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Opened to the public in 1851

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

d) OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: In September 1850 a programme of redecoration and refurnishing was commenced by Christopher Vick, but some of the peripheral buildings, including the South Gate, were demolished in 1851. The public were admitted to the grounds for the first time in June 1850, but the building itself was formally opened at a grand ball on 21 January 1851. Ratepayers were allowed free entry on two days every month, and the Pavilion came to be used as the public assembly rooms of the town for both civic and private functions. It also housed the public art gallery, museum and library for a time until 1873. In December 1863 Queen Victoria returned some of the original fittings at the request of the custodian, F.E. de Val, and in 1898 more items were returned and the music-room was cleaned and restored. On 3 April 1883 the Pavilion banqueting-room was lit electrically for the first time by Magnus Volk who lit the rest of the building shortly after from a steam-driven dynamo. The clock tower near the South Gate was demolished in 1898.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

This painting shows the Music Room in the Royal Pavilion thronged with people for the Grand Re-Opening in 1851.
Reproduced courtesy of Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove

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