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History of Brighton

It is believed that people have inhabited the Brighton area for hundreds of thousands of years. Evidence of an ancient fishing village exists predating the Roman period. In the Domesday Book, Brighton was called Bristelmestune and this name gradually evolved to Brichtelmeston (C12), Brighthelmeston (C15) and Brighthelmston as late as the early 1800s. Later in the 1800s the name Brighton took hold.

In June 1514 Brighthelmstone was burnt to the ground by French raiders during a war between England and France. Only part of the St Nicholas Church and the street pattern of the area now known as "The Lanes" survived.

By 1780, development of the Georgian terraces had started and the fishing village became the fashionable resort of Brighton. Growth was further encouraged by the Prince Regent (later King George IV) after his first visit in 1783. He spent much of his leisure time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion during the early part of his Regency.

The arrival of the railway in 1841 brought Brighton within the reach of day - trippers from London and the population grew from around 7,000 in 1801 to over 120,000 by 1901. The Victorian era saw the building of many major attractions including the Grand Hotel (1864), the West Pier (1866) and the Palace Pier (1899).

In 1997 Brighton and Hove were joined to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000. Brighton is sometimes referred to as London-by-the-sea.