Brighton was originally a small village which grew rapidly when sea cures were first recommended by doctors in the mid 1700s. The sea front became the place to be seen among fashionable society, and with the piers being built at the end of the 19th century. One of the most remarkable features of the town is the Royal Pavilion.
Brighton enters history in an entry in the Domesday Book of 1086, but under the variation of Bristelmestune. The old fishing village of Brighthelmstone became Brighton because of the Pavilion the exhilarating oriental palace built by John Nash for his patron the Prince Regent, George IV. Born Prince of Wales in 1762, George IV was the oldest son of George III. He rebelled against his strict upbringing, embarking on a life of drinking, womanising and gambling that scandalised the country and got him sent out of his father’s sight — Brighton, and the Pavilion, are the result of that removal.
George IV — known familiarly to the country as ‘Prinny’ — enjoyed a succession of passionate love affairs and two marriages. In 1785 he secretly wed Catholic widow Maria Fitzherbert and in 1795 entered into a disastrous official union with Caroline of Brunswick. George’s complicated personal life is defined by the fact that an underground passage leads from the Pavilion to the nearby house occupied by Mrs Fitzherbert. George became Prince Regent in 1811 when his father was thought to be mad, and was crowned in 1820.