Weekly City Spotlight: Brighton and Hove


View of Brighton Pier by night

Brighton and Hove are seaside resorts situated in East Sussex.  Both were jointly awarded city status in 2000.  Hugely popular, Brighton and Hove have a wide range of attractions for the many visitors they receive each year, offering the traditional seaside experience as well as the lively and culturally diverse, there really is something for everyone in these cities.

Brighton through the Years
In the Domesday Book, Brighton at that time known as Bristelmestune, is referred to as a manor.  By the 16th Century it had become a fishing village with over 4,000 inhabitants and is then called Brighthelmstone.  Brighton itself has had a turbulent history, and was completely destroyed by fire by the French following the Treaty of Westminster in 1514.  The effects of sea erosion impacted the town in the 1600’s with several dwellings being destroyed.  The town suffered at the hands of a huge storm in 1703 which damaged the town extensively, with a further storm hitting Brighton in 1705, and again the extent was felt across the town. During this latter period its population had reduced greatly to approximately 2,000.

In the mid 1700’s several doctors began to promote the benefits of seawater in the treating of their patients.   Dr Richard Russell recommended various therapies for his patients, including bathing in seawater, as well as drinking it.  These views were supported by a number of doctors at this time and as a result the Brighton Baths were built in 1769.

Brighton became increasingly popular in the mid to late 1700’s, favoured by the Prince Regent, work began on the Brighton Pavilion to provide a place of residence.  In 1841, the London and Brighton Railway made Brighton a popular destination for day trippers, the significant increase in visitors led to the construction of hotels and accommodation as well as the West and Palace Pier.

A History of Hove
Situated to the west of Brighton, Hove was a small settlement in the 12th century which included St Andrew’s parish church. Much smaller than Brighton, Hove had a population of 101 residents as detailed in the 1801 census and in later years was renowned for the smuggling activities which took place there.

In 1835, gasworks were built in the area by the Brighton and Hove Gas Company, Hove was chosen in order to avoid the duty required to be paid on coal in Brighton by its Town Act 1773.  Whilst the gasworks continued to grow, as with Brighton the arrival of the railways brought great change. Hove began to develop and following the construction of the Brunswick Estate, areas such as West Brighton Estate and Cliftonville were also built.  Although not as lively as Brighton, Hove still proved popular, with its many visitors appreciating its beauty and grandeur of its architecture.

Popular Culture
Brighton and Hove have much to offer to their many visitors.  The Brighton Festival and Fringe Festival celebrate the arts and diverse culture associated with Brighton.  The area is also known for its fantastic shopping centres, nightlife and seaside attractions.  Hove offers a beautiful seaside retreat with parks and gardens, as well as stunning walks to explore the local area.

Films & TV
Both Brighton and Hove have extensive historic roots within the film industry, Hove played a key role in early film production, with George Albert Smith and James Williamson who were pioneers in cinema and photography both having studios in Hove.  Films associated with Brighton include:

Quadrophenia – (1979) starring Phil Daniels and Ray Winston, the film which was shot in Brighton takes its origins from The Who album of the same name.

Brighton Rock – (1947), based on the thriller novel by Graham Greene, Richard Attenborough and William Hartnell starred in this film which was shot on location in Brighton.

The Young Victoria (2009) – starring such names Emily Blunt, Jim Broadbent and Mark Strong, this award winning period drama was filmed in a number of beautiful locations across the UK including Brighton.

Brighton Rock, the thriller written by Graham Green in 1938 and set in Brighton, which was later made into a film.
The Brightonomicon, a fantasy novel by Robert Rankin, written in 2005, it features the mystery surrounding the Brighton Zodiac.
The Death of Bunny Munro, published in 1989, this gritty novel was written by Nick Cave and is set in Brighton.

Social Media
Brighton and Hove has its own official tourism website, Visit Brighton, as well as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Famous Faces
John Wisden – Born in 5 September 1862 in Brighton, John was a famous cricketer and now more commonly associated with the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, a book first produced in 1864 which continues to be updated and published to the present day.

Nicholas Grimshaw – responsible for the design of both the Eden Project and Waterloo International Railway Station, Nicholas Grimshaw was born in Hove on 9th October 1939.  Other architectural designs credited to Grimshaw include the National Space Centre in Leicester.

Chesney Allen, famously part of the double act Flanagan and Allen, Chesney Allen was born in Brighton in 1893. Flanagan and Allen entertained audiences from the 1920’s, and Allen co-wrote Underneath the Arches, one of their best loved songs.

Thomas Henry Sargent – Better known by his stage name, Max Miller, was born in Brighton on 21st November 1894.  Famously known as the Cheeky Chappie, Max was a star of stage and screen. A statue of the funny man can be found in the Pavilion Garden at Brighton.

Pauline Baynes – born in Hove on 9th September 1922, Pauline Baynes was a well-known illustrator whose work featured in many books including those of JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis, Pauline illustrated the front cover of the Chronicles of Narnia.

The Royal Pavilion – Construction of the Royal Pavilion began in 1787, and was built under the instruction of Prince Regent to provide him with a summer retreat.  Surrounded with beautiful gardens, in the 1800’s the Pavilion was extended and enhanced by the work of John Nash, into the iconic building instantly associated with Brighton.

The Brunswick Estate – with Brunswick Terrace located on the seafront at Hove, this magnificent regency style building forms part of the Brunswick Estate.  Sir Winston Churchill attended school in Brunswick in 1883 and other former residents of the area include Admiral Sir George Augustus Westphal, who was wounded on HMS Victory in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Brighton Marine Palace and Pier – Originally built in 1823, Brighton pier offers a wide range of attractions for the whole family, with thrilling rides, amusements as well as traditional stalls.  The Pier itself has featured in many films.

Hove Museum & Art Gallery – Admission is free to the museum which is set in parklands.  The museum offers visitors fine arts as well as a toy gallery, and also includes exhibits from the early years of cinema.

The Clock Tower – Situated in North Street, Brighton, the Clock Tower is a grade II structure built in 1888, to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.

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