Brighton as It Is 1836 has been posted electronically online. A fascinating tour guide, it offers many peeks into a world that is long gone. Most interesting is this page that lists the fares for hiring a sedan chair, bathing machine, pleasure boats, and carriages. One may also find the subscription to the reading room and circulating library. The book is only 108 pages long and a must read for those who are fascinated with Brighton during this period.
Update: Compared to the prices of hiring a guide (sedan) chair in Bath in 1806, there was very little difference:
Letter of the learned W. Clarke, selected from Nichols’ Anecdotes (p. 6-7):
“July 22, 1736
“We are now sunning ourselves upon the beach at Brighthelmstone, and observing what a tempting figure this island must have made formerly in the eyes of those gentlemen who were pleased to civilize and subdue us. The place is really pleasant; I have seen nothing in its way that outdoes it: such a tract of sea, such regions of corn, and such an extent of fine carpet, that gives your eye command of it all. – But then the mischief is, that we have little conversation besides the clamor nauticus, which is here a sort of treble to the splashing of the waves against the cliffs. My morning business is, bathing in the sea, and then buying fish; the evening is, riding out for air, viewing the remains of old Saxon camps, and counting the ships in the road, and the boats that are trawling. Sometimes we give the imagination leave to expatiate a little-fancy that you are coming down, and that we intend to dine one day next week at Dieppe, in Normandy; the price is already fixed, and the wine lodging there tolerably good. But though we build these castles in the air, I assure you we live here almost under ground. I fancy the architects here usually take the altitude of the Inhabitants, and lose not an inch between the head and the ceiling, and then dropping a step or two below the surface, the second story, is finished something under twelve feet. I suppose this was a necessary precaution against storms, that a man should not be blown out of his bed into New England, Barbary, or God knows where. But as the lodgings are low, they are cheap: `we have two parlours, two bed chambers, pantry ‘ &c. for five shillings per week: and if you really will come down’ you need not fear a bed of proper dimensions. And then the coast is safe, the cannons all covered with rust and grass, the ships moored no enemy apprehended. Come and see…
Also from the book (p. 8 )
Public attention was first directed to the spot by a treatise of Dr. Russell on the advantages of Sea-bathing, which he successfully recommended in scrophulous and glandular complaints. It was he, too, who caused the valuable chalybeate spring to the West of the town to be enclosed, prior to the erection of the present building. His successor, Dr. Rhellan, continued to add to the reputation of Brighton by publishing a Natural History of the town in 1761.
We now arrive at a period when the increasing popularity of the place was to receive a new stimulus from the presence of the Prince of Wales, afterwards George the Fourth. His first visit was in the summer of the year 1782, when the Prince resided with his Royal relatives, the late Duke and Duchess of Cumberland. He afterwards usually passed the summer and autumnal months at a mansion on the Steyne, then the property of the Lord of the Manor, which, after it had undergone several alterations, he finally purchased in 1814; and shortly after pulled it down to make room for the present Pavilion.
My other posts about Brighton, Transportation, and Seaside Resorts:
- Brighton, A Popular Seaside Resort
- Brighton Pavillion
- The Sedan Chair: An Efficient Mode of Transportation in Georgian England
- Seaside Fashion in Jane Austen’s Day
- Regency Transportation
- Seaside Fashion, Regency Style