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10 Things You Might Not Know About Brighton

Updated on February 9, 2014
The Western Pier, Brighton
The Western Pier, 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.

Palace Pier Clock
Palace Pier Clock

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.

Brighton Pavilion
Brighton Pavilion

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.

The 'Daddy long legs'
The 'Daddy long legs' | Source

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


6. X-Rated

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.

Brighton Dome
Brighton Dome | Source

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.


9. Sealife

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.

Was a tiger shark caught in Brighton in 1785?
Was a tiger shark caught in Brighton in 1785? | Source


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    • Patrick Widdess profile image

      Patrick Widdess 3 years ago from Cambridge, UK

      Thanks Mecheshier!

    • mecheshier profile image

      mecheshier 3 years ago

      Great Hub!!!! What a wonderful researched post. I love the detail. Thank you. Voted up for interesting and awesome