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
See also: London By The Sea
Old Ocean's Bauble
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
Below is Smith's poem on the same theme.
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.
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
The phrase is widely used in jest. A quick search on Google returns about
9,600 instances of the phrase on the web.