‘Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball.From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.’– ‘Pinball Wizard’ from Tommy, 1975. Pete Townsend
‘A comfortable inn in Brighton is better than a spunging-house in Chancery Lane.’ Vanity Fair, chapter 25, 1848
– William Makepeace Thackeray
There is a phrase: ‘the sweet smell of success’. And I can only tell you, I’ve had two experiences of that and it just smells like Brighton and oyster bars and things like that.
– Laurence Olivier – who made his stage debut at the Hippodrome in Middle Street in 1925. From 1968 to 1979 he lived at 4-5 Royal Crescent.
‘Brighton is still very gay and full of balls.’– Samuel Rogers, January 1829
While Brighton slept—North Street, West Street, East Street, Western Road, Preston Street, Hove, the hotels, the shops, the restaurants, the movies, the baths, the booths, the churches, the Market, the Post Office, the pubs, the antiques, the second-hand books—slept and gleamed and climbed up from the sea under the dark blue dawn, the enormous gloomy man walked along the front, hardly visible in the darkness, seemingly the only wayfarer, the only one awake. And he looked out at the sea and wondered what he had to do. When he remembered he was about opposite the Grand. He remembered without any trouble, any strain. He had to kill Netta Longdon. •– Patrick Hamilton, Hangover Square, 1941.
The place is absolutely dreadful, the food is bad, the waiters are ugly, the one good thing about Brighton is the bad morals of its visitors.
– Richard Burton (the explorer not the actor, 1821-1890)
Human nature doesn’t change—like a stick of Brighton rock you bite all the way down and still read ‘BRIGHTON’!
– Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
Sickly old King George has been relegated to a mere figurehead, whilst his naughty, eldest son, George, runs the country as Prince Regent. What parties we have attended! What palaces we have visited!
Prince George’s fantasy pavilion at Brighton was by far the most erotic. I have never been in a Turkish seraglio, but I’ll wager that even the most sophisticated Pasha was out-done by Prince George. He had erotic furniture, such as comfortable chaise longues [sic] that in Paris were made for ladies to lounge in, but in Prince George’s Brighton palace were for sexual intercourse.
I had the privilege to watch the artist Rowlandson draw a pencil sketch of the Prince with his lady, Mrs Fitzherbert. He created good likenesses of both.
– LOUISA Catherine Johnson ADAMS (1775-1852). First Lady (1825-1829), wife of John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the United States, and daughter of the American consul in London. The first of only two First Ladies born outside America (the other being Melania Trump).
Riding down to Brighton in a charabanc,
Fifty miles an hour and we don’t care a hang.
We don’t envy those big Rolls Royces,
Singing a song at the top of our voices,
Though that charabanc’s a good idea,
Though it shakes your liver up we don’t care,
The engine’s full of petrol, the driver’s full of beer,
Driving down to Brighton in a charabanc.
– Hit song for Whit Cunliffe c1920-21
What I have always liked about Brighton is its impersonality. Since the 18th century, people have come, used the place and gone home again.
– Lynne Truss
The great thing about Brighton is that you can buy your lover a pair of knickers on Victoria Station and in less than two hours have them off again in the Grand Hotel.
– Keith Waterhouse
I love San Francisco and Brighton has something of San Francisco about it. It’s by the sea, there’s a big gay community, a feeling of people being there because they enjoy their life there.
– Brian Eno
Most of the images on this post courtesy of Glen F. whose amazing collection of photographs and postcards can be found on Flickr.