|The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, the classic view - of the back!|
The young George, Prince of Wales, grew to enjoy an extravagant lifestyle, filled with horse racing and gambling, eating and drinking, dancing and the theatre. By the age of 21, in 1783, he was already starting to suffer ill-health, probably a result of his way of life, and he was recommended by his physician to take the waters at Brighton, which was fast becoming a very fashionable town.
|The banqueting room. The chandelier is 30 feet high and weighs one ton.|
|The music room with its lotus chandeliers.|
It was in 1815 that Prinny employed the architect John Nash to extend and transform the Marine Pavilion. It took eight years to bring the work to an end but Prinny, or King George IV as he was by then, only visited twice more before his death in 1830.
It was Queen Victoria who succeeded George but she disliked Brighton and especially the lack of privacy afforded by the Royal Pavilion. In 1850 there were plans to demolish it but the Brighton Commissioners were successful in persuading the government to sell it for £53,000 and so bought the building for the town. The purchase included the nearby royal stables which had been built to a design complementary to the Pavilion.
|The Dome, one-time stables, now a concert hall.|
After the war, the southern gate to the Pavilion grounds was erected as a gift from the people of India in gratitude to Brighton for the way their soldiers had been treated.
|The Indian Gate.|
It seems quite crazy now, but there was a suggestion back in the 1980s or thereabouts that the Pavilion be demolished - to make way for a bus station! Fortunately, that never happened and, instead, the council spent huge sums of money restoring the building. Much of the original furniture has been loaned by the Queen so that visitors see the building as it was almost two hundred years ago. Even the gardens have been relaid and replanted in accordance with the original plans.
Some photos are my own. Others have been shamelessly borrowed from various sources.