Mechanical Memories Museum – Brighton, England - Atlas Obscura
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Brighton, England

Mechanical Memories Museum

A vintage penny arcade hidden in the back of a fun fair-themed bar. 

Visitors to the Brighton seafront often flock to the attractions and arcade games at the Palace Pier, but nearby is a much less visited, more unique version. In the backroom of a bar under a seaside walkway, there is a museum of working vintage penny machines. Even with today’s modern technology, these old-time toys are a wonder of mechanical creation.

There is an attendant’s booth in the room, but you won’t find anyone attending, as the room is completely deserted and change is given via machine. There are some odd attractions here: Step back in time and try your luck playing some pinball, see some puppets perform a play, test your grip with the grip-testing machine, hear Jolly Jack’s haunting laugh, or have your mind read via television. 

Standing in what feels like an old cellar, lit and decorated with fun fair lights, hearing the muffled sounds of modern life outside, it certainly does seem like a portal to another time.

The decor of the cafe next door is also rather interesting, as the bar is done up to resemble a carousel, and merry-go-round horses dangle from the ceiling—perhaps taken from the real carousel outside.

Know Before You Go

Just beside the entrance of the bar there is another smaller door. Head through that and the stacked chairs and you'll find the machines. Accessible to wheelchairs as there are no steps and there are ramps down to the seafront at regular intervals.