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Visiting Brighton Railroad Station, England: incorporating the Italianate stucture by David Mocatta dating from 1839/40

Updated on October 22, 2015
Flag of England
Flag of England | Source
Brighton, Station Trafalgar Street / Queen's Road
Brighton, Station Trafalgar Street / Queen's Road | Source
View of the Brighton Station of the London & Brighton Railway. Tinted lithograph, 1841. Published by Ackermann & Co, London
View of the Brighton Station of the London & Brighton Railway. Tinted lithograph, 1841. Published by Ackermann & Co, London | Source
Brighton railway station The David Mocatta designed main station building of 1840 is to the left but this stand-alone iron and glass porte-cochere was added in 1883
Brighton railway station The David Mocatta designed main station building of 1840 is to the left but this stand-alone iron and glass porte-cochere was added in 1883 | Source

From a designer of railroad stations and synagogues

The well-known Anglo-Jewish architect David Mocatta (1806-1882)(1) was responsible for the 1839/40 railroad station building at Brighton (2), East Sussex. While later expanded, this original building still stands, and has been incorporated into the larger station complex of today.

The original building was in Italianate style, particularly popular in early Victorian times. The clock atop the main elevation is among its most prominent features which is still visible, although its series of pillars has been somewhat obscured since 1883 when the ornate, wrought iron porte-cochere was added to the front of the building. I have supplied photos which show David Mocatta's original building in the background, albeit partially obscured by the huge porte-cochere, itself a substantial and tastefully designed structure.

Part of the historic function of the coming of the railroad to Brighton in the 19th century was that it became the shortest link between London and the south coast. By the early 19th century Brighton was already a popular seaside resort, but the considerable shortening of travel time to Brighton from the London area represented a catalyst for the further development of the resort. The intermediate station at Lewes also became the location for a rail branch leading to Newhaven: in its turn the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry became the most direct ferry link between London and Paris.

Brighton Station has 8 platforms under a huge roof, refurbished in recent years. 16 million passengers use it annually. It is operated by Southern. Annually the station has been the venue for Christmas carol-singing enthusiasts, something of a British tradition (3).

Brighton is located in East Sussex, on the south coast of England.

October 22, 2015


(1) A cousin of financier and philanthropist Sir Moses Monfefiore (1784-1885), Architect Mocatta is known for having designed both railroad stations and synagogues. He was notably responsible for 10 intermediate stations on the London & Brighton Railway, and for the West London Synagogue.

(2) Brighton forms a city with Hove, known as Brighton and Hove; the two towns merged in 1997.

(3) British airports also have been known as venues for carol singing; I recall traveling through London Stanstead airport during December, to be greeted by enthusiastic renditions of time-honoured Christmas carols.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia.

Map location of Brighton, United Kingdom
Map location of Brighton, United Kingdom | Source

Also worth seeing

In Brighton itself, the Pavilion is one of the town's famous buildings, with its distinct, 'onion'-shaped domes; the Parish Church of St Peter, by Sir Charles Barry, displays some magnificent Gothic stying.

Near Seaford (distance: approx. 20 kilometres) are the scenically impressive Seven Sisters cliffs.


How to get there: United Airlines flies to London Heathrow Airport, where car rental is available. (Distance from London Heathrow to Brighton: 110 kilometres.) For access by road, take M23/A23. There are rail links to Brighton from London Victoria railroad station. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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