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Brighton ( ) is a town in the city of Brighton and Hovemarker (formed from the towns of Brighton, Hovemarker, Portslademarker and several other villages) in East Sussexmarker on the south coast of Great Britainmarker. 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. Modern Brighton forms part of a conurbation stretching along the coast, with a population of around 480,000.

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


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 Francemarker. Only part of the St Nicholas Churchmarker and the street pattern of the area now known as "The Lanesmarker" survived. The first drawing of Brighthelmstone was made in 1545 and depicts what is believed to be the raid of 1514.During the 1740s and 1750s, Dr Richard Russell of Lewesmarker began prescribing seawater at Brighton. 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. He spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion during the early part of his Regency.

The arrival of the railway in 1841 brought Brighton within the reach of day-trippers from Londonmarker and population growth from around 7,000 in 1801 to over 120,000 by 1901. The Victorian era saw the building of many major attractions including the Grand Hotel marker, the West Pier marker and the Palace Pier marker.

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. New housing estates were established in the acquired areas including Moulsecoombmarker, Bevendeanmarker, Coldeanmarker and Whitehawkmarker. The major expansion of 1928 also incorporated the villages of Patchammarker, Ovingdeanmarker and Rottingdeanmarker, and much council housing was built in parts of Woodingdeanmarker 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 Lainemarker, 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 Hovemarker, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000.


The Royal Pavilionmarker 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 design. The building and grounds were purchased by the town in 1849 for £53,000. Other Indo-Saracenic buildings in Brighton include the Sassoon Mausoleummarker, now, with the bodies reburied elsewhere, in use as a chic supper club.

Brighton Piermarker (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. .

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

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

Churches & places of worship

The 11th century St Nicholas Churchmarker is the oldest building in Brighton, commonly known as "The Mother Church". Other notable churches include the large brick-built St Bartholomew'smarker, and St Peter'smarker 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 & HoveProgressive Synagogue (Liberal) at 6 Landsdowne Road in Hove; Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation at 66 Middle Street Brighton (Orthodox), Hove Hebrew Congregationat 79 Holland Road in Brighton (Orthodox) and Brighton & Hove Reform SynagoguePalmeira Av, Hove (Reformed). Middle Street Synagogue, Brighton is an important Grade II listed building built in 1874-5, 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. As part of the Jedi census phenomenon, 2.6 per cent claimed their religion was Jedi Knight.


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 Kemptownmarker). Brighton's beach, which is a sand-free shingle beach, although it is sand when you go 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 marinasmarker. 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 centremarker in Hove. 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.


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 — for a list, see night-life and popular music of Brighton and Hove. There are also live music venues including the Concorde 2, Brighton Centremarker and the Brighton Domemarker, where ABBA received a substantial boost to their career upon winning 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 Starmarker real ale pub, The Greys gastropub, The Free Butt music pub and the extravagantly decorated Regency Tavern.


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.. 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.

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 Kemptownmarker area has its own small annual street festival, the Kemptown Carnival, and the Hanovermarker area similarly has a "Hanover Day". Beachdown Festival, started in 2008 has recently ceased operations due to financial difficluties.

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

On 1 September 2007, competitors from the United Kingdom, United Statesmarker, Germanymarker 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. Additionally, Brighton is permanent home to notable moustache advocate Michael "Atters" Attree.


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 Royalmarker 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 Housemarker 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", Gay Pride carnival every August attracts thousands. It consists of a carnival parade and a party and funfair in Preston Parkmarker. There is also a "Winter Pride" in March.


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 it's current headquarters in Edward Street. It employs around 3000, the largest private employer in the city.

"The Lanesmarker" 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 Lainemarker 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 an indoor 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. 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.


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

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

The University of Brightonmarker, the former Brighton Polytechnic, has a student population of 20,017 of which 80% are undergraduates. The University is on several sites with additional buildings in Falmermarker, Eastbournemarker and Hastingsmarker.

In 2003, the universities of Sussex and Brighton formed a medical school, known as Brighton and Sussex Medical Schoolmarker. 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 atBrighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form Collegemarker (BHASVIC) in the Seven Dials area. Varndean Collegemarker in North Brighton occupies a commanding position. The 1920s building is celebrated for its façade and internal quads. The college offers academic A levels and vocational courses.

There are state schools, some faith schools. Notable state schools include Longhill High School Varndean Secondary Schoolmarker, Patcham High Schoolmarker, Dorothy Stringermarker, Blatchington Mill School and Sixth Form Collegemarker, Hove Park School and Sixth Form Centre, Falmer High Schoolmarker 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 Collegemarker, Lancing Prep, Roedean Schoolmarker, 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 Hovemarker
Brighton and Hove is covered by part of the Brighton Kemptownmarker constituency, Brighton Pavilionmarker constituency and Hovemarker constituency in the Parliament of the United Kingdommarker. 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.

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 Statesmarker arms company EDO Corporation in Moulsecoombmarker, Brighton, has been the cause of protests since 2004.

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 Marinamarker. Savebrighton has also been active in opposing other planning applications for developments it has regarded as excessive, out of context or otherwise inappropriate.


Brighton and Hove is home to the Sussex County Cricket Club based on Eaton Road.Brighton is also the home of Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club, who played at the Goldstone Groundmarker 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 Stadiummarker. However, the club is due to move to a permanent home at Falmermarker 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.
Brighton hosts what is commonly held to be the world's oldest motor race, the Brighton Speed Trialsmarker 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 2nd 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 Racecoursemarker, 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) 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 was set up in 1985.

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

The Brighton and Hovemarker 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 you 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.

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

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

Brighton is home to the headquarters of White Crane Martial Arts, a martial arts organisation teaching traditional Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Chinese Kickboxing.Brighton Judo Club is located just opposite the European headquarters of American Express.


Public transport dates back to 1840. There are several railway stations, bus services, taxis, and coach services. A Rapid Transport System 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 Stationmarker. Many Brighton residents commute to work in London and destinations include London Victoriamarker, London Bridgemarker, and Gatwick Airport, with trains continuing to Bedfordmarker. The fastest service from London Victoria takes 51 minutes. Lines west and east from Brighton serve stations to Worthingmarker, Portsmouthmarker and Southamptonmarker in the west and via Lewesmarker to Newhaven, Eastbournemarker, Hastingsmarker and Ashford, Kentmarker in the east. A wider range of long-distance destinations was served until 2007-08 when rationalization caused the ending of services via Kensington Olympiamarker and Readingmarker and beyond to Milton Keynesmarker, Birminghammarker and Manchestermarker. Twice-daily services remain, however, on the line west to Bristolmarker.

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 Railwaymarker, the world's oldest electric railway.

Brighton in fiction

See also

References and notes

  1. Carder, Timothy (1990). The Encyclopaedia of Brighton. S.127 East Sussex County Libraries. ISBN 0-86147-315-9
  2. Carder (1990), s.17
  3. Carder (1990), s.71
  4. Carder (1990), s.127
  5. Carder (1990), s.13
  6. The Argus newspaper
  7. The Argus newspaper
  8. The Argus newspaper
  9. Pier Threatens To Unplug Rival (from The Argus)
  10. BBC NEWS, Bearded wonders go head to head
  11. American Express building
  12. Brighton Argus (newspaper) article
  13. .

External links

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

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