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Know any good quotes about Brighton? The ones below were collected through the My Brighton and Hove e-mail list (with particular thanks to David Fisher!). If you know any other quotes, please add them through the Make a Comment link at the bottom of this page.

“Brighton looks as though it is a town helping the police with their enquiries.”

SYDNEY SMITH on the Royal Pavilion:
“It looked for all the world as if the Dome of St Paul’s had came down to Brighton and pupped.”

He loved the sight of fine forest trees however, and detested Brighthelmstone Downs [Brighton], “because it was a country so truly desolate (he said), that if one had a mind to hang one’s self for desperation at being obliged to live there, it would be difficult to find a tree on which to fasten the rope.”

“Human nature doesn’t change – like a stick of Brighton rock you bite all the way down and still read ‘BRIGHTON’!”

“Brighton is still very gay and full of balls.”

PATRICK MAGEE (August 2000) – referring to the IRA bombing of the Grand Hotel:
“After Brighton, anything was possible and the British for the first time began to look very differently at us.”

LYNNE TRUSS (1996) – from ‘Where Eubank comes through walls’ published in the New Statesman:
“With casual sex, bodies in trunks and two piers, it’s no wonder Brighton is home to the likes of Fat Boy Slim, Julie Burchill and Steve Coogan.”

PETE TOWNSHEND, ‘Pinball Wizard’, Tommy, 1975:
“Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve played the silver ball. From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all.”

W. M. THACKERAY, Vanity Fair, Chapter 25:
“A comfortable inn in Brighton is better than a spunging-house in Chancery Lane.”

LAURENCE OLIVIER (following his stage production of Richard III in 1944):
“There is a phrase: ‘the sweet smell of success’. And I can only tell you, I’ve had two experiences of that and it just smells like Brighton and oyster bars and things like that.”

JULIE BURCHILL, (Sunday Times magazine, 28 November 1993):
“What sort of chronic saddo really believes that the best days of his life were spent in the mud at Woodstock or fighting on Brighton beach?”

UNIDENTIFIED BRIGHTON ‘ALDERMAN’: As reported in Time magazine, 12 January 1931. [Before moving his stage tour on to Brighton, film star and singer Maurice Chevalier had been refused permission to sing in Cardiff because his manner was flirtatious and his songs, being in French, suggestive.]
“In Brighton any man can sing anything – well almost anything – in any language he knows.”

Comments about this page

  • Nobody ever came to Brighton to work. At least not until recently as it became another London commuter suburb. Bring back the seediness and lose the designers. Some hope.

    By Dave Clayden (23/02/2007)
  • Can’t guarantee this is word-for-word accurate, as it came from an internet lyric site, many of which are fan sites: ( Queen/1D4E0CEDA8D63C124825689400026576) Brighton Rock as performed by Queen. Words and music by Brian May. Happy little day Jimmy went away, Met his little Jenny on a public holiday. A happy pair they made so decorously laid ‘Neath the gay illuminations all along the promenade. It’s so good to know there’s still a little magic in the air, I’ll weave my spell. Jenny will you stay tarry with me pray? Nothing e’er need come between us, tell me love what do you say? Oh no I must away to my mum in disarray, if my mother should discover how I spent my holiday. It would be of small avail to talk of magic in the air. I’ll say farewell. Oh rock of ages do not crumble, Love is breathing still. Oh Lady moon shine down a little people magic if you will. Jenny pines away, writes a letter ev’ry day. We must ever be together, nothing can my love erase. Oh no I’m compromised, I must apologize if my lady should discover how I spent my holidays.

    By John McKay-Clements (04/09/2010)
  • From the poster for Brighton Rock: “Human nature doesn’t change – like a stick of Brighton rock you bite all the way down and it still reads ‘BRIGHTON’!”. This quotation is taken from Graham Greene’s novel “Brighton Rock”.

    By Keith Haynes (15/03/2011)
  • No page of Brighton quotes is complete without Keith Waterhouse’s unforgettable line: “The beautiful thing about Brighton is that you can buy your lover a pair of knickers at Victoria Station and have them off again at the Grand Hotel in less than two hours”.

    By Andrew Massey (28/05/2012)
  • Further Brighton quotes: “Without putting a finger on it you feel that Brighton is up to something. Keith Waterhouse 1974 “But the atmosphere of Brighton is more than any other English town like that of a Continental city, with a spirit of elegance and gaiety, and the promise of delight. Clifford Musgrove 1951.

    By Robin (21/06/2012)

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