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Saturday, 21 December 2013

A glimpse of Regency Brighton

A lot of people have written much about the Pavilion at Brighton, so I shan't add too much in words, other than mentioning that it had hot and cold running water and seawater on tap, which is pretty impressive plumbing in anyone's book for the time  But then everyone who knows me knows my obsession with plumbing and drainage, made a trifle more acute right now as I managed to break the toilet.  [Our plumber has it in hand and has done me a temporary fix until he can get me the parts... bless him, and bless Joseph Bramah and Thomas Crapper and others of their ilk for the flush toilet, which Prinny was one of a few to enjoy]. 

Anyway, after that divergence from the relevant, I just wanted to post some period prints of Brighton as well as my own photograph above and a few of my snaps of the town's buildings. 

The Pavilion and Steyne[sic] 1806

Brighthelmstone was primarily a watering place; and this 1803 print shows the baths
1814 view of the beach
I shouldn't mind the royal stables as a conservatory myself
last but not least a view from 1820
And now some of my own photos of buildings on and near the seafront; many of which are 1820's but which give the idea of the Georgian building in general. The cars are not very period of course but doubtless there would be heavy traffic with carriages and horses and delivery carts.

these buildings are facing the sea

Looking along the houses fronting towards the sea.  The ironwork surrounding the areas is more apparent in this shot.
the epitome of Regency poshness, one of the prestigious squares.  This one was built in 1828 but the style is identical to earlier ones
the houses are less posh as they run up the hill away from the sea...
I mention the area in 'Death of a Fop'.  This is a town house much like Jane's in London with an area, you can see the gate to the steps that lead down into the area, the windows opening onto it and the top of the door under the steps to the main front door
and this is looking down into the area


  1. Thanks for sharing the pictures of Brighton in the Regency period. I am especially interested to see some as I had taken part in a dance seminar including a ball set in “Brighton” in “1820” some weeks ago. It nice to see how the place looked in those days.
    I had read somewhere that the Pavillion had hot and cold running water, but didn’t know it also had seawater on tap. Was it for medical reasons, maybe inspired by the ideas of the physician Richard Russell, who lived in Brighton in the mid 18th century? Russell had encouraged his patients to submerse or bath in sea water or – shudder – to drink it.

  2. Glad they were useful! I do plan to go back to Brighton on purpose one day... our son. His car. Don't ask.....when I can plan a proper trip and decide what to see, instead of sorting out the sprog and then declaring that while we were there, we'd be fools not to try to see the Pavilion and some architecture before driving 200 miles home. We didn't have time to go in it [even if we'd been able to find somewhere to park]. My advice to anyone going on purpose is make use of the park and ride facilities which we shall do another time! I photographed all those wonderful sea front buildings and discovered later that they were a building phase in the late 1820's, but they are so typical of the whole late Georgian/Regency that I thought it was reasonable to put them in as exemplars.
    I believe the seawater was for Prinny to bathe in after those heavy parties when he couldn't be bothered to go to the beach as it's fully 5 minutes walk away, most of which is traversing the corridors of the Pavilion. Which wasn't actually as big as I was expecting it to be!