Charles G. (Charles George) Harper.

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recognises as the "Marquis of Steyne" in "Vanity Fair," admired it, as
assuredly did not rough and ready Cobbett, who opines, "A good idea of the
building may be formed by placing the pointed half of a large turnip upon
the middle of a board, with four smaller ones at the corners."

That is no bad description of this monument of extravagance and bad taste.
Begun so early as 1784, it was, after many alterations, pullings-down and
rebuildings, completed in 1818, with the exception of the north gate, the
work of William the Fourth in 1832.

The Pavilion was, in fact, the product of an ill-informed enthusiasm for
Chinese architecture, mingled with that of India and Constantinople, and
was built as a Marine Palace, to combine the glories of the Summer Palace
at Pekin with those of the Alhambra. It suffers nowadays, much more than
it need do, from the utter absence of exterior colouring. A judicious
scheme of brilliant colour and gilding, in accordance with its style,
would not only relieve the dull drab monotone, but would go some way to
justify the Prince's taste.

But, be it what it may, the Pavilion set the seal of a certain permanence
upon the princely and royal favours extended to the town, whose
population, numbered at 2,000 in 1761 and 3,600 in 1786, had grown to
5,669 by 1794 and 12,012 in 1811. In the succeeding ten years it had more
than doubled itself, being returned in 1821 at 24,429. How Georgian
Brighton is wholly swallowed up and engulfed in the modern towns of
Brighton, Hove, and Preston is seen in the present population of
161,000 - the equivalent of nearly six other Brightons of the size of that
in the last year of the reign of George the Fourth.

[Illustration: THE PAVILION.]

One of the best stories connected with the Pavilion is that told so well
in the "Four Georges":

"And now I have one more story of the bacchanalian sort, in which Clarence
and York and the very highest personage in the realm, the great Prince
Regent, all play parts.

"The feast was described to me by a gentleman who was present at the
scene. In Gilray's caricatures, and amongst Fox's jolly associates, there
figures a great nobleman, the Duke of Norfolk, called Jockey of Norfolk in
his time, and celebrated for his table exploits. He had quarrelled with
the Prince, like the rest of the Whigs; but a sort of reconciliation had
taken place, and now, being a very old man, the Prince invited him to dine
and sleep at the Pavilion, and the old Duke drove over from his Castle of
Arundel with his famous equipage of grey horses, still remembered in

"The Prince of Wales had concocted with his royal brothers a notable
scheme for making the old man drunk. Every person at table was enjoined to
drink wine with the Duke - a challenge which the old toper did not refuse.
He soon began to see that there was a conspiracy against him; he drank
glass for glass: he overthrew many of the brave. At last the first
gentleman of Europe proposed bumpers of brandy. One of the royal brothers
filled a great glass for the Duke. He stood up and tossed off the drink.
'Now,' says he, 'I will have my carriage and go home.'

"The Prince urged upon him his previous promise to sleep under the roof
where he had been so generously entertained. 'No,' he said; 'he had had
enough of such hospitality. A trap had been set for him; he would leave
the place at once, and never enter its doors more.'

"The carriage was called, and came; but, in the half-hour's interval, the
liquor had proved too potent for the old man; his host's generous purpose
was answered, and the Duke's old grey head lay stupefied on the table.
Nevertheless, when his post-chaise was announced, he staggered to it as
well as he could, and, stumbling in, bade the postilions drive to Arundel.

"They drove him for half an hour round and round the Pavilion lawn; the
poor old man fancied he was going home.

"When he awoke that morning, he was in a bed at the Prince's hideous house
at Brighton. You may see the place now for sixpence; they have fiddlers
there every day, and sometimes buffoons and mountebanks hire the
Riding-House and do their tricks and tumbling there. The trees are still
there, and the gravel walks round which the poor old sinner was trotted."


Very telling indignation, no doubt, but the gross defect of Thackeray's
"Four Georges" is its want of sincerity. Sympathy is wasted on that Duke,
who was one of the filthiest voluptuaries of his age, or of any other
since that of Heliogabalus. Charles Howard, eleventh Duke of Norfolk, was
not merely a bestial drunkard, like his father before him, capable of
drinking all his contemporaries under the table; but was a swinish
creature in every way. Gorging himself to repletion with food and drink,
he would make himself purposely sick, in order to begin again. A
contemporary account of him as a member of the Beefsteak Club described
him as a man of huge unwieldy fatness, who, having gorged until he had
eaten himself into incapacity for speaking or moving, would motion for a
bell to be rung, when servants, entering with a litter, would carry him
off to bed. It was well written of him:

On Norfolk's tomb inscribe this placard:
He lived a beast and died a blackguard.

This "very old," "poor old man" of Thackeray's misplaced sympathy did not,
as a matter of fact, live to a very great age. He died in 1815, aged

Practical joking was elevated to the status of a fine art at Brighton by
the Prince and his merry men. A characteristic story of him is that told
of a drive to Brighton races, when he was accompanied in his great yellow
barouche by Townsend, the Bow Street runner, who was present to protect
the Prince from insult or robbery at the hands of the multitude. "It was a
position," says my authority, "which gave His Royal Highness an
opportunity to practise upon his guardian a somewhat unpleasant joke.
Turning suddenly to Townsend, just at the termination of a race, he
exclaimed, 'By Jove, Townsend, I've been robbed; I had with me some damson
tarts, but they are now gone.' 'Gone!' said Townsend, rising;
'impossible!' 'Yes,' rejoined the Prince, 'and you are the purloiner,' at
the same time taking from the seat whereon the officer had been sitting
the crushed crust of the asserted missing tarts, and adding, 'This is a
sad blot upon your reputation as a vigilant officer.' 'Rather say, your
Royal Highness, a sad stain upon my escutcheon,' added Townsend, raising
the gilt-buttoned tails of his blue coat and exhibiting the fruit-stained
seat of his nankeen inexpressibles."


But it was not this practical-joking Prince who first discovered Brighton.
It would never have attained its great vogue without him, but it would
have been the health resort of a certain circle of fashion - an inferior
Bath, in fact. To Dr. Richard Russell - the name sometimes spelt with one
"l" - who visited the little village of Brighthelmstone in 1750, belongs
the credit of discovering the place to an ailing fashionable world. He
died in 1759, long ere the sun of royal splendour first rose upon the
fishing-village; but even before the Prince of Wales first visited
Brighthelmstone in 1782, it had attained a certain popularity, as the
"Brighthelmstone Guide" of July, 1777, attests, in these halting verses:

This town or village of renown,
Like London Bridge, half broken down,
Few years ago was worse than Wapping,
Not fit for a human soul to stop in;
But now, like to a worn-out shoe,
By patching well, the place will do.
You'd wonder much, I'm sure, to see
How it's becramm'd with quality.

And so on.

[Illustration: THE CLIFFS, BRIGHTHELMSTONE, 1789. _From an aquatint after

[Illustration: DR. RICHARD RUSSELL. _From the portrait by Zoffany._]


Brighthelmstone, indeed, has had more Guides written upon it than even
Bath has had, and very curious some of them are become in these days. They
range from lively to severe, from grave to gay, from the serious screeds
of Russell and Dr. Relhan, his successor, to the light and airy, and not
too admirable puffs of to-day. But, however these guides may vary, they
all agree in harking back to that shadowy Brighthelm who is supposed to
have given his peculiar name to the ancient fisher-village here
established time out of mind. In the days when "County Histories" were
first let loose, in folio volumes, upon an unoffending land, historians,
archæologists, and other interested parties seemed at a loss for the
derivation of the place-name, and, rather than confess themselves ignorant
of its meaning, they conspired together to invent a Saxon archbishop, who,
dying in the odour of sanctity and the ninth century, bequeathed his
appellation to what is now known, in a contracted form, as Brighton.

But the man is not known who has unassailable proofs to show of this
Brighthelm's having so honoured the fisher-folk's hovels with his name.

Thackeray, greatly daring, considering that the Fourth George is the real
patron - saint, we can hardly say; let us make it king - of the town,
elected to deliver his lectures upon the "Four Georges" at Brighton, among
other places, and to that end made, with monumental assurance, a personal
application at the Town Hall for the hire of the banqueting-room in the
Royal Pavilion.

But one of the Aldermen, who chanced to be present, suggested, with
extra-aldermanic wit, that the Town Hall would be equally suitable,
intimating at the same time that it was not considered as strictly
etiquette to "abuse a man in his own house." The witty Alderman's
suggestion, we are told, was acted upon, and the Town Hall engaged

It argued considerable courage on the lecturer's part to declaim against
George the Fourth anywhere in that town which His Majesty had, by his
example, conjured up from almost nothingness. It does not seem that
Thackeray was, after all, ill received at Brighton; whence thoughts arise
as to the ingratitude and fleeting memories of them that were either in
the first or second generation, advantaged by the royal preference for
this bleak stretch of shore beneath the bare South Downs, open to every
wind that blows. Surely gratitude is well described as a "lively sense of
favours to come," and they, no doubt, considered that the statue they had
erected in the Steyne gardens to him was a full discharge of all
obligations. Nor is the history of that effigy altogether creditable. It
was erected in 1828, as the result of a movement among Brighton tradesfolk
in 1820, to honour the memory of one who had incidentally made the
fortunes of so many among them; but although the subscription list
remained open for eight years and a half, it did not provide the £3.000
agreed upon to be paid to Chantrey, the sculptor of it.

The bronze statue presides to-day over a cab-rank, and the sea-salt
breezes have strongly oxidised the face to an arsenical green; insulting,
because greenness was not a distinguishing trait in the character of
George the Fourth.


The surrounding space is saturated with memories of the Regency; but the
roysterers are all gone and the recollection of them is dim. Prince and
King, the Barrymores - Hellgate, Newgate, and Cripplegate - brothers three;
Mrs. Fitzherbert, "the only woman whom George the Fourth ever really
loved," and whom he married; Sir John Lade, the reckless, the frolicsome,
historic in so far that he was the first who publicly wore trousers:
these, with others innumerable, are long since silent. No more are they
heard who with unseemly revelry affronted the midnight moon, or upset the
decrepit watchman in his box. Those days and nights are done, nor are they
likely to be revived while the Brighton policemen remain so big and

With the death of George the Fourth the play was played out. William the
Fourth occasionally patronised Brighton, but decorum then obtained, and
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert not only disliked the memory of the last
of the Georges, but could not find at the Pavilion the privacy they
desired. The Queen therefore sold it to the then Commissioners of
Brighton in 1850, for the sum of £53,000, and never afterwards visited the


The Pavilion and the adjoining Castle Square, where one of the old coach
booking-offices still survives as a railway receiving-office, are to most
people the ultimate expressions of antiquity at Brighton; but there
remains one landmark of what was "Brighthelmstone" in the ancient parish
church of St. Nicholas, standing upon the topmost eyrie of the town, and
overlooking from its crowded and now disused graveyard more than a square
mile of crowded roofs below. It is probably the place referred to by a
vivacious Frenchman who, a hundred and twenty years ago, summed up
"Brigtemstone" as "a miserable village, commanded by a cemetery and
surrounded by barren mountains."

From here you can, with some trouble, catch just a glimpse of the Watery
horizon through the grey haze that rises from countless chimney-pots, and
never a breeze but blows laden with the scent of soot and smoke. Yet, for
all the changed fortune that changeful Time has brought this hoary and
grimy place, it has not been deprived of interesting mementoes. You may,
with patience, discover the tombstone of Phoebe Hassall, a centenarian
of pith and valour, who, in her youthful days, in male attire, joined the
army of His Majesty King George the Second and warred with her regiment in
many lands; and all around are the resting-places of many celebrities,
who, denied a wider fame, have yet their place in local annals; but
prominent, in place and in fame, is the tomb of that Captain Tettersell
who (it must be owned, for a consideration) sailed away one October morn
of 1651 across the Channel, carrying with him the hope of the clouded
Royalists aboard his grimy craft.


His altar-tomb stands without the southern doorway of the church, and
reads curiously to modern ears. That not one of all the many who have had
occasion to print it has transcribed the quaintness of that epitaph aright
seems a strange thing, but so it is:


Captain NICHOLAS TETTERSELL, through whose Prudence ualour an Loyalty
Charles the second King of England & after he had escaped the sword of
his merciless rebells and his fforses received a fatall ouerthrowe at
Worcester Sept{r} 3{d} 1651, was ffaithfully preserued & conueyed into
ffrance. Departed this life the 26{th} day of Iuly 1674.

- - > - - > - - >

Within this monument doth lye,
Approued Ffaith, hono{r} and Loyalty.
In this Cold Clay he hath now tane up his statio{n},
At once preserued y{e} Church, the Crowne and nation.
When Charles y{e} Greate was nothing but a breat{h}
This ualiant soule stept betweene him & death.
Usurpers threats nor tyrant rebells frowne
Could not afrright his duty to the Crowne;
Which glorious act of his Church & state,
Eight princes in one day did Gratulate
Professing all to him in debt to bee
As all the world are to his memory
Since Earth Could not Reward his worth have give{n},
Hee now receiues it from the King of heauen.

The escape of Charles the Second, after many perilous adventures, belongs
to the larger sphere of English history. Driven, after the disastrous
result of Worcester Fight, to wander, a fugitive, through the land, he
sought the coast from the extreme west of Dorsetshire, and only when he
reached Sussex did he find it possible to embark and sail across the
Channel to France. Hunted by relentless Roundheads, and sheltered on his
way only by a few faithful adherents, who in their loyalty risked
everything for him, he at length, with his small party, reached the
village of Brighthelmstone and lodged at the inn then called the "George."


That evening, after much negotiation, Colonel Gunter, the King's
companion, arranged with Nicholas Tettersell, master of a small trading
craft, to convey the King across to Fécamp, to sail in the early hours
of the following morning, October 14th. How they sailed, and the account
of their wanderings, are fully set forth in the "narrative" of Colonel


A new era for Brighton and the Brighton Road opened in November, 1896,
with the coming of the motor-car. Already the old period of the coaching
inns had waned, and that of gigantic and palatial hotels, much more
luxurious than anything ever imagined by the builders of the Pavilion, had
dawned; and then, as though to fitly emphasize the transition, the old
Chain Pier made a dramatic end.

The Chain Pier just missed belonging to the Georgian era, for it was not
begun until October, 1822, but, opened the following year, it had so long
been a feature of Brighton - and so peculiar a feature - that it had come,
with many, to typify the town, quite as much as the Pavilion itself. It
was, moreover, additionally remarkable as being the first pleasure-pier
built in England. It had long been failing and, condemned as dangerous,
would soon have been demolished; but the storm of December 4th, 1896,
spared that trouble. It was standing when day closed in, but when the next
morning dawned, its place was vacant.

Since then, those who have long known Brighton have never visited it
without a sense of loss; and the Palace Pier, opposite the Aquarium, does
not fill the void. It is a vulgarity for one thing, and for another
typifies the Hebraic week-end, when the sons and daughters of Judah
descend upon the town. Moreover, it is absolutely uncharacteristic, and
has its counterparts in many other places.

But Brighton itself is eternal. It suffers change, it grows continually;
but while the sea remains and the air is clean and the sun shines, it, and
the road to it, will be the most popular resorts in England.


Ainsworth, W. Harrison, 209-222

Albourne, 248

Ansty Cross, 93, 222

Aram, Eugene, 172

"Autopsy," Steam Carriage, 37, 63, 88

Banks, Sir Edward, 136

Banstead Downs, 159-161

Barrymore, The, 6, 192, 267

Belmont, 159

Benhilton, 156

Bicycles, 64-71, 74-79, 85-91

Bird, Lieutenant Edward, murderer, 169-172

Bolney, 200, 243, 246

"Boneshakers", 65

Brighton, 2, 12, 37, 255-272
Railway opened, 42
Road Records tabulated, 88-91
Routes to, 1-4

Brixton, 92, 97-100
Hill, 68, 93, 98, 105

Broad Green, 108, 129

Burgess Hill, 223

Burgh Heath, 159-161

Carriers, The, 11-14

Charles II., 270

Charlwood, 175

Chipstead, 135-138

Clayton, 93, 102, 231, 250
Hill, 25, 229, 231-232
Tunnel, 229-231

Coaches: -
Accommodation, 26
Age, 29, 30, 35
1852-1862, 42, 45, 47
1875-1880, 1882-3, 46
Alert, 33, 34
Coburg, 30
Comet, 33
1887-1899, 1900, 46, 49, 55
Coronet, 33
Criterion, 41, 64, 74, 88
Dart, 33
Defiance, 28, 46
1880, -
Duke of Beaufort, 31
"Flying Machine," coach, 18-22
Life-Preserver, 30
Magnet, 33
Mails, The, 23, 26, 28, 33, 34, 42
Old Times, 1866, 45
1888, 49-51
Quicksilver, 38
Red Rover, 41, 63, 88
Regent, 33
Sovereign, 33
Times, 33
Union, 33
Venture (A. G. Vanderbilt), 61
Victoria, 42
Vigilant, 1900-05, -
Wonder, 38

Coaching, 5, 11-14, 18-34, 37-49, 228

Coaching Notabilities: -
Angel, B. J., 45, 46
Armytage, Col., 45
Batchelor, Jas., 14
Beaufort, Duke of, 45, 46
Beckett, Capt. H. L., 46
Blyth, Capt., 46
Bradford, "Miller", 26
Clark, George, 45
Cotton, Sir St. Vincent, 29, 45
Fitzgerald, Mr., 45
Fownes, Edwin, 46
Freeman, Stewart, 46, 49
Gwynne, Sackville Frederick, 29
Harbour, Charles, 41, 64
Haworth, Capt., 45, 46
Jerningham, Hon. Fred., 29
Lawrie, Capt., 45
Londesborough, Earl of, 46
McCalmont, Hugh, 46
Meek, George, 46
Pole, E. S. Chandos, 45, 46
Pole-Gell, Mr., 46
Sandys, Hon. H., 49
Selby, Jas., 41, 49, 64, 73, 74, 75, 89
Stevenson, Henry, 29, 30
Stracey-Clitherow, Col., 46
Thynne, Lord H., 45
Tiffany, Mr., 46
Vanderbilt, Alfred Gwynne, 61
Wemyss, Randolph, 49
Wiltshire, Earl of, 46
Worcester, Marquis of, 29, 38

Coaching Records, 41, 64, 73, 74, 88, 89

Cold Blow, 159

Colliers' Water, 108

Colliers of Croydon, 108

Coulsdon, 131, 133

County Oak, 178

Covert, Family of, 238-244

Crawley, 93, 173, 182-195

Crawley Downs, 191-193

Croydon, 106-123

Cuckfield, 30, 202-209
Place, 209-222, 242

Cycling, 64-71, 74-79, 85-91

Cycling Notabilities: -
Edge, Selwyn Francis, 75, 76, 89
Holbein, M. A., 74
Mayall, John, Junior, 66-69, 70, 88
Shorland, F. W., 74, 89
Smith, C. A., 75, 76, 77, 89
Turner, Rowley B., 66, 67, 69

Cycling Records, 68-79, 85-91

Dale, 93, 248, 250

Dance, Sir Charles, 37, 39

Ditchling, 224

Driving Records, 63, 73, 194

Earlswood Common, 93, 146, 148

Fauntleroy, Henry, 196

Foxley Hatch, 93, 126

Frenches, 93, 145

Friar's Oak, 226

Gatton, 141-145, 164

Gatwick, 155

George IV., Prince Regent and King, 3, 6, 8-11, 24, 62, 88, 132,
191-194, 256-262, 266

Hancock, Walter, 34, 88

Hand Cross, 24, 93, 195, 198-201
Hill, 61

Hassall, Phoebe, 268

Hassocks, 226

Hayward's Heath, 205

Hickstead, 200, 245

"Hobby-horses", 65

Holmesdale, 172

Hooley, 136

Horley, 93, 149, 151-155, 173

Ifield, 175, 178-182, 188

"Infant," Steam Carriage, 37

Inns (mentioned at length): -
Black Swan, Pease Pottage, 195
Chequers, Horley, 152
Cock, Sutton, 159
Friar's Oak, 24, 226
George, Borough, 12-14
Crawley, 114, 187, 189
Golden Cross, Charing Cross, 20, 33
Green Cross, Ansty Cross, 222
Greyhound, Croydon, 114
Sutton, 159
Hatchett's (_see_ White Horse Cellar).
Old King's Head, Croydon, 115
Old Ship, Brighton, 12
Red Lion, Hand Cross, 200
Six Bells, Horley, 153
Surrey Oaks, Parkgate, 179
Tabard, Borough (_see_ Talbot).
Talbot, Borough, 12-14, 17
Talbot, Cuckfield, 206
Tangier, Banstead Downs, 160
White Horse Cellar, Piccadilly, 34

Jacob's Post, 224

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 102-105, 257

Kennersley, 173

Kennington, 92-96

Kimberham Bridge, 173

Kingswood, 162

Lade, Sir John, 267

Lemon, Mark, 190

Little Hell, 159

Lowfield Heath, 173-175, 182

Merstham, 93, 134, 138-141

Milestones, 126-130, 159, 163

Mitcham, 155

Mole, River, 149, 152, 173-175, 196

Motor-cars, 50, 53, 54, 57-61, 63

Motor-car Day, Nov. 14th, 1896, 53-60

Motor-omnibus, Accident to, 60

Newdigate, 176

Newtimber, 247, 248

Norbury, 195

Old-time Travellers: -
Burton, Dr. John, 16
Cobbett, William, 161, 165, 168, 178
George IV., Prince Regent and King (_see_ "George the Fourth.")
Walpole, Horace, 16-18

Pangdean, 253

Patcham, 25, 93, 250, 251-255

Pavilion, The, 256-261, 268

Pease Pottage, 195, 197

Pedestrian Records, 64, 69, 72, 75, 79-91

Pilgrims' Way, The, 164

Povey Cross, 155, 173, 175

Preston, 93, 250, 255

Prize-fighting, 5, 191, 248-250

Pugilistic Notabilities: -
Cribb, Tom, 190
Fewterel, 132
Hickman, "The Gas-Light Man", 192
Jackson, "Gentleman", 132, 159
Martin, "Master of the Rolls", 5, 192
Randall, Jack, "the Nonpareil", 5, 192
Sayers, Tom, 248

Purley, 93, 121-125, 130, 176

Pyecombe, 200, 249, 250

Railway to Brighton opened, 42, 131

"Records", 61-91
(_See_ severally, Coaching, Cycling, Driving, Pedestrian, and Riding).
Tabulated, 88-91

Redhill, 93, 145

Reigate, 27, 93, 164-172
Hill, 162-164

Riding Records, 62, 88

Roman Roads, 102

"Rookwood", 209-222

Routes to Brighton, 1-4

Rowlandson, Thomas, 157, 185, 187, 203, 263

Ruskin, John, 106, 115

Russell of Killowen, Baron, 161

Russell (_or_ Russel), Dr. Richard, 262

St. John's Common, 103, 223

St. Leonard's Forest, 196, 199

Salfords, 93, 149, 173

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Online LibraryCharles G. (Charles George) HarperThe Brighton road : the classic highway to the south → online text (page 17 of 18)