Most people know Brighton’s Royal Pavilion was built by that naughty boy George IV but do they know about the secret tunnel? Lots of people know the Brighton Dome was originally the Pavilion’s royal stables but do they know about the interesting stuff that happened there later on? Read on to discover the more unusual facts about these famous locations which also happen to feature as part of the puzzles included in our Puzzle Parade outside treasure hunt/escape room type experience.
1. George IV ‘Secret’ Tunnel
Most people know that the Royal Pavilion was created by George IV as a pleasure palace and that he was a bit of a lad, to say the least. A rumour was that he had created a tunnel underneath the Pavilion Gardens that lead to his mistress’s house but the truth is actually rather sad. There is a tunnel but it only leads as far as the royal stables, now the Brighton Dome, because he was so unpopular and overweight towards the end of his life that he didn’t want people to see him crossing the gardens above ground. The Pavilion also served as a hospital during World War I and the entrance to George’s tunnel was used as an air raid shelter during World War II.
2. Real Regency Gardens
The gardens themselves are the only completely restored Regency gardens in the country exclusively using flowers that would have been around at the time with no modern hybrids.
3. Queen Victoria Was Not Amused
Prince George may have loved his Pavilion but his niece, Queen Victoria, didn’t like it one bit. In fact, she wanted it demolished but ended up selling it to the Brighton Corporation (or Brighton Council as it’s now known) in 1850 which is why it is a visitor attraction rather than a royal palace these days.
4. Clever Communication in the Brighton Dome
Once a stable, now a performance venue, the Brighton Dome has had some interesting goings on over the years. One such was when inventor Magnus Volk (the clever chap who created the very first electric railway which is still running as a tourist attraction today) installed a telephone mouthpiece on the speakers’ podium in the Concert Hall which lead to eight listening devices in the Royal Pavilion. That was in 1881.
5. Feminist Organs
In 1910, two suffragettes planned to disrupt Prime Minister Asquith’s speech in the Dome by shouting ‘votes for women’ through the pipes of the venue’s organ. They were found hiding inside the organ itself.
6. The Humble Beginnings of the Komedia
Another famous venue, the Komedia, started life in Kemptown in a former billiard hall. It was the only intimate cabaret style venue in the UK at the time in 1994 and, in 1998 it was popular enough to move to a bigger location in central Brighton, a former Tesco supermarket. It helped to launch the careers of some big names such as Graham Norton, Al Murray, Mel and Sue and Omid Djalili.
7. A Juggling First
Starting in London’s Covent Garden, Oddballs Juggling Shop is the oldest dedicated juggling shop in the UK, founded in 1984. It has been a centre for ‘all things you throw and catch’ ever since and even has a manager who turns up to meetings on a unicycle (as we found out to our delight!).
8. When the North Laine Wasn’t all That
Most of our Puzzle Parade game takes place in the fabulous North Laine (as well as it being home to our (sister company Paradox Place) but it wasn’t originally somewhere you would want to spend time in as it was an infamous slum full of stinky slaughter houses and one area even reportedly had as many as 130 people living in just 17 houses. In 1860, the local authorities had a major clean-up operation which allowed the North Laine to become the shopping and cultural hub it is today.
9. When the North Laine Nearly got Demolished
That nearly didn’t happen though as the area was due to be demolished in the 1970s to make way for high rise buildings, a fly over and a car park! Thankfully, a nice man called Ken Fines campaigned to stop this happening.
10. Birthplace of The Body Shop
A claim to fame for the North Laine is that it used to be the home of the very first The Body Shop shop. Long before it was a multinational company, it was just one little shop at 22 Kensington Gardens (which is now an opticians).
We love little facts like these and we also love Brighton so we wanted people to see these famous landmarks in all new ways when they play Puzzle Parade. It’s a super fun game suitable for families, groups of friends, couples and generally anyone who wants to get out and about in Brighton while solving puzzles based on and around Brighton’s famous landmarks and shops. You can book your game here or call 01273 220388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.