A trip back to the 60s and 70s with Starlite Club reunion at Faith in Strangers

Remembering the Starlight Club (photos Sheila Anne Terry-Bailey)

Take a (dance) step back into the 60s and 70s with a charity fundraising reunion night in Cliftonville.

Faith in Strangers is hosting a Starlite (Starlight) Club get together, marking a piece of history for its building in Ethelbert Crescent.

The venue where Faith in Strangers is now based has a rich history and was formerly known as the Starlite, primarily in the 60s and 70s. It was a prime location for music, socialising and dancing throughout many decades, right up until the closure of Franks nightclub at the site in 2009.

Extensive renovation works in 2019 saw the venue reborn as Faith in Strangers, offering live music, bar, workspace and more.

Venue owner Richard Randles said: ““When we took on the old dilapidated building, we were well aware of its history as an important venue for locals to socialise, dance and make friends. Its history was a great inspiration for us and we felt now was the right time to hold a night to celebrate Starlite’s former punters and DJs.”

Photo Sheila Anne Terry-Bailey

Open­ing in 1964, the mod­ernist build­ing called Cliftonville Leisure Com­plex was built to host a restau­rant, bowl­ing alley, pub, night­club and petrol sta­tion, with res­i­den­tial apart­ments added above.

Photo Sheila Anne Terry-Bailey

What is now Faith In Strangers was then the Starlite Club, a mem­bers club with a rep­u­ta­tion for well-dressed patrons and pricey drinks. It attract­ed peo­ple from all over but was known to be one of the more swanky venues in Margate.

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DJs included ‘Crippsy’ aka John ‘Martins’ (Cripps); Chris Knight, Billy Dean, Mark Williams. Mike Jackson and Tony Brown.

DJ Crippsy

The Starlite Club reunion will be held on Friday, March 4, doors open at 6pm until late and former Starlite DJ Crippsy – who also spun the decks at the Bowlers Arms pub downstairs, Bar Majestic and Club Imperial- will be manning the decks.

DJ Chris Knight

Tickets can be bought online or paid for on the door – card only (cashless bar). Price is £5 but more can be paid as all proceeds will be going to support the work of Oasis Domestic Abuse Service and The Kitchen CT9.

Find tickets online by clicking here

A rich history

The 1960s building was built on the site of the grand Cliftonville Hotel. The main hotel building was six storeys, including a basement storey and an attic storey. The area behind the hotel, sandwiched between Dalby Square and Edgar Road, was used as gardens. At the front, facing the sea, a grand covered terrace spilled out onto the street.

The hotel had enjoyed great success from its opening in 1868 up until the 1920s.

In 1929, it was no longer as popular and the council considered buying it for municipal offices. The hotel’s popularity diminished further during the Depression and the building was requisitioned during the Second World War.

At the end of the war the hotel reopened but to little success. It was sold to a new owner and turned into flats, though it was still not profitable.

All change after fire

After a fire in 1952, the building was demolished and the site used as a car park until 1961.

In November 1961 plans were announced plans for an eight-storey building on the site, including a new hotel, 40 flats, a cafe, filling station, car park and bowling alley.

What was actually built and opened in 1964 was more modest than the early plans, with 12 flats. The bowling alley, pub/nightclub, car park and filling station were also built.

The filling station became a cafe and amusement arcade in the 1980s and Franks nightclub closed in 2008/09 and now has Faith in Strangers and a restaurant at the site. The bowling alley is still running though has changed hands several times, and reduced in size from 24 lanes to 12 lanes.


  1. i was once speaking to a man that was on holiday in margate , he asked me which was the best place for crabs locally ? i said thats easy – the starlight.

  2. Remember those days well – and Rendezvous Club, Bali Hai, The Ship, West Coast, Queens etc. What a great place Margate and Cliftonville were for us in our teens back in the 70s.

    • Hades, Hippo Campo, Coxswain, Crackers, Atlantis, and undoubtedly others I cannot recall at present – all sadly gone.

      I assume today’s teens and twenties all stay at home playing on their phones and game consoles rather than going out, socialising and enjoying themselves.

  3. dear jenny – they were more like lobsters at the caprice , and jane you are bang on about thoses places – did you go to hades as well ?

    • Wasn’t there an LGBT club (or similar), opposite the Caprice? I remember they used to use the rear entrance.

  4. yes jenny – i remember that club well , i think it was called the golden rivet ? of course i didnt mind using the back entrance in those heady days.

  5. Amazing! my dad Keith Franklin and my uncle Louis Holloway used to own those places and I heard all the stories growing up. Only last week my mum dug out a load of photo’s from the Starlite, the Hippo Campo and the Queens hotel. I only wish it wasn’t before my time.

      • Hi John i’m not on Facebook and all the photo’s are printed copies but as soon as I get the chance i’ll scan them and maybe put them on my instagram @jonf80

  6. Wow! The Queens Hotel, I remember when they used to have dolphins there.

    Also people that used to visit the Bowlers Arms and bowling alley, must remember the Blue Rambler coaches, with their office at the car park, at the bottom of Dalby Square.

    • Yes Dad told me stories about the dolphins, I think their names were Speedy and Bonny & Clyde. He used to tell me stories about him and Juan Losa training them and how incredibly intelligent they were.

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