[VE Day Celebrations in Brighton]

Archive: Screen Archive South East
ID No.: 450
Title: [VE Day Celebrations in Brighton]
Date: May 1945
Film-maker: Unknown
Colour: Black & White
Sound: silent
Duration of complete item: 13 min.
Themes: Victory Celebrations in 1945


Filmed over several days, the VE Day celebrations in Brighton are captured here by an unknown amateur film-maker. The jubilant atmosphere is evident in the many street scenes.


Elevated views of the Brighton seafront between the Palace and West Piers are followed by joyful street scenes; flags and bunting decorate the buildings, and men, women and children dance merrily in the streets. A Tamplins brewery van drives along the street overflowing with people riding on the back. Crowds gather outside the Town Hall, and military bands play and march past. The Mayor of Brighton appears on the flag-covered balcony and reads the Peace Proclamation (Tuesday 8 May).

A procession of choristers make their way into St Peters Church. Street parties take place on several different streets; children wearing party hats sit at long tables in the middle of the street. Men and women dressed in fancy dress sing for the camera. A man dressed as a clown sings with a group of children on a stage. Another shot of a street party shows people in high spirits waving triumphantly at the camera.

Choristers, clergy, aldermen, dignitaries and the Mayor and Mayoress are shown leaving the Civic Ceremony, led by the Bishop of Lewes, at St Peter's Church (Sunday 13 May). Crowds of onlookers watch the Victory Parade along the Brighton seafront; the parade includes men and women from all the services. Finally, the Mayor and Mayoress join in with the festivities, meeting and greeting people at several of the street parties.


[VE Day Celebrations in Brighton] (May 1945) serves as a record of the celebrations which took place across Brighton in the week after victory in Europe was announced.

Churchill's speech confirming a much-anticipated victory came at three o'clock on Tuesday 8 May, and the Mayor, Cllr A. V. Nicholls, made a proclamation of peace from the Town Hall at six that afternoon, which was relayed through loudspeakers. Several thanksgiving services took place in Brighton that day, with a United Service at St Peter’s Church on the Wednesday, attended by the Mayor and Mayoress amongst other local dignitaries.

One of the streets featured in the early part of the film is Seymour Street - home of the 'Tamplins' Brewery in Kemp Town, Brighton, which was in business until 1963. In this part of the film people are seen dancing in the street and riding on Tamplins vans. Other footage appears to be of celebrations in the Hanover area of Brighton.

During the week following the impromptu celebrations, street parties took place all over Brighton. The whole community joined in the festivities, which were usually planned as children's tea parties, followed by 'open-air socials' for the adults. On VE day itself the celebrations in Brighton were interrupted by rain, with local residents continuing their parties in a house, nearby pub or church hall. Several street parties were reported in the local Argus newspaper on Monday 14th May. The Mayor visited several, and his visit to Bute Street is recorded on this film. In it, we see the Chapman family, who owned the local greengrocers shop, greeting the Mayor, and a 7 year old Miss Townsend presents the Mayoress with flowers.

On the Sunday (13th) the Civic Ceremony at St Peter's Church was held in the morning and was relayed outside the church for those unable to gain admission. The Victory Parade took place in the afternoon. The services that took part in the parade included the Civil Defence and voluntary units, the Women's Land Army and Pre-Service Units. The Parade marched from Madeira Drive to Preston Street, and the Salute was taken outside the Old Ship Hotel by Brigadier K. E. S. Stewart, supported by the Mayor, Mayoress, and members of the town council.

[VE Day Celebrations in Brighton] (May 1945)

[VE Day Celebrations in Brighton] (May 1945)

[VE Day Celebrations in Brighton] (May 1945)

[VE Day Celebrations in Brighton] (May 1945)

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