Encyclopaedia of Brighton

The Encyclopaedia of Brighton, by Timothy Carder, is an invaluable reference book about the history of Brighton.

There are entries on major topics such as the Palace Pier, the Royal Pavilion and the history of the railway – and the book also goes down to such detail that you can also look up your own street!

The Encyclopaedia was first published by East Sussex County Libraries in 1990. The print run has far exceeded expectations.

In 1994, Tim Carder gave permission for an electronic version of the Encyclopaedia to be included in the original ‘My Brighton’ exhibit in Brighton Museum.  In 2006, he gave permission for Encyclopaedia entries to be included in the My Brighton and Hove website.  The massive task of adding these entries to the site, illustrated with new and old photographs, is being undertaken by a team of volunteers throughout 2007.

Comments about this page

  • My great great great grandfather, Thomas Augustus Swaysland, was the Hon Sec of the “Brighton Proprietary Grammer School” in 1836 as per record from “The Times” August 15, 1836, when he announced a meeting to appoint an assistant master. I note that the “Brighton Proprietary Grammar and Commercial School” was founded in July 1857. Does anyone know if they were one and the same school? I am hoping there may be archives somewhere from the earlier school ie from 1836.

    By Janet Kelly (20/07/2008)
  • This is an amazingly fantastic book. Well done Tim.

    By Patrick Kite (15/09/2008)
  • I have had this wonderful reference book of Brighton (the best in my opinion) since it was first published in 1990 and have used it so many times when wishing to find something out about many areas of Brighton. I have been asked on several occassions to sell it on (for more than I paid for it!) but I will never sell – it will be a family heirloom! Thank you so much Timothy Carder for hours of joyous “dipping in”.

    By Wendy Hemsley (11/01/2009)
  • I have hunted high and low to buy this book all to no avail.
    Why oh why cannot it not be re-printed. I have spent many hours in a library using this book for research. It’s a wonderful source of information.

    By David Broad (17/02/2009)
  • I too have been looking for this book and wonder why it hasn’t been re-printed.

    By Liz Woodford (17/04/2009)
  • Since my last comment, I have been in touch with the Brighton History Centre and have been advised by Paul Jordan, Snr History Officer, that there are no plans at present to re-publish the Encyclopaedia of Brighton. Perhaps more inquiries would make them think again!

    By Liz Woodford (27/04/2009)
  • I would love to see the book re-published. I live in one of the houses originally featured in it, and would be delighted to read the book.

    By Karin Horsley (06/08/2009)
  • I’m delighted to tell you that I have been commissioned by Brighton Libraries to substantially update the ‘EOB’. It will be published early May 2010, as the ‘New Encyclopaedia of Brighton’. Watch this space!

    By Rose Collis (19/11/2009)
  • My partner was lucky enough to be given one of the originals for Christmas 2009. Our local bookstore in Kemptown managed to obtain one in order for it to be given as a gift. Great news that you’re updating it Rose. We’ll look out for the updated version, although it has to be said that the original is delightful

    By Colin Eeles (28/12/2009)
  • That is great news. I will also contact the book store in Kemptown just in case they have a source to find another original. Look forward to the updated version.

    By Karin Horsley (12/01/2010)
  • It is regrettable that there has not been wider publicity about the intention to to publish a new edition of the Encyclopaedia. There are a considerable number of major omissions in the original edition, despite the heroic work of Tim Carder, and there seems every likelihood that they will still be there in the new edition. If more people had been aware of the intent to republish then more suggestions for correcting omissions would have been forthcoming. Such things as the story of ‘Brighton Voice’, the longest running alternative newspaper in the country, or or the ‘Brighton Combination’, a major influence on Sixties Brighton, or the Unicorn Bookshop saga would have found a well-deserved place in the book. It is unfortunate that this opportunity has been lost.

    By D Burns (27/01/2010)
  • I am assuming from other comments, that the new edition of the Encyclopedia has already gone to press, although it won’t be published until May 2010. However, just in case this isn’t so, I thought that Rose Collis, who has been updating it, might find the following interesting. I recently discovered that my ggg grandfather Captain Frederick Marryat, sea captain and author of many books, including the well known ‘Children of the New Forest’ was living in the Montpelier Villas from 1833-1834 with his family. (EOB says they were built around 1845) I found this information in David Hannay’s book, ‘The Life of Frederick Marryat’, written in 1889. Frederick’s ninth child, Florence, was my gg grandmother and she also was a well known writer, actress, singer and spiritualist. She was born on June 9, 1833 in Brighton, so presumably whilst living at the Villas. She was christened on August 21st, 1833 at St Nicholas, Brighton. Florence’s nickname was ‘Bluebell’ and as the EOB says that the Montpelier Villas, were thought to have been built on the site of a bluebell wood, this might add credence to it. According to Hannay, Frederick wrote three of his books: ‘Jacob Faithful’, ‘Mr. Midshipman Easy’ and ‘Japhet in Search of a Father’, while he was living at the Villas. Unfortunately David Hannay’s book doesn’t say which of the villas he actually lived in.

    By Simone Hull (03/02/2010)
  • I do get a bit irritated when people jump to conclusions. Firstly, the book has NOT gone to press yet – I am still working on it and it will be published at the end of May. Thankfully, modern technology means that there is a far shorter time between submitting a manuscript, correcting galley proofs and printing. Secondly, this is a NEW version of the Encyclopaedia, with around 170 brand new entries plus updated/revised original text, including many sections/subjects that were not in the original version, including many shops, publications, etc. To assume that an opportunity to include such subjects has been ‘lost’ is rather insulting to me as a professional writer, researcher and editor with 25 years experience. Thirdly, Tim is well aware of the errors in the original text (and I have also pinpointed some); what I will not have already corrected, Tim will be correcting himself at galley proof stage. I have also received a number of corrections from members of the public, in response to the articles already published in the Argus; I am incorporating these. Perhaps people could actually read the book when it’s published, before they dismiss its contents out of hand? And thanks for the info, Simone. By coincidence, a friend of mine is currently researching the life and work of Florence Marryat – fascinating family!

    By Rose Collis (05/02/2010)
  • I am at a loss to find the origins of the ‘Building School’ which i seem to remember was either in Hanover or off Carlton Hill. Can anyone remember where it was or what was taught there?

    Editor’s note: If you look in the navigation on the left of the page under- Places – then Schools – look for Hanover Terrace School – you will find what you are looking for.

    By Bob Golby (24/08/2010)
  • As I understand it, the new version of the Encyclopedia is now available to buy which I thought would make a lovely Christmas present for my mother. However, I know she would be particularly interested in information and photos of St Mark’s School before it was demolished as it was the school she went to but I don’t really want to order the book only to discover it has been missed out of the new edition! Can anyone confirm that it is included?

    By Tania Burgess (06/10/2010)
  • This book pops up on e.bay now and again. Those of you with e.bay, put it on your item seach £25 + mostly. Try amazon £40+.

    By Martn Phillips (28/05/2011)
  • Has anyone any information related to the local architect builder Mr Lynn who, c1892, helped remove the whole of St Nicholas’ Church roof, lifting it mechanically in order to create more space and light, adding clerestory windows?

    By AB (02/09/2011)
  • Hi, George Lynn was born in Brighton in 1836 and took over from his father (also George Lynn) to run the family building firm. The company appears to have specialised in building with structural steel and were responsible for many civil and domestic buildings in Sussex. Under architect W.A. Blomfield they undertook the redesigned Chapel Royal and similarly, the work at St. Nicholas, supervised by the architect, Somers Clarke. The company were based in Marlborough Street at this time and George lived with his family at 71, Dyke Road, in a house he had built himself. It survived well into the 20th century and in the 1920’s was responsible for works on the RNVR Battery at St. Leonard’s. Regards, Andy

    By Andy Grant (04/09/2011)
  • @ AG Thank you for prompt response & intel. As a matter of interest, any idea where there might be a concise list of Lynn buildings and or photographs of the George Lynnites at work, as it were?

    By AB (06/09/2011)
  • Hello I am the Operations manager at the Mercure Brighton Seafront (formally Ramada and formally the Norfolk Hotel). I am trying to get as much history and photos and maybe original bue prints planning permissions regarding the Norfolk Hotel as we are keen to put some displays of the hotel’s history up in and around the hotel. Could someone point me in the correct direction to source copies of any and all photos or documentation to help do this. We are very passionate and interested in our hotel’s history and would like to show it off some more.

    By Stuart Boyd (19/11/2011)
  • Hi Stuart, I’m sure you are aware that the original building of 1824 of the same name was replaced in 1865 by one designed by Horatio Nelson Goulty and based upon similar designs of London Hotels by E.M.Barry. In 1866 Moorecroft’s guide considered it to be ‘more beautiful than any other building in Brighton’. As regards records, the East Sussex Records Office has a large number of submissions concerning the Norfolk Hotel and you might find what you are looking for within their holdings. There are many sources of photos, for instance the James Gray Collection and Brighton and Hove Museums and Libraries collections. You might also wish to try old copies of the ‘Builder’ and the ‘Architect’ magazines for their articles on the building of the hotel. Contemporary local newspaper accounts would also be a good source for the opening of the hotel. I wish you every success with your endeavours, regards, Andy.

    By Andy Grant (21/11/2011)
  • Thank you very much Andy for your quick response. I am new to reasearching but the information you have given me should give me a good start, thank you kindly.

    By Stuart Boyd (30/11/2011)
  • Philip: Your overlong posting has been deleted as it was inappropriate in this context. If you wish to address concerns with Rose Collis, I would suggest you do that through the medium of the publishers of her book. If you would like to contribute to the site in relation to local history, please submit your text in the usual way and it will be considered for publication. Many thanks. Jennifer Drury: Website Editor.

    By Phillip Clegg (16/01/2013)
  • The book that you want of Timothy Carders can be found on Amazon. I’ve just got one.


    By Jean Toye (08/10/2015)
  • I have often used the online site AbeBooks to find out of print books.

    By John Adams (16/05/2018)

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