Facts About the Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Brighton is the largest seaside resort on the south coast of England, famous for it's pier, electric beach railway and The Lanes, a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and small shops.
Tourism came to Brighton with the advent of the railway in 1841, encouraging day trippers from England's capital, London.
In 1997, along with the neighbouring coastal town of Hove, Brighton and Hove together, were granted city status, with Brighton's official title now being The City of Brighton and Hove.
The city has another official title to it's merit, that of the Gay Capital of the U.K, and it is here that the annual Gay Pride March is held every August, a colourful and vibrant extravaganza that attracts thousands of visitors to the city.
The city also attracts visitors to its annual London To Brighton vintage car rally, it's racecourse, lavish marina and the world famous Girls Public School, Roedean.
However, despite Brighton's bustling 524 m ( 1,719 ft ) long pier, it's beachfront railway, amazing Sealife World and atmospheric Lanes, Brighton's number one tourist attraction is in fact it's Royal Pavilion.
The Pavilion was built in the end of the 1700's in the Indo - Saracenic style for Prince George The Prince Regent ( future King George IV ), after being advised by his doctor to take more sea air for his gout.
This advice led to the Prince Regent's long and notorious association with the town of Brighton.
The building was originally a farmhouse that the Prince Regent rented for his sojourns to Brighton in order to take the sea air as prescribed by his doctor.
After several stays at the farmhouse, the Prince Regent undertook architect Henry Holland to completely revamp the building.
Of course the Prince's plans for modernisation were unlike any other that had been undertaken at that time.
The Prince wanted total opulence and grandeur all done in an oriental style, as well as a domed roof and stabling for 60 horses.
Between the years 1815 - 1820, the building was redesigned again, this time by famous architect John Nash - famous for building Trafalgar Square and St James Park in London - into the grander and even more opulent building that we know today.
The building's interior decoration and furniture and fittings were all of an Indian, Islamic or Chinese theme, with many items being specially commissioned and shipped to England, at great expense, on the orders of the Prince.
The Prince would host lavish and extravagant balls and dinner parties at the Royal Pavilion and it soon became one of the most sought after locations for Britain's early 19th century royals, gentry and high flyers of the day.
The Pavilion was also used by the Prince for discreet liasions with his long time companion Maria Fitzherbert, giving rise to rumours of the Pavilion being a hive of immorality that brought shame onto the fine town of Brighton, with locals referring to the pavilion as ' George's Pleasure Palace'.
Word of these rumours and the Prince Regent's lavish spending, were soon to became known countrywide, giving rise to strong anti - royal feelings against the monarchy by the general public.
Although the Prince Regent's father, King George III was still alive, Prince Regent was in fact performing all the King's royal appointments at this time, owing to his father's mental illness, which rendered King George III incapable of his royal duties.
THE BANQUETING HALL DESIGNED BY JOHN NASH
The Royal Pavilion remained a royal residence until 1850, when Queen Victoria, whom apparently disliked both Brighton and the Royal Pavilion, sold the building to the town of Brighton for £ 53,000.
The Pavilion's fixtures, fittings and furniture were all removed and housed at Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
At that time the Pavilion was used as Assembly Rooms until the end of the Second World War, when local town planners began to restore the Pavilion back to how it was in the days of the Prince Regent. As well as undertaking a complete refit of the building, town planners also commissioned reproduction replicas of all the previous Indian, Islamic and Chinese furniture, fixtures and fittings.
Today the Royal Pavilion is a grade II listed building, housing a museum with over a million exhibits from around the world, a library of rare books, some dating back to the 13th century and exhibition halls staging local, national and international exhibits.
The Royal Pavilion also contains tea rooms, a gift shop and is surrounded by parkland and gardens.
The Royal Pavilion also known as The Brighton Pavilion is Brighton's most visited landmark, attracting over a million visitors every year.
An introdution to the Royal Pavilion / YouTube
FOR OPENING TIMES, ADMISSION FEES AND EXHIBITION DATES VISIT.
© D.B.Bellamy. June 2010.
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