Brighton Town Hall

Photo:Brighton Town Hall

Brighton Town Hall

Tony Mould

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Brighton Town Hall' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Brighton Town Hall' page



The Town Hall was built between 1830-1832 when Brighton had a population of about 40,000 and was the 15th largest town in England and Wales. It was designed to be in the shape of a Greek cross, however once the work was in progress the council realised that it had failed to purchase sufficient land and ended up with a sort of oblong on its hands.

When the Brighton police force amalgamated with Sussex in 1967 the population was about 164,000.

This building was built on the site of the previous small town hall with a black hole or lock-up, where the accused could be held until they could be examined by a magistrate. This in turn had been erected over the ruins of St Bartholomew's Priory  garden which had been destroyed by the French in 1514.


Naturally, not content with raising the priory to the ground the French slaughtered all the monks and their ghosts are believed, by many, to roam the site to this day.

Although the police cells were condemned for a second time in 1929 they remained in use until 1967. You can still see a couple of windows with Police written on them around the side of the building. The windows were preserved during the Second World War by sandbags and although they could cope with Goering's Luftwaffe they were no match for the invasion in 1964 of the mods and rockers.

From 1285 the town was considered large enough to warrant its own constable.


Constable comes from the latin 'comes stabuli', count of the stables. In England the office of constable was introduced following the Norman Conquest. Usually the constable would be in charge of the defence of a castle.

This page was added by Paul Beaken on 02/05/2012.

This page was added by Paul Beaken on 08/06/2012.

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