If you've ever escaped into a historical romance set in the Regency period in England, you are sure to have heard of the Brighton Pavilion, the haunt of George, the Prince of Wales and Prince Regent (he became King George IV). He and Mrs. Fitz-Herbert, his morganatic wife, bought a small farm house in what was then the village of Brighthelmstone. "Prinny's" penchant for sea bathing helped to transform this small rural community into a mecca of high society.
Over a period of nearly fifty years, from 1783 (when he was only 21) to his death in 1830, George transformed the simple home. First, the farmhouse was incorporated into the Marine Pavilion (architect Henry Holland created a neo-classical villa). In 1803, William Porden built the huge Royal Stables in the Indian style, which soon dwarfed the Pavilion itself. Finally, John Nash took seven years to add sumptuous state rooms to the Pavilion and recreate the exterior into the Indian/Chinese edifice we see today.
In 1830, when George died, it was taken over by the young Queen Victoria. However, she felt that she was too close to the "tourists" in Brighton, and bought a new summer home on the Isle of Wight. In 1850, she sold the Pavilion to the town of Brighton, taking all its interior furnishings with her - even the wallpaper! The Pavilion was then used for a number of mundane purposes for the next century or so(including as a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers ). When the town of Brighton decided to restore the Pavilion in 1980, a plea was made to the monarchy, and Queen Elizabeth II has slowly unearthed and returned most of the original interior fittings, furniture and other embellishments.
Address: 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1EE
Phone: 01273 290900
Fax: 01273 292871