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City By The Sea And the Downs

Royal Pavilion Renovation

Royal Pavilion Renovation

Brighton is bound by the sea to the south and the South Downs immediately to its north. Most of the open countryside behind Brighton has in recent years been designated as part of the new, not-quite-yet-created South Downs National Park.

The price the 250,000 or so residents of the city pay for such close proximity both to the sea and to scenic downland is to have a high population density and high rent and property prices to match.

'The City by the Sea' is a popular phrase, originally coined as part of a successful promotional campaign by the local council. The phrase has taken root and is used by many both in the city and without. (In 2002 the phrase became the title of a Holywood movie starring Robert De Niro! Was that a steal?)

Brighton is actually a two-town city, which is unique in Britain, though not unknown elsewhere. Budapest, for example, is the nclick to do a quiz about Brightoname of the city created in 1873 by the merger of Buda and Pest, two towns on either side of the Danube. The Hungarians settled the naming issue at the time the city was created, but here we are left with the cumbersome mouthful of 'Brighton & Hove'. In common practice the city is known as Brighton (though this irks some Hove nationalists) while in official parlance the terminology, 'the City of Brighton & Hove', remains. How long this will hold true is anybody's guess, but place names do change. Afterall, Brighton was known as Brighthelmston up until about 1810, and the term was still commonly used well into the nineteenth century.

In 1997 the local government administrations of the neighbouring towns of Brighton and Hove merged to create one Brighton & Hove Council. Some Hove residents saw this as annexation. What is true is that Hove had always been the junior partner, smaller and more sedate, while Brighton had always had a louder, seaside, even raffish reputation. But in reality since the late nineteenth century Click to go to The Digital CanvasBrighton and Hove have formed one densely-populated conurbation, a fact recognised throughout the twentieth century in the names of the local football club, Brighton & Hove Albion and the local bus company, Brighton & Hove. It was always an odd fact that when you crossed Norfolk Square, right in the main shopping thoroughfare, you were crossing the boundary between the two towns.

 

So it was very fitting that in 2000 the new city of Brighton & Hove was officially created. Between 1997 and 2000 what we had was two towns with one political administration. City status cemented this union. It was a recognition of reality and Brighton became the biggest city in the South-East apart from London. To be precise, the City of Brighton and Hove became the largest city in the south-east, apart from London.

The Place to Be

Brighton is a great place to live. It has seven miles of coastline, from Saltdean in the east to Shoreham harbour in the west. In the summer - indeed on any sunny day at whatever time of year - between its two historic piers, the gaudy funfair of Brighton Pier and the skeletal wreck of the West Pier, thousands of holidaymakers and residents 'promenade' like many generations have before them - for Brighton has been a popular seaside resort for more than two centuries.

Click to go to the Seascape GalleryBrighton is also a major shopping centre attracting people from all over Sussex and beyond. Londoners often come down to Brighton for both sea and shopping. It has hundreds of places to eat. And it has an annual calendar of events that means there's always something on worth going to see - for example, in Madeira Drive. And yet wherever you live in the city the Downs are never far away by car or bus, cycle or even foot.

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