A QUICK HISTORY OF BRIGHTON
BRIGHTON BEGAN AS a Saxon village on the southern coast of England. When the Saxons conquered Sussex in the 5th Century A.D., one of them was named Beorthelm. He owned a farm ("tun") called Beorthelm's tun which, in time became known as Brighton.
In 1313, Brighton was given a charter, granting the inhabitants certain rights. A fish market was held daily on the beach, and there was an annual fair.
The earliest map of Brighton shows a town of approximately a quarter of a mile square. It comprises North Street, West Street, East Street and South Street. The Lanes (which still exist today) were originally pathways between the four streets and the allotments or gardens in the centre. By 1500 Middle Street existed and there were fisherman's huts strung out along the shore.
In 1545 a French invasion of Brighthamstead (Brighton) was driven back into the sea by the locals, and in 1651 Charles II was smuggled to the continent from the town after he unsuccessfully attempted to regain his crown at the Battle of Worcester.
By the early 17th Century Brighton was the largest town in Sussex with a population of nearly 4,000 people. The modern name of Brighton was first recorded in 1660, although it didn't become official until 1810.
In the early 18th century two severe storms greatly damaged Brighton, which was already suffering from erosion of the seashore and an economic depression. In his guidebook A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain (1724), Daniel Defoe wrote: "Brighthelmston (Brighton) is a poor fishing town, old built, and on the edge of the sea".
In 1750 Brighton's fortunes were revived by a paper published in Latin by Dr. Richard Russell (1687-1759), advocating the bathing in and consumption of seawater as a medical cure for numerous glandular complaints, along with asthma, consumption, rheumatism and even deafness.
King George III (1738-1820), who lost the American Revolutionary War and was often referred to as "the Mad" by his subjects, was the first monarch to embrace this advice and he regularly visited Weymouth to swim in the sea.
As the popularity of this remedy grew amongst the wealthy so, as the nearest coastal resort to Russell's hometown of Lewes, Brighton's visitor numbers increased dramatically as holidays by the sea became very fashionable. Brighton quickly became the most popular seaside retreat in Britain, attracting more than 2,000 visitors weekly to the town.
Photo © 2011 WFC2013
Today, Brighton is filled with restaurants, wine bars and pubs catering for every taste and budget, so there is no problem eating out every night. Theatres, cinemas, the famous Lanes shopping district, the Sea Life Centre and the historic Brighton Pier are all a short distance from the convention hotel.
Also within easy walking distance is The Royal Pavilion, the spectacular Indo-Saracenic styled seaside home of the extravagant Prince Regent, George IV (1762-1830), where he entertained the rich and the powerful on an opulent and lavish scale. Originally constructed in 1787, the present Indian structure was redesigned by John Nash and rebuilt between 1815-22.
In the grounds of The Royal Pavilion is The Brighton Museum. It houses an eclectic mix of items, from Art Deco pottery and furniture to Brighton fashions from the past century, and is free to enter.
With direct train links to Gatwick International Airport (30 minutes), Heathrow is around 90 minutes away (2 changes via Heathrow Express) and Central London (under an hour), Brighton is the ideal location to hold a British World Fantasy Convention. Brighton also has direct Motorway links with London and Heathrow, with coaches regularly running from both terminals.
Gatwick is invariably a cheaper airport than Heathrow to fly into from North America and Europe, and Brighton has excellent links to France and the rest of the Continent. For those attendees who want to travel up to London either before or after the convention (for business or pleasure), it is less than an hour away by train, and there are plenty of towns and villages strung out along England's southern coast to make a motoring tour worthwhile.
From the historic Lanes and markets to the latest department stores and boutiques, Brighton offers excellent shopping opportunities for partners or spouses, and although we cannot guarantee the weather around Hallowe'en, Brighton has more than enough going for it as a location that it is guaranteed to be a hit come rain or shine . . .
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