Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::database() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 23

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 177

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 178

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 179

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 180

Strict Standards: Declaration of dbTable::create() should be compatible with dbObject::create() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/3rdparty/adodb/adodb-xmlschema03.inc.php on line 642

Strict Standards: Declaration of dbIndex::create() should be compatible with dbObject::create() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/3rdparty/adodb/adodb-xmlschema03.inc.php on line 806

Strict Standards: Declaration of dbData::create() should be compatible with dbObject::create() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/3rdparty/adodb/adodb-xmlschema03.inc.php on line 1051

Strict Standards: Declaration of dbQuerySet::create() should be compatible with dbObject::create() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/3rdparty/adodb/adodb-xmlschema03.inc.php on line 1302

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 181

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 26

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::startup() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 27

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getLibrary() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 64

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 28

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 30

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 32

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 33

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 34

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 35

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 36

Strict Standards: Declaration of DatabaseItemList::sortBy() should be compatible with ItemList::sortBy($column, $direction = 'asc') in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/item_list.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 37

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 38

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 39

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 40

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 41

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 42

Strict Standards: Declaration of BlockController::setupAndRun() should be compatible with Controller::setupAndRun() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/block_controller.php on line 391

Strict Standards: Declaration of BlockController::get() should be compatible with Controller::get($key = NULL) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/block_controller.php on line 391

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 43

Strict Standards: Declaration of AttributeTypeView::action() should be compatible with View::action($action, $task = NULL) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/attribute/view.php on line 124

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::library() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 44

Strict Standards: Declaration of AttributeTypeController::setupAndRun() should be compatible with Controller::setupAndRun() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/attribute/controller.php on line 173

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 52

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 53

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 54

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 55

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 56

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 57

Strict Standards: Declaration of PendingAttributeType::getList() should be compatible with AttributeType::getList($akCategoryHandle = false) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/attribute/type.php on line 243

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 58

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 59

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 60

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/file.php on line 3

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 61

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 63

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 64

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 65

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/collection_types.php on line 25

Strict Standards: Declaration of CollectionAttributeKey::getList() should be compatible with AttributeKey::getList($akCategoryHandle, $filters = Array) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/attribute/categories/collection.php on line 147

Strict Standards: Declaration of CollectionAttributeKey::add() should be compatible with AttributeKey::add($akCategoryHandle, $type, $args, $pkg = false) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/attribute/categories/collection.php on line 147

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 66

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 68

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 69

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 70

Strict Standards: Declaration of Page::add() should be compatible with Collection::add($data) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/page.php on line 2438

Strict Standards: Declaration of Page::duplicate() should be compatible with Collection::duplicate() in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/page.php on line 2438

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 71

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 72

Strict Standards: Declaration of ComposerPage::getByID() should be compatible with Page::getByID($cID, $versionOrig = 'RECENT', $class = 'Page') in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/composer_page.php on line 164

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/composer_page.php on line 11

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 73

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 74

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 75

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 76

Strict Standards: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/theme_paths.php on line 4

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cookie - headers already sent by (output started at /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php:23) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/startup/session.php on line 22

Warning: session_start(): Cannot send session cache limiter - headers already sent (output started at /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php:23) in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/startup/session.php on line 22

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 13

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 48

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 146

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 117

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getLibrary() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 121

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 137

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::set() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 159

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 101

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getLibrary() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 103

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 107

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 20

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 24

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 27

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 31

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 35

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 39

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 43

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 48

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 54

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 90

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 114

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 118

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 122

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 126

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 131

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 136

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 140

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 144

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 148

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 152

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 156

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 160

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 165

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 168

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/app.php on line 177

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 313

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getOrDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/localization.php on line 5

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::getAndDefine() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 87

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/config.php on line 91

Strict Standards: Non-static method Localization::init() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/localization.php on line 37

Strict Standards: Non-static method FileTypeList::getInstance() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/config/file_types.php on line 15

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/startup/debug_logging.php on line 3

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 78

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 117

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getLibrary() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 121

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 137

Strict Standards: Non-static method User::checkUserForeverCookie() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/startup/user.php on line 4

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/request.php on line 110

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 117

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getLibrary() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 121

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache.php on line 137

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/startup/maintenance_mode_check.php on line 5

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 212

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/brighto2/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

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Brighton Ourstory :: Brighton's history
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Brighton's history

Below is a brief outline of some of what we know about Brighton's queer past.

For a more detailed journey back through time, see A History of Lesbian & Gay Brighton.

When Brighton began to flourish as a pleasure resort at the end of the eighteenth century under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, he cannot have imagined that the small fishing town would one day become the Gay Capital of the South. Despite harsh legal penalties (the last man to be executed for buggery was hanged in 1835), evidence suggests that a floating population of holiday makers and good transport links with London (followed by the coming of the railway in 1841) together provided the ideal conditions for the 'unmentionable crimes' practised by the 'improper characters in the habit of coming to Brighton'.

Many men were initially drawn to Brighton by the enormous numbers of soldiers garrisoned here during the Napoleonic Wars. In August 1822, George Wilson, a servant from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was accused by a guardsman he had met in the Duke of Wellington public house in Pool Valley of having offered him a sovereign and two shillings to go with him onto the beach to commit an unnatural crime.

Also in August of that year, a tradesman in Shoreham was compelled to abscond following the discovery of a 'most unaccountable propensity'. His outraged neighbours assembled, burnt the fugitive in effigy and were with difficulty prevented by his wife from pulling his house down.

In May 1836, Stanley Stokes, a London solicitor who had been making sexual approaches to a groom at the New Ship Hotel, was mobbed and tarred and cut his own throat in East Street, dying two days later.

Happily, history also records that in January 1837, a man who had 'made a proposition of a disgusting nature' to a Grenadier Guard on sentry duty at the Royal Pavilion was allowed to escape by the arresting officers (who were perhaps mindful of the Stokes case the year before).

In the absence of the legal records which are such a fruitful source for accounts of men caught with their trousers down, the early history of lesbianism must be cobbled together from conjecture and scraps of rumour. Many letters and diaries were discreetly destroyed; others such as the secret diaries of Yorkshire heiress Anne Lister have only recently been decoded and published.

swimgirls.gifIn the nineteenth century, two spinsters might set up house and spend much of their lives together without exciting any comment. Philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906), spent part of each year on holiday at the Royal Albion Hotel in Brighton with her companion Hannah. The couple were devoted to each other, were socially recognised as a pair, even sent joint Christmas cards, and when Hannah died in 1878, Miss Burdett-Coutts told a friend that she was utterly crushed by the loss of 'my poor darling, the companion and sunshine of my life for 52 years'. Though such romantic partnerships were accepted by the world at large, they may in fact - behind closed doors - have been little different from the long-term lesbian relationships of today.

Other early records have an unmistakable flavour of an almost modern-day dykiness. In the 1870s Miss Harriet Rowell, who taught swimming at Brill's Baths under the name of Miss Elphinstone Dick, won local fame for herself with a series of public swimming feats including a 2 hour 43 minute swim in a rough September sea from Shoreham to Brighton. Harriet fell in love with a Brighton woman, Alice Moon, and the couple emigrated to Australia where they started a women's gymnasium and taught gymnastics.

By the 1920s and 30s Brighton was well-established on the queer social map as 'the place to go and let your hair down'. Pubs with a lesbian or gay clientele were flourishing - among these the Star of Brunswick in Brunswick Street West and Pigott's bar at the St James Tavern in Madeira Place were especially popular with the boys and girls respectively. Radclyffe Hall came to party - 'we all talked and howled till 1.30 am'; there were women-only tea dances at the Royal Albion Hotel and in 1929 the Brighton Man-Woman hit the headlines. Lillias Arkell-Smith, a lesbian masquerading as Colonel Sir Victor Ivor Gauntlett Blyth Barker (man-about-town, huntsman and cricketer), had wooed a Brighton woman, married her at St Peter's church and honeymooned at the Grand Hotel. Lillias, regarded by Radclyffe Hall as a 'mad pervert of the most undesirable kind', was found guilty of describing herself as a bachelor in a register of marriage and sentenced to nine months' imprisonment. The Evening Argus muttered to its readers that 'there are obvious difficulties in discussing the case'.

During the Second World War Brighton was again full of available soldiers - Australians and Canadians -

'You used to meet them round the Clock Tower and off you'd go, there was plenty of places because of the blackout'.

beachmen.jpgWomen and men in the forces who were away from home meeting other lesbians and gay people for the first time in their lives also heard about Brighton and its special pleasures - later they came from all over the country to visit and many stayed to make their homes here and helped turn Brighton into a Shangri-La in the post-war years. One gay man moved down from London just after the war and made his first gay friends on the newly-reopened men's beach in Hove:

'As far as I know, it was the only place in England with a notice up - MEN'S BEACH ONLY - and there was even somebody there that chased women off if they meandered onto it. There was so much beauty down there, it was too fantastic. All these people that came down on holidays, there was nothing in the rest of the country to compare. They would take bottles down and have parties. Of course they never went in the sea, they never got their beautiful bikinis wet. "Oh my God no, I'm afraid of the water!" They just went to be seen. It was fun, flagrant fun.'


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All text and images copyright Brighton Ourstory, a registered charity, number 1106242. | sitebysimon


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