to get ideas for the Regent, which was considered the most luxurious cinema in the country seating about 3000 people.  It had a spacious gallery, a Georgian style restaurant with an orchestra.  The building went through many transformations over the years, until replaced by Boots the Chemists.

In the 1950s the Regent Dance Hall was a meeting place for young people. This was how many couples in Brighton and Hove first met; the Regent together with Sherry’s in West Street remained the mainstay of Brighton’s night life for many years,

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“Memories of the Regent Dance Hall in the 1950s. The place was usually packed, and often there were two bands playing during an evening. For those who had two left feet, there was the ‘Regent Crawl’ where one just shuffled around the floor which was a fantastic with its bouncy floor, nobody really seemed to notice. Great days!”

“Back in the 50s, Thursday night was dancing to pop records at the Regent, a great place for Rock and Roll and to meet the girls, then off to the Whisky a Go Go Coffee Bar in Queens Square for Coke and more music from the Rockola Juke Box. Great night out!”

From My Brighton and Hove

You can find out more about the Regent Dance Hall here

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