History of Brighton Dome

A life in the spotlight…

For over 200 years, these buildings have played many roles.

Brighton Dome has been a riding school, a hospital, a boxing ring, a roller-skating rink, a suffragette protest, a Eurovision song contest, a political rally, a TED talk, a ballroom dancehall, an art installation and a fatboy slim party.

The Prince Regent moved to Brighton in 1783 and commissioned William Porden to create Brighton Dome as his grand riding house and stables. Building began in 1803. The Prince is infamous for the many secret passageways he built out of his palace, now The Royal Pavilion Estate. There still exists one tunnel that leads to Brighton Dome that we can access.

Years later in 1850, after the buildings had been sold by Queen Victoria to the council, Victorian gentry would dress in the finest and set off rumbling and roaring under the grand arches of the Corn Exchange in their roller-skates, as it became a temporary roller rink in 1868.

In another significant moment, the entire Royal Pavilion Estate became a make-shift hospital during the first world war. Over 4,000 wounded soldiers were nursed back to health in our buildings. Rows of beds filled the Corn Exchange, and nurses cared for the wounded under the grand chandelier of the Concert Hall.

During the second world war, the same buildings that had provided a place of refuge, became a place of community and comfort, where allied soldiers danced their cares away every Saturday night with local Brightonians.

Transformed in Art Deco style in the 1930s, the venue has since been a performing arts venue and space for hire, seeing everything from contemporary dance to weddings, community fayres to film festivals, cutting-edge theatre to Brighton Albion football team parties.

Brighton Dome is the first building of an Indo Sarancenic style in Brighton. Brighton Dome and the Corn Exchange roof is the widest span timber frame building in the country. Not even the original architects could quite fathom how it stayed up.

A building with so much history, play a leading role in its future.

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