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Memories of the Ocean Hotel Saltdean by Mike Judd Back

I was surfing the web today, and I decided to see whether The Ocean Hotel in Saltdean still existed.

I worked as a general lackey in the coffee bar during August/September 1966. On occasions I acted as 'bar manager' when the lady in charge was off sick.

I was spending two years away from home (South Africa at the time) after graduating as a civil engineer. I had done my spell as a junior engineer with Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners in London for just over a year, and had loafed around Europe for a few months. Looking for some fun and a change in my life, I managed to get a job at The Ocean. I was 22 at the time, and spent my 23rd birthday at Butlins on 30 August 1966. I had lodgings just along the road, but all meals were at the hotel.

What fun it was. The members of the staff were great, but it was the weekly influx of guests that most of us young-uns enjoyed. New faces and new fun. I really enjoyed my stay there. The staff had a marvellous spirit, and there were always parties and activities going on after hours. After several short romances with guests and some staff, I knuckled down to a fairly serious one with one of the reception staff. In the end I left to return to South Africa to undertake my military (conscription) training, and I took many memories with me. I could spend hours reminiscing on the old days at The Ocean.

I have returned to the UK several times, but each time it was with a specific purpose - and I had no time to visit Brighton and Saltdean. My wife and I intend visiting friends and family (in Tunbridge Wells) in August and September 2008, and I'm hoping to have some time to visit The Ocean Hotel. I see that the place had had at least one serious facelift/reconstruction.

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