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Brighton Pavilion

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Brighton Pavilion

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Brighton Pavilion

"It looks like a giant Indian restaurant". This is often the first-time visitor’s response to the exterior of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion. Once inside, though, you will find the flavour turns distinctly Chinese.

The seaside residence that was built for the Prince Regent, later George IV, was originally a farmhouse, which in 1787 made way for a neo-classical villa, the Marine Pavilion. From 1815-1823, John Nash transformed this Pavilion into the building that now attracts 300,000 visitors a year, adding the domes and minarets that give it its distinctive Eastern style.

Queen Victoria did not share George's fondness for the Pavilion, much preferring the classical grandeur of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. The Pavilion was stripped, and a Bill was published for its demolition and the eventual redevelopment of the land, but a change of heart saw it sold to the town council for £53,000.

Magnificently bizarre, the Pavilion has always inspired bizarre comparisons. The Georgian clergyman and wit Sydney Smith said of it: "It is as though St Paul's went down to the sea and pupped."

Photo: Maria Gibbs


Your comments

Classic example of architecture engendered by the Britsh monarchy which has becme a symbol of the British seaside


I grew up in Brighton and managed never to visit the Pavilion until I was fifteen! I suspect that's a common experience for locals. It's a great building, but i have to say the Brighton landmark i would nominate instead is the wonderful, tragic, rusting, just about still-standing West Pier. The young pretender Palace Pier has now taken on the all-encompassing name of "Brighton Pier" but in our eyes, it's the West Pier that's the true spirit of Brighton, crumbling into the sea, circled by flocks of starlings at dusk, silhouetted against the sunset, a Victorian ghost of our once glorious heyday. Whereas the Palace Pier has karaoke and hog roast.
Kathryn Jones

A splendid example of craftsmanship, quite unique.
Pru Gridley

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I nominate the red pillar box.

Donna Spencer