On Thursday October 30th twelve clients from First Base and Peer 2 Peer visited King George IV’s pleasure palace, the Royal Pavilion, to learn more about the role of St Stephen’s Hall as the Royal Chapel.
Before being re-erected in Montpelier Place, St Stephen’s Hall stood in Castle Square and was connected to the Royal Pavilion by a passageway from the table decker’s room.
The tour began in the Long Gallery where we learnt about George’s passion for extravagant design. George opted for Chinese-inspired décor inside the Pavilion despite having never visited China. This explains some of the inaccuracies of the design, including fruit growing from bamboo shoots.
In the Banqueting Room our guide explained that George was particularly fond of grand dinners and these would consist of up to 116 dishes! The norm at this time would be that the King would sit at the head of the table with all of the men on one side and the women on the other, however George opposed convention. His dinners were informal affairs with him seated at the centre of the table with men and women mixed along each side. George’s fondness for food was evident during his more mature years when he had to wear a harness to support his expanding stomach.
In the Banqueting Room our guide informed us that when Queen Victoria decided to sell the Royal Pavilion she removed all of it’s furniture and fittings, right down to the copper wire within the walls.
Moving through to the Grand Kitchen we learnt that the Royal Pavilion had an employed rat-catcher who was paid £150 a year. £50 was a comfortable wage of the time and so it was clear that this was an important and highly respected role.
The tour concluded in the Music Room which was decorated with 184 carvings of dragons and 26,000 gold-leafed plaster shells.
For many clients it was their first visit to the Royal Pavilion:
“I found it quite informative. I didn’t realise that First Base and the Pavilion were connected”