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1953: Street battle outside Perrymount ballroom

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 15 October 1953


Following a street battle which developed when dancers were leaving the Perrymount ballroom at midnight on Saturday. eight men were taken to the hospital for treatment for head wounds and other injuries. Fighting broke out in Commercial-square when Brighton youths attacked some of the dancers. Other men went to the rescue of those set upon. The fighting spread to the Railway Station fore court and a short pole, fitted with a hook, such as is used for opening window blinds. was used as a weapon. Police eventually broke up the fighting, and while they were attending to the injured men the Brighton gang boarded a train. A telephone message was sent to the Brighton police and officers were waiting at the station when the train arrived. Two men were taken to Haywards Heath Police Station and a third was also questioned.

The Perrymount Cinema and ballroom in 1953

Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 16 October 1953

Eight Hurt In Fight After A Dance

FOUR Polegate man were among those injured at Haywards Heath just before midnight on Saturday when a gang of youths attacked dancers leaving the Perrymount ballroom. Altogether eight dancers were injured an, after receiving hospital treatment for head and face wounds, they were allowed to go home. The fight started outside Haywards Heath railway station, the gang of youths, who had also attended the dance, attacking the dancers with their fists. One of the gang had a 3ft. long pole fitted with a metal hook, used for opening shop window blinds This is now in the possession of the police. Haywards Heath police arrived at the scene of the battle, which had transferred to a garage on the opposite side of the railway station. They broke up the fight and helped the wounded. In the meantime, the gang of youths boarded a train for Brighton, where they were met by Brighton police officers. Two men were taken back to Haywards Heath police station and others have since been Interviewed.

West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 19 November 1953


Five youths who were involved In “pure, unprovoked hooliganism." as Mr. C. V. Porter (prosecuting) described it, after a dance at the Perrymount Ballroom, Haywards Heath, on October 10, appeared at the Magistrates' Court last week on 21 summonses alleging assault occasioning bodily harm.

The five, who pleaded guilty, were Pte. David H. Thornton (20) at present serving in the R.E.M.E. near Tewkesbury: Richard G. Thompson (18). apprentice joiner, 29, Osborne-rd., Brighton; William Manthorpe (20), labourer, and George Patrick Manthorpe (17), builder's assistant, both of 40, Whitecross st., Brighton; and Frederick J. Haywood (17), excavator. 23. Milner Flats, Brighton.

Ten men named as having suffered bodily harm as a result of the assaults were Matthew H Harte. of Burgess Hill, Michael and Matthew Foley of Polegate, Douglas L. Blade. of Jevington, Jasper N. Carr, of Alfriston. John W. Gibbons and Denis R. Malins, at Cuckfield, William D. Ross, of Bolney, Patrick C. Taylor of Cuckfield. and Ernest D. Duff, of Hurstpierpoint.

According to statements made by defendants, the trouble started after some "blokes" had "taken the mickey" out of George Manthorpe, because of a waistcoat he was wearing. Mr. Porter said that the trouble arose just outside the Perrymount and spread to the railway station and a garage. In the booking hall of the station one of the men lashed out with a pole used for opening and closing the bookstall shutters.

Thornton, said to have been a professional boxer, had a previous conviction for assault. He was fined £5, and the other four were each fined £3. Each was ordered to pay £1 towards the costs and was bound over for a year to be of good behaviour and keep the peace. "I would like you to understand." the Chairman (Mr. W. E. K. Lincoln) told defendants. "that you have been Involved In fighting of a kind which we are not going to tolerate in thls town."

Thank you to Charles Tucker for the photograph


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