10 Things You Might Not Know About Brighton
A unique coastal resort
There's nowhere quite like Brighton. With its beach, pier, Georgian architecture and surrounding countryside Brighton is rich in history, culture and architecture. It is famous for its Pier, Pavilion and liberal left wing culture but here are some things you might not know about the city.
1. Telling the time
Three of Brighton’s clocks are aligned. A straight line runs from the Palace Pier clock, through the Brighton Station Clock up to the clock tower in Preston Park. If you call the speaking clock the voice you hear is from Hove. Her predecessor was from Brighton.
2. How the people of Brighton kept the Pavilion
The iconic Royal Pavilion estate almost fell through the grips of the council with a majority of just 36 voting in favour to buy it in 1849. It was purchased for £53,000, equivalent to over £56.5 million today.
3. Brighton Dome's subterranean secret
Brighton Dome originally housed George IV’s luxurious stables. He had a secret tunnel built between the Dome and The Pavilion to bring Mistresses in and out and to move between the buildings incognito when he became fat. The tunnel is currently being renovated and it’s hoped it will one day be open to the public.
4. Volk’s Railway
Volk’s Railway in Madeira Drive is the world’s oldest public electric railway. Magnus Volk opened the railway on 4th August 1833 less than eight weeks after his first approach to the council. He spent much of his life developing it and also designed the ‘Daddy longlegs’ a railway that ran through the sea.
5. Britain's first African Royal Wedding
Sarah Forbes Bonetta was an African princess who was orphaned at an early age in her home country. She was captured and given to Queen Victoria as a gift. She was allowed to marry and the ceremony took place at St Nicholas Church in 1862.
More details here
The first blue movie, A Victorian Lady in her Boudoir, was shot in a garden by film pioneer Esme Collings in 1896. It was advertised as ‘for gentlemen’s smoking concert audiences only.’
7. Musical legends
Since the Brighton Centre opened in 1977 it has played host to the biggest names in show business. One of the first was Bing Crosby who gave his last ever public performance on 10 October 1977.
The Brighton Dome also has it's share of rock and pop history. Pink Floyd played the first of 8 shows at the venue supporting Jimi Hendrix. David Bowie caused such a sensation fans jumped on the seats with such vigour that the managers banned him from returning and in 1974 Abba won the Eurovision song contest at the venue with Waterloo.
8. Flying pioneers
Shoreham airport is the oldest in the country. It opened in 1910 and hosted the first ever commercial flight to Hove Lawns on 4th July 1911. The cargo was light bulbs.
Brighton’s Sealife Centre has the oldest functioning aquarium in the world and boasts the country’s largest underwater viewing tunnel.
10. Shark Attack
Brighton Beach is a popular spot for bathing but shark attacks have been reported. In 1785 The Morning Herald carried a report of a man who was pursued by a 12 foot tiger shark that got stuck on land. When it was cut open they found a man’s head inside. Read the full story here.
- Patrick's Postcards: Things to Love About Brighton
For a list of things to love about Brighton and more read my travel blog