Archive for October 2014

Tour of the Royal Pavilion

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.

Royal PavilionBefore 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”




Old Police Cells Museum Tour

On Tuesday October 28th four clients from First Base visited the Old Police Cells Museum, located in the basement of Brighton’s Town Hall.

Old Police Cells MuseumThe museum, which functioned as the main police station between 1830 – 1967, offers an insight into crime and punishment of the past. The tour started in the parade room where our guide, a retired police officer, talked about the murder of Chief Officer Henry Solomon by a prisoner in 1844, the chocolate poison murder in 1871 and the Balcombe tunnel murder of 1881.

From the Parade Room we made our way to the female cells, which were distinguished from the male cells as they had natural light and wooden floors. Our guide explained the role of women in the police force and we viewed an extensive collection of wooden truncheons from the Brighton and neighbouring borough forces.

In the male cells graffiti left by prisoners from the Mods & Rockers era is still visible. In the Police Uniforms and Equipment exhibit we learnt that the Brighton police force were the first to use hand-held radios in 1933, however at this stage they only worked one-way so officers on patrol had to use police telephone boxes to respond.

Female CellsThe most enjoyable part of the tour was trying on the modern-day police hats!

Before we left we were lucky enough to see the museum’s well, which enabled access to fresh water 28ft below the police station.

“A great insight into Brighton’s history”