Although it’s very seldom I comment publicly on things political, I had to laugh when a member of a certain far-right party described the Brighton Pavilion as ‘a big mosque’. You really couldn’t make it up!
Although it’s ornate and Eastern-looking, it has absolutely nothing to do with Islam. I believe its only Asian connection was when it was used as a hospital for Indian troops in the First World War.
Its history starts when a young Prince of Wales (later, the Prince Regent and, later still, George IV) was advised by his doctors that visits to the seaside might improve his poor health. So, he repaired to a seaside village called Brighthelmstone (nowadays, of course, called Brighton) where he bought a small farmhouse,
With the help of architect Henry Holland, the Prince gradually enlarged the farmhouse, but, in 1815, the Regency architect John Nash was engaged to redesign the whole thing, and came up with the confection we see today.
On the death of George IV, his successor, William IV often stayed there, but when his niece Victoria ascended the throne, she disliked Brighton and the Pavilion, and bought Osborne, on the Isle of Wight instead. The Pavilion was sold to the town in 1850.
Nowadays, it contains a museum, assembly rooms and is licensed for weddings … Britain’s first gay marriages were performed there. But, I didn’t go inside on my latest visit. I took advantage of a beautiful day to get some photos of its opulent exterior.