Victoria Fountain, Old Steine

Prize winning photo of the fountain at night

By Ray H., a local photographer

This photograph was taken in 1971. It was taken for a competition at the British Railways Camera Club - it came third. The fountain used to be as shown in the photo, really beautiful. Unfortunately the present situation is that the site is no longer maintained in its former glory by the council.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Victoria Fountain, Old Steine' page

Photograph supplied to website by Ray H., a local photographer, in November 2002

November 2002
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
The photograph of Victoria Fountain is how I remember it years ago, with its little fence around. I don't know what the Council are thinking of by taking the fence away and letting people lay on the grass. We would never have dreamed of crossing the little fence. I think it's an awful shame Brighton Council have let this part of history deteriorate.
By Maralyn Eden (24/12/2003)
Unfortunately Brighton & Hove Council seem to have little interest in caring for sites like this (which aren't suitable for development into luxury flats).
By Tim Sewell (26/01/2004)
I remember the fountain like this with the changing colours. It was like a little piece of fairyland to me as a child born in 1932. Such a shame that things have changed so much, it could have added to the tourist attractions.
By Eileen Franchi (14/04/2004)
Does anyone have any information about my great grandfather, William Pepper, sculptor, born in Brighton in 1831 please? I have heard that he had something to do with a fountain with dolphins around the base. Could he have sculpted this one? Any information would be helpful. Thank you.
By Rosemary (24/10/2004)
I understand Victoria Fountain was erected in 1846; designed by Brighton architect Amon Henry Wilds who built various terraces around Brighton (including no 26 Old Steine?). The fountain was cast by Brighton's Eagle Foundry c1845-46. This fountain MAY have inspired Fountain Street (now Sydney Road) in Manly, NSW when we were still called 'New Brighton' or 'Brighton'. Fountain Street, Manly, leads into The Corso and The Steyne and may have been intended for a similarly spectacular fountain - if so it never eventuated. We did get a Victoria Parade, but lost our Victoria Hall (1900-28) on The Corso.
By Terry Metherell (16/11/2004)
The fountain looks fantastic in this photo - why can't we have a bit more civic pride today and recreate the lighting in the picture? Magical! The Mazda foutain, when it's (rarely) operational is equally effective - but what's happening there?
By Paul Simpson (02/03/2005)
I remember how vibrant the fountains were as a boy, and the Royal Pavillion being lit in a similar way. The Steine was so much more exciting. It really would only be a small investment compared to the benefit for Brighton to restore the lighting to its former glory.
By Martin Fuller (03/05/2005)
I so agree with you Martin Fuller - this is Brighton. It's a city now and there's nothing outstanding. Making the Steine look like it used to would do us proud and so many more people would love to visit this great place.
By Sharron (02/08/2005)
I agree that the Steine should be restored to its former glory!
By Leo (22/11/2005)
I have only been a resident in Brighton for the last fifteen years although my father has lived here most of his life. So I have never seen the Victoria Fountain look like it does in this photo but I think someone should start a petition to have it maintained back to its former glory.
By Clare Thompson (25/01/2006)

When does this fountain actually get turned on. It was turned on every day a few weeks ago but now it sems to be turned off every day. When I was a little boy the fountain was turned on until around 10pm and it was lit up by lights that changed colour, just like the pavilion did too.

By Hector Ktorides (21/05/2009)

In response to Rosemary (24/10/2004), William Pepper sculpted a likeness of a relation of mine, Edward Jesse who was acknowledged for his services to the town by having his portrait bust placed by subscription in 1864/5 in the Great Room of the Pavilion. Edward was a colourful local figure. Former Deputy-Surveyor of the Royal Parks and Palaces and 'Gentleman of the Ewry' under GeorgesĀ III and IV, he retired to Brighton where he helped establish 'The Fisherman's Home and Reading Room', a place "to induce our beach population to prefer a cup of coffee and a book to the expensive luxury of a beer shop". Edward gave lectures there on natural history including titles such as "Singular facts relating to fish" to an audience consisting naturally of fishermen!!

By David Gee (25/06/09)

By David Gee (26/06/2009)
I didn't know the fountain used to be such a glorious site, and such a beautiful attraction in its own right. It is such a shame that it is being forgotten about, and being isolated by the rushing traffic, and left empty and ignored. Maybe as the council are starting to try and slowly improve Brighton, maybe this could be put on the agenda?
By Andrea Moorcroft (21/07/2009)

The Victoria Fountain is indeed a magnificent sight when in full operation and a great credit to Brighton. To answer Hector above, the fountain is working every day each year from the beginning of Brighton Festival around 1st of May to end of October from 9.00am to around 10.00pm except when it is being cleaned, refreshed and refilled. Also when the wind gets up a bit (and it does not have to be very strong) the inevitable spray is blown around a lot; visitors do not like getting wet and do complain and so it is turned off. It has run this year with very little interruption. The original coloured lighting was not reinstated during the last major refurbishment in 1994 as it was considered inappropriate by heritage specialists. Instead static white lighting was installed. Unfortunately the surrounding area of the Old Steine has since seen a considerable increase in ambient light and the fountain has tended to become overpowered and therefore not seem so attractive. Maybe it is now a good time to reinstate something stronger and bring back the coloured changing effects as previously. There is of course now the serious question of energy conservation to be considered so this will play an important part in any new lighting scheme leading to the question "should it be running at all?". There are many ways of doing it so it could encompass new technology as well as reviving a well loved beauty spot in Brighton. May I suggest that all those who have contributed to this site start a campaign to get the lighting renewed. I cannot do much as I am not a resident of Brighton and I have a sort of vested interest. Over to all of you.

By Peter Moore (08/11/2009)

William Reynolds Pepper was my great great grandfather. I would be interested in any information about him. I would also be interested to know if Rosemary's father was Jack Dalton? I suspect this is a dead end though.

By brian jones (20/06/2011)

My husband took me to Brighton recently and it was a very sentimental journey for him as he spent a lot of his childhood with his late family here. He was so excited about showing me the fountain lit up at night as he said it was so magical to him as a child and the disapointment when it stayed in darkness all night was so sad. Such a beautiful piece of architecture not used to its full potential is shameful - and yes we think a petition should be started and more visitors would visit Brighton to see such a wonder.

By Gwyn (19/08/2012)

I am also an descendant of William Reynolds Pepper. I recently visited the fountain in Brighton, the park is neat but no longer a grand area, which is disappointing with the Royal Pavilion so close. The area could be made a lot more inviting. I believe I may be related to both Rosemary and Brian Jones.

By Gail Pepper Muir (01/09/2012)

My great great grandfather was William Pepper, great grandfather was William Reynolds Pepper and my father was Jack Dalton who died in 1983. I would love to have sight of anything that had been made by the Peppers.

By Rosemary Jeremiah (26/11/2012)

Hi Rosemary Your Dad was my Grans brother!! Her maiden name was Dorothy Lillian Dalton...she had three other brothers......George,Ted & Bert..my great uncles Ted & george lived in Plaistow You have stayed at my grans house in Manchester.I think your mum was called Florence.we should talk!!!

By brian jones (02/01/2013)

I would be very interested to hear from Brian or  Gail. Please contact me at  rosemaryjeremiah@aol.com

By Rosemary (16/01/2014)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.