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Brighton (Template:Pron-en) is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove (formed from the previous towns of Brighton, Hove, Portslade and several other villages) in East Sussex on the south coast of Great Britain. For administrative purposes, Brighton and Hove is not part of the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex, but remains part of the ceremonial county of East Sussex.

The ancient settlement of Brighthelmston dates from before Domesday Book (1086), but it emerged as a health resort during the 18th Century and became a destination for day-trippers after the arrival of the railway in 1841. Brighton experienced rapid population growth reaching a peak of over 160,000 by 1961.[1] Modern Brighton forms part of a conurbation stretching along the coast, with a population of around 480,000.[2]

Eight million tourists a year visit Brighton. The town also has a substantial business conference industry regularly hosting the Liberal Democrats, Labour Party, occasionally the Conservative Party and Trade Union annual Conferences. Brighton has two universities and a medical school.



Royal Pavilion

In the Domesday Book, Brighton was called Bristelmestune [3] 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 the St Nicholas Church and the street pattern of the area now known as "The Lanes" survived. The first drawing of Brighthelmstone was made in 1545 and depicts what is believed to be the raid of 1514.[4] During the 1740s and 1750s, Dr Richard Russell of Lewes began prescribing seawater at Brighton.[5][6][7] By 1780, development of the Georgian terraces had started and the fishing village became the fashionable resort of Brighton. Growth of the town was further encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent (later King George IV) after his first visit in 1783.[8] He spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion during the early part of his Regency. Although contracted forms of the name are attested since the 15th Century, it was not until this period that the modern form of the name came into common use.[9]

The arrival of the railway in 1841 brought Brighton within the reach of day-trippers from London and population growth from around 7,000 in 1801 to over 120,000 by 1901.[10] The Victorian era saw the building of many major attractions including the Grand Hotel (1864), the West Pier (1866) and the Palace Pier (1899).

After boundary changes between 1873 and 1952, the land area of Brighton increased from 1,640 acres (7 km2) in 1854 to 14,347 acres (58 km2) in 1952.[11] New housing estates were established in the acquired areas including Moulsecoomb, Bevendean, Coldean and Whitehawk. The major expansion of 1928 also incorporated the villages of Patcham, Ovingdean and Rottingdean, and much council housing was built in parts of Woodingdean after the Second World War.

More recently, gentrification of much of Brighton has seen a return of the fashionable image which characterised the growth of the Regency period. Recent housing in the North Laine, for instance, has been designed in keeping with the area.

In 1997 Brighton and Hove were joined to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000.


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File:Brighton West Pier, England - Oct 2007.jpg

The remains of the West Pier

The Royal Pavilion is a former royal palace built as a home for the Prince Regent during the early 1800s and is notable for its Indo-Saracenic architecture and Oriental interior. Other Indo-Saracenic buildings in Brighton include the Sassoon Mausoleum, now, with the bodies reburied elsewhere, in use as a chic supper club.

Brighton Pier (originally and in full "The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier", and for long known as the Palace Pier) opened in 1899. It features a funfair, restaurants and arcade halls.[12][13][14]

The West Pier was built in 1866 and has been closed since 1975 awaiting renovation, which faces continual setbacks,[15] The West Pier is one of only two Grade I listed piers in the United Kingdom, but suffered two fires in 2003. Plans for a new landmark in its place – the i360, a 183 m (600 ft) observation tower designed by London Eye architects Marks Barfield – were announced in June 2006. Plans were approved by the council on 11 October 2006.[16] As of early 2009, construction had yet to begin, but the area has been cordoned off.

Created in 1883, Volk's Electric Railway runs along the inland edge of the beach from Brighton Pier to Black Rock and Brighton Marina. It is the world's oldest operating electric railway.[17]

Churches and places of worship[]

Template:See The 11th century St Nicholas Church is the oldest building in Brighton, commonly known as "The Mother Church".[18] Other notable churches include the large brick-built St Bartholomew's, and St Peter's in the heart of Brighton on an island between the Lewes Road and the London Road.

There are four synagogues in the Brighton area, including the Brighton & Hove Progressive Synagogue (Liberal) at 6 Landsdowne Road in Hove; Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation at 66 Middle Street in Brighton (Orthodox), Hove Hebrew Congregation at 79 Holland Road in Hove (Orthodox) and Brighton & Hove Reform Synagogue on Palmeira Avenue in Hove (Reformed). Middle Street Synagogue, Brighton is an important Grade II listed building built in 1874–75, and one of the most beautiful small synagogues in Europe. It is presently in the process of being gradually restored by English Heritage. About 12% of the population of the Brighton & Hove conurbation are of Jewish ancestry, with a little less than half presently practicing some form of Judaism, according to a 2007 study by the European Jewish Press.

Nevertheless, Brighton has become known as one of the least religious places in the UK, based upon analysis of the 2001 census which revealed that 66,955 people (27 per cent of the population) profess no religion, almost double the national average of 15 per cent.[19] As part of the Jedi census phenomenon, 2.6 per cent claimed their religion was Jedi Knight.


File:Brighton beach.jpg

Brighton's Kemp Town beach in summer

The seafront has bars, restaurants, nightclubs and amusement arcades, principally between the piers. Being less than an hour from London by train has made the city a popular destination. Brighton beach has a nudist area (south of the easterly part of Kemptown). Brighton's beach, which is a sand-free shingle beach, although it is sand when going into the sea, has been awarded a blue flag. The Monarch's Way long-distance footpath heads west along the seafront above the beach.

Since the 1978 demolition of the open-air lido at Black Rock, the most easterly part of Brighton's seafront, the area has been developed and now features one of Europe's largest marinas. However, the site of the pool itself remains empty except for a skate park and graffiti wall, and further development is planned including a high-rise hotel which has aroused debate, mirroring proposals for the King Alfred leisure centre in Hove.[citation needed] In addition, part of the eastern side of the beach has been redeveloped into a sports complex, which has courts for anything from beach volleyball to ultimate Frisbee, and opened to the public in March 2007. Template:- Template:Wide image



The art community in Brighton is extensive and is showcased once a year by the artists open house event during the Brighton festival. Directly on the beach, between the two piers is the famous Brighton Artists Quarter. Working in a row of Victorian fisherman workshops, and converted into small gallery and studio spaces, are a collection of artists using a variety of mediums and styles to produce good quality artworks that can be viewed or purchased by the general public throughout the year.

Night-life and popular music[]

Brighton is considered to be one of the UK's premier night-life hotspots and is also associated with many popular music artists. There are also live music venues including the Concorde 2, Brighton Centre and the Brighton Dome, where ABBA received a substantial boost to their career when they won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.

One of the most prominent musical events has been the irregularly recurring "Big Beach Boutique", for which a substantial portion of the beach is controversially closed off for a concert by Fatboy Slim.

There are over 300 pubs in the town, including the historic Cricketers, the Evening Star real ale pub, The Greys gastropub, The Free Butt music pub and the extravagantly decorated Regency Tavern.



"The Big Beach Boutique II": over 250,000 watched Fatboy Slim (July 2002)

File:Brighton seafront carshow.jpg

Seafront display of Minis after a London to Brighton drive

Each May the city hosts the Brighton Festival, the largest arts festival in the UK after Edinburgh's. This includes processions such as the Children's Parade, outdoor spectaculars often involving pyrotechnics, and theatre, music and visual arts in venues throughout the city, some brought into this use exclusively for the festival. The earliest feature of the festival, the Artists' Open Houses, are homes of artists and craftspeople opened to the public as galleries, and usually selling the work of the occupants. Since 2002, these have been organized independently of the official Festival and Fringe.

Brighton Festival Fringe runs alongside Brighton Festival, and has grown to be the second largest fringe festival in the world.[20] Together with the street performers from Brighton Festival's "Streets of Brighton" events, and the Royal Mile-esque outdoor performances that make up "Fringe City", outdoor spectacles and events more than double during May.[21]

Other festivals include The Great Escape in May, featuring three nights of live music in venues across the city; the Soundwaves Festival in June, which shows classical music composed in the 21st Century, and involves both amateur and professional performers; Brighton Live which each September stages a week of free gigs in pubs to show local bands; Burning the Clocks, a winter solstice celebration; and Brighton Pride (see lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, below). The Kemptown area has its own small annual street festival, the Kemptown Carnival, and the Hanover area similarly has a "Hanover Day". Beachdown Festival, started in 2008 has recently ceased operations due to financial difficluties.[22][23]

An inaugural White Nights (Nuit Blanche) all-night arts festival took place in October 2008. 2009 saw the first Brighton Zine Fest[24] celebrating zine and D.I.Y. culture within the city.

On 1 September 2007, competitors from the United Kingdom, United States, Germany and other countries convened for the World Beard and Moustache Championship. Hosted by The Handlebar Club, categories include Dali moustache, goatee and full beard freestyle.[25] Additionally, Brighton is permanent home to notable moustache advocate Michael "Atters" Attree.

Brighton is the home of the UK's first Walk of Fame which celebrates the many rich and famous people associated with the city.[26]


Brighton museums include Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton Toy and Model Museum, and Brighton Fishing Museum, which includes artefacts from the West Pier. The Royal Pavilion is also open to the public, serving as a museum to the British Regency.


Theatre and cinema[]

Theatres include the Brighton Dome, the expanded Komedia (also used as a music venue) and the Theatre Royal which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2007. There are also smaller theatres such as the Marlborough Theatre and Nightingale Theatre, both above pubs, which attract mostly local productions.

Brighton also has a history of involvement with the film industry, and the Duke of York's Picture House on Preston Circus has been in operation since 22 September 1910. There are multiplex cinemas at West Street and the marina.


Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community[]

Brighton is well-known for having a substantial LGBT community, served by shops, bars and night-clubs in addition to support organisations. It is often referred to as "the gay capital of Britain".[27] The Gay Pride carnival every August attracts thousands. It consists of a carnival parade and a party and funfair in Preston Park. There is also a "Winter Pride" in March.


The Whistler is a printed magazine which has been published for over 30 years by the West Hill Community Association. The online version has been around since August 2009. The Whistler keeps residents of the West Hill and Seven Dials area in touch with each other and offers an eclectic mix of news and comment.


Brighton has a high density of businesses involved in media, particularly digital or "new media", and since the 1990s has been referred to as "Silicon Beach". According to the Boho Britain creativity index developed by United States economic regeneration expert Richard Florida, Brighton and Hove ranked sixth of 66 British new cities when measured against the three criteria of his index. Florida states the index measures the appeal of cities to the new "creative class" and is an indicator of a city's health.

American Express has plans to build a new headquarters building on John Street, behind its current headquarters in Edward Street. It employs around 3000, the largest private employer in the city.[28]

"The Lanes" form a retail, leisure and residential area near the seafront, characterised by narrow alleyways following the street pattern of the original fishing village. The Lanes contain predominantly clothing stores, jewellers, antique shops, restaurants and pubs. The North Laine area is a retail, leisure and residential area immediately north of The Lanes. Its name derives from the Anglo-Saxon "Laine" meaning "fields". The North Laine contains a mix of businesses dominated by cafés, independent and avant-garde shops, and theatres.

Churchill Square is a shopping centre with a floor space of 470,000 sq ft (43,663 m2) and over 80 shops, several restaurants and 1,600 car-parking spaces.[29] It was built in the 1960s as an open-air, multi-level pedestrianised shopping centre, but was rebuilt and enlarged in 1998 and is no longer open-air. Further retail areas include Western Road and London Road.



Roedean School

Brighton & Hove City Council is responsible for 80 schools, of which 54 are in Brighton.[30]

The University of Sussex established in 1961 is a "plate glass university" based on a campus between Stanmer Park and Falmer, four miles (6 km) from the city centre. Served by frequent trains (to Falmer railway station) and 24-hour buses, it has a student population of 10,563 of which 70% are undergraduates.[31]

The University of Brighton, the former Brighton Polytechnic, has a student population of 20,017 of which 80% are undergraduates.[32] The University is on several sites with additional buildings in Falmer, Eastbourne and Hastings.[33]

In 2003, the universities of Sussex and Brighton formed a medical school, known as Brighton and Sussex Medical School. The school was one of four new medical schools to be created as part of a government programme to increase the number of qualified NHS doctors. The school is also based in Falmer and works closely with the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

A range of non-university courses for students over 16, mainly in vocational education subjects, is provided at the further education college, City College Brighton and Hove. More academic subjects can be studied for 16–18 year-olds at Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) in the Seven Dials area. Varndean College in North Brighton occupies a commanding position. The 1920s building is celebrated for its façade and internal quads. The college offers academic A levels, The International Baccalaureate and vocational courses.

There are state schools, some faith schools. Notable state schools include Longhill High School, Varndean Secondary School, Patcham High School, Dorothy Stringer, Blatchington Mill School and Sixth Form College, Hove Park School and Sixth Form Centre, Falmer High School and Cardinal Newman (a large Roman Catholic secondary school, which also caters for the children of the large Coptic Orthodox community).

There are also a number of private schools, including Brighton College, Lancing Prep, Roedean School, Steiner School, BHHS and a Montessori School. As with the state schools, some independents are faith-based; Torah Academy, the last Jewish primary school, became a Pre-K/Nursery School at the end of the 2007.

In spring and summer, thousands of students from all over Europe gather to attend language courses at the many language schools.


For the local authority, see Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove is covered by part of the Brighton Kemptown constituency, Brighton Pavilion constituency and Hove constituency in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. All three Members of Parliament elected at the 2005 General Election were from the Labour Party. The city is in the European Parliament constituency of South-East England. The Green Party held 22% of the vote in Brighton Pavilion constituency in the 2005 general election, compared with 1% nationally, and topped the poll in Brighton and Hove in the 2009 European Parliament elections. Their leader, Caroline Lucas, has sat as a Member of the European Parliament for the South East Region since 1999. Caroline Lucas went on to become, in the United Kingdom general election, 2010, the first Green MP to be elected to Westminster for the Brighton Pavilion constituency, overcoming strong competition from both the incumbent Labour party and the Conservative candidate. The Green party achieved 16,238 votes (31.3% of the share), compared with Labour's 14,986 votes (28.9%) and the Conservatives 12,275 votes (23.7%).[34]

The political campaigning group Justice? and its SchNEWS newspaper are based in Brighton, at the Cowley Club libertarian social centre; also operating from the town is the Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The presence of a British subsidiary of the United States arms company EDO Corporation in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, has been the cause of protests since 2004.[35]

Brighton's citizens have developed a reputation in recent years for their readiness to challenge the views of the council's planning department. One of the main campaigning organisations is 'savebrighton', founded in 2007 to oppose the overdevelopment of Brighton Marina. Savebrighton has also been active in opposing other planning applications for developments it has regarded as excessive, out of context or otherwise inappropriate.[36]


Brighton and Hove is home to the Sussex County Cricket Club based on Eaton Road in Hove. Brighton is also the home of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, who played at the Goldstone Ground for 95 years until they were forced to sell it in 1997 to pay off debts. The club spent two years ground-sharing at Gillingham before returning to the town as tenants of the Withdean Athletics Stadium. However, the club is due to move to a permanent home at Falmer at the start of the 2011/12 season. The new stadium (yet to be named) is currently under construction by The Buckingham Group, who built the MK Dons stadium. The club's notable achievements including winning promotion to the Football League First Division for the first time in 1979, staying there for four seasons, during the last of which they reached the FA Cup final and took Manchester United to a replay before losing 4–0. Notable former managers of the club include Brian Clough, Peter Taylor, Jimmy Melia, Liam Brady, Jimmy Case, Steve Gritt, Brian Horton, Steve Coppell and Mark McGhee. Notable former players include Gareth Barry, Dave Beasant, Justin Fashanu, Dennis Mortimer, Gordon Smith, Frank Stapleton, Howard Wilkinson and Bobby Zamora.


A classic Ferrari at the Start Line of the Brighton Speed Trials

Brighton hosts what is commonly held to be the world's oldest motor race, the Brighton Speed Trials which has been running since 1905 on Madeira Drive (the road being originally constructed for this purpose). The event is organised by the Brighton and Hove Motor Club and normally takes place on the second Saturday in September.

There is also an annual beach soccer competition in a temporary stadium on imported sand on the beach. The inaugural contest in June 2002 featured football stars such as Eric Cantona and Matt Le Tissier.

Brighton has a horse-racing course, Brighton Racecourse, with the unusual feature that when the full length of the course is to be used, some of the grass turf of the track has to be laid over the tar at the top of Wilson Avenue, a public road, which therefore has to be closed for the races.

There is a greyhound racing circuit run by Coral, at which Motorcycle speedway racing was staged in 1928.

Brighton is home to Brighton Football Club (RFU)[37] which is one of the oldest Rugby Clubs in England.

Basketball team Brighton Bears were in the British Basketball League before dropping out at the end of the 2005/06 season.

Brighton Ultimate, an ultimate Frisbee team[38] was set up in 1985.

Brighton Tsunami American Football Club was started in 2000 for students of the University of Brighton. It plays at the university's Falmer site, between November and March.[39]

File:Petanque in brighton.JPG

Petanque at the Peace Statue Terrain, Brighton and Hove, UK

The Brighton and Hove Petanque Club runs an annual triples, doubles and singles competition, informal KOs, winter and summer league, plus Open competitions with other clubs. The club is affiliated to Sussex Pétanque, the local region of the English Pétanque Association, so they can also play at a Regional and National level. The Peace Statue terrain is the official pétanque terrain situated on the seafront near the West Pier.[40]

There are yachting clubs and other boating activities run from Brighton Marina.

Brighton has two competitive swimming clubs. Brighton SC[41] formed in 1860 claims to be the oldest swimming club in England. Brighton Dolphin SC[42] was formed in 1891 as Brighton Ladies Swimming Club and met at Brills Baths in Pool Valley.

Brighton is home to the headquarters of the Dragon Martial Arts Association[43] and White Crane Martial Arts, martial arts organisations teaching traditional Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Chinese Kickboxing.[44] Brighton Judo Club is located just opposite the European headquarters of American Express.

The inaugural Brighton Marathon took place on 18 April 2010. It started in Preston Park and finished after the participants had run from Rottingdean to Shoreham-by-Sea Shoreham and then back to Madeira Drive.


Public transport dates back to 1840. There are several railway stations, bus services, taxis, and coach services. A Rapid Transport System[45][46] has been under consideration for some years and in the past it has had trolleybuses, ferries, trams and hydrofoil services.

Frequent trains operate from Brighton Station. Many Brighton residents commute to work in London and destinations include London Victoria, London Bridge, and Gatwick Airport, with trains continuing to Bedford. The fastest service from London Victoria takes 51 minutes.[47] Lines west and east from Brighton serve stations to Worthing, Portsmouth and Southampton in the west and via Lewes to Newhaven, Eastbourne, Hastings and Ashford, Kent in the east. A wider range of long-distance destinations was served until 2007–08 when rationalization caused the ending of services via Kensington Olympia and Reading and beyond to Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Manchester. Twice-daily services remain, however, on the line west to Bristol.

Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company operates 300 buses. There is also a limited night service. Brighton seafront is the home of Volk's Electric Railway, the world's oldest electric railway.

Brighton in fiction[]


See also[]

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  • Brighton and Hove
  • Brighton Marina
  • Brighton hotel bombing
  • Brighton in film
  • Eurovision Song Contest 1974
  • List of people from Brighton and Hove
  • Royal Alexandra Hospital for Sick Children
  • The Evening Argus (newspaper)

References and notes[]

  1. Carder, Timothy (1990). The Encyclopaedia of Brighton. S.127 East Sussex County Libraries. ISBN 0-86147-315-9
  2. Template:Cite web
  3. Template:Cite web
  4. Carder (1990), s.17
  5. Russell, Richard (1755). The Oeconomy of Nature in Acute and Chronical Diseases of the Glands (8th ed.). John and James Rivington, London; and James Fletcher, Oxford. Retrieved 7 December 2009.  Full text at Internet Archive (
  6. Russell, Richard (1760). "A Dissertation on the Use of Sea Water in the Diseases of the Glands. Particularly The Scurvy, Jaundice, King's-Evil, Leprosy, and the Glandular Consumption". To which is added a Translation of Dr. Speed's Commentary on SEA WATER. As also An Account of the Nature, Properties, and Uses of all the remarkable Mineral Waters in Great Britain (4th ed.). London: W. Owen. Retrieved 7 December 2009.  First published 1750 as De Tabe Glandulari. Full text at Google Books.
  7. Gray, Fred (2006). Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 46–47. ISBN 1-86189-274-8. Retrieved 8 December 2009. 
  8. Carder (1990), s.71
  9. Mawer, A. and F.M. Stenton, The Place-Names of Sussex, Part II, Cambridge 1930, p. 291.
  10. Carder (1990), s.127
  11. Carder (1990), s.13
  12. The Argus newspaper
  13. The Argus newspaper
  14. The Argus newspaper
  15. Pier Threatens To Unplug Rival (from The Argus)
  16. Template:Cite news
  17. Template:Cite web
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  24. Template:Cite web
  25. BBC NEWS, Bearded wonders go head to head
  27. Template:Cite news
  28. American Express building
  29. Template:Cite web
  30. Template:Cite web
  31. Template:Cite web
  32. Template:Cite web
  33. Template:Cite web
  34. Template:Cite web
  35. Template:Cite web
  36. Brighton Argus (newspaper) article
  37. Template:Cite web
  38. Template:Cite web
  39. Template:Cite web
  40. Template:Cite web
  41. Template:Cite web
  42. Template:Cite web
  43. Template:Cite web.
  44. Template:Cite web.
  45. Template:Cite web
  46. Template:Cite web
  47. Template:Cite news

External links[]

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  • Map Of Brighton Interactive map of Brighton & Hove, with locations of businesses and other points of interest

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