Royal visits to Brighton and Hove fondly remembered

Posted On 09 Sep 2022 at 7:20 pm

Crowds greet Queen Elizabeth as she arrives in Whitehawk to open the Roundabout Children’s Centre in Whitehawk Road in March 2007 – Royal rota pool photograph

The late Queen visited Brighton and Hove at least half a dozen times during her 70-year reign and was greeted on each occasion by crowds of well-wishers.

On her first visit – as Princess Elizabeth – on Tuesday 4 December 1945, she reviewed the troops at the King Alfred.

Months after the end of the Second World War, it was still a naval training base, known at the time as HMS King Alfred.

Spacewords Brighton

And, from there, the teenage princess went on to visit Preston Manor, in Brighton, home to the influential Stanford family in the 19th century and early 20th century.

Details of this visit and later visits have been shared by Brighton and Hove City Council.

And below are pictures from some of those visits taken either by the official photographer or royal rota “pool” photographers who recorded each occasion.

On Friday 18 May 1951, Princess Elizabeth visited Brighton and Hove during a tour of Sussex which also took in Lewes and Hastings.

xmas collections

She visited the Palace Pier, in Brighton, the Royal Pavilion and the old Hove Town Hall, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, which was demolished after being damaged by fire in 1966.

On Monday 16 July 1962, the Queen opened Hangleton Library while she and the Duke of Edinburgh formally marked the renovation of George Street, in Hove, and visited Brighton College.

Just over two years later, Friday 13 November 1964, the Queen officially opened the main library at Sussex University.

The university had been founded just three years earlier and, while on the Falmer campus, designed by Basil Spence, she also spent time in the students’ union.

The Queen visits Brighton College in 1962

The Queen visits the students’ union at Sussex University after officially opening the new library on the Falmer campus in 1964 – Picture courtesy of Sussex University

On Thursday 31 May 1979, the Queen officially opened Brighton Marina – the largest man-made marina in Europe at the time – accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

They were welcomed by the Mayor of Brighton, Dennis Hobden, a veteran councillor who had made history in 1964 when he became the first Labour MP to be elected in Sussex.

The Queen and Prince Philip also took a stroll through the shopping streets of The Lanes, in the historic heart of Brighton before heading to Lewes.

The Queen with the Mayor of Brighton, Councillor Dennis Hobden, in 1979

On Thursday 29 March 2001, months after Brighton and Hove became a city, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh met children from four local schools.

The youngsters were from Aldrington Church of England Primary School, Hillside special school, now Hill Park School, Knoll Infant School and Goldstone Junior School.

Goldstone became an all-through primary school when Knoll Infant School closed in August 2001. The infant school site is now occupied by housing.

During the same visit, the Queen went to the Brighthelm Centre to meet St John Ambulance volunteers and Big Issue sellers.

She was said to have bought a copy of the Big Issue magazine from one of the homeless vendors.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip on the balcony at the Theatre Royal with the venue’s then manager Julien Boast – Royal rota pool photograph

The monarch may have been more used to the balcony at Buckingham Palace but, on Thursday 8 March 2007, she waved to crowds from the balcony of the theatre in New Road.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were guests of the Theatre Royal, with manager Julien Boast welcoming them as the venue celebrated its 200th anniversary.

During the visit, the Queen was shown around the Jubilee Library while Prince Philip spent time at a workshop at the Pavilion Theatre.

The royal couple also attended a reception at the Dome followed by lunch at Brighton Racecourse before visiting community projects in the afternoon.

Queen Elizabeth officially opens the Roundabout Children’s Centre in Whitehawk Road in Brighton – Royal rota pool photograph

In Whitehawk, big crowds greeted the Queen when she arrived to open the Roundabout Children’s Centre.

Her last visit to Brighton took place on Thursday 31 October 2013. Almost 50 years after opening the library at Sussex University, she opened the Keep.

The Queen arrives at the Keep – Picture by Tony Mould

A short distance from the university’s Falmer campus, the Keep is the official archive for Brighton and Hove and East Sussex.

It houses the Royal Pavilion and Museums local history collections and Sussex University’s “mass observation” archive.

On the same day, the Queen also visited West Quay fisheries, in Newhaven, the South Downs YHA (Youth Hostels Association) and Harveys brewery in Lewes.

The Queen and Prince visit Brighton Marina in 1979 – Picture by David Nicholls

  1. brAD Reply

    On the thirty first day of January in the forty ninth year of our reign (viz: 2001), she granted City status. In March, there was an event in the Corn Exchange to celebrate that fact.

  2. Max Reply

    From the street balcony of the Theatre Royal she watched a performance in New Road by the Bicycle Ballet and, afterwards, was introduced to the people who had danced with their bikes. One of them invited her to take part in the upcoming Naked Bike Ride.

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