Brighton, England, UK: A Brief History

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A Brief History Of Brighton

In the Domesday Book, Brighton was called Bristelmestune and a rent of 4,000 herring was established.

In June 1514 Brighthelmstone was burnt to the ground by French raiders during a war between England and France. Only part of St. Nicholas Church and the street pattern of what is now The Lanes survived the attack.


Town, Postcode, Attraction...
The first known drawing of Brighthelmstone was made in 1545 and depicts what is believed to be the raid of 1514.

Brighton was a sleepy little fishing town up until the late 1700s when its status was propelled into being one of the most fashionable cities in the South of England.

During the 1740s and 1750s, Dr Richard Russell of Lewes began prescribing the medicinal use of the seawater at Brighton to his patients. By 1780, development of the Regency terraces had started and the fishing village quickly became the fashionable resort of Brighton.

It’s thought that the arrival of the Prince Regent (who later became George IV) was the birth of Brighton as one of the more fashionable cities. Shortly after the Prince Regent’s arrival, the Theatre Royal opened in 1807 shortly followed by the Brighton Dome and St Annes Well Spa (originally a pump room).

Royal Pavilion, BrightonThe Royal Pavilion (pictured right) is a former Royal palace built as the home for the Prince Regent during the early 1800s and is notable for its Indian architecture and Oriental interior design. The building and surrounding grounds were purchased by the town in 1849 for £53,000.

In the 1800’s the town strengthened further, with the opening of the London to Brighton railway line and the building of the Palace Pier.

Grand Hotel, BrightonThe Victorian era saw the building of many of the famous landmarks in Brighton including the Grand Hotel (1864 - pictured on the left), the West Pier (1866) and the Palace Pier, known as "Brighton Pier" today (1899).

During more recent times, the famous Quadrophenia Battle happened in Brighton in May 1964 – when two rival youth cultures, “the mods” and the “rockers” caused chaos in the town.

More recently still, in the 1970’s Brighton built a conference centre which put it on the world map as a destination for various international conferences.

Finally, it was in 1997 that “Brighton” and nearby “Hove” merged into the town we know it as today – "Brighton & Hove". This was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000.



All material © 2007 Traynor Kitching & Associates