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London By The Sea

London By The Sea

Brighton has been known as London By The Sea since Victorian times. Before the arrival of the railway in 1841 it was a fairly exclusive resort. Thereafter it grew into a mass tourist destination, especially for the London masses. Since then there has been a constant flow of population into Brighton from London. And whereas other towns of Sussex have an urban variation of a Sussex rural accent, Brighton has its own variation on London's cockney: Brighton cockney.

Brighton (the conurbation of Brighton and Hove) is by far the largest urban area in Sussex, and is sometimes seen as the southwards extension of London, separated from London only because of the Downs.

Of course, this is all a matter of degree. Today the London commuting population is spread all along the South coast, but is probably biggest in Brighton.

See also: London By The Sea

Old Ocean's BaubleHorace & James Smith

Horace Smith (1779-1849) was a poet, novelist, and successful stockbroker, friend of Shelly, and originator of the phrase, and epithet for Brighton: old ocean's bauble. It was used as the title of a history of mid Victorian Brighton by EW Gilbert, first published in 1954.

The phrase aptly epitomises the Victorian image of Brighton, one which, incidentally, Queen Victoria didn't like.

Smith was a friend of the dinosaur hunter, Gideon Mantell, and of the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelly. Shelley wrote a famous poem Ozymandias of Egypt. Below is Smith's poem on the same theme.

Ozymandias.

    IN Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
      Stands a gigantic Leg, which far off throws
      The only shadow that the Desart knows:—
    "I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
      "The King of Kings; this mighty City shows
    "The wonders of my hand."— The City's gone,—
      Nought but the Leg remaining to disclose
    The site of this forgotten Babylon.

    We wonder,—and some Hunter may express
    Wonder like ours, when thro' the wilderness
      Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace,
    He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
      What powerful but unrecorded race
      Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

Hove, Actually!

Adelaide Crescent, HoveA visitor to Brighton, perhaps, meets a local person, and in their conversation asks: "So you're from Brighton?"

Comes the reply: "Hove, actually!"

The phrase has come to encapsulate a rather haughty view of the relationship between the two adjacent towns, now part of one city, in which Brighton is seen as plebian and disreputable, while Hove is reserved, respectable and middle-class.

The phrase is widely used in jest. A quick search on Google returns about 9,600 instances of the phrase on the web.

 

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