Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Days Out in Brighton - The Brighton Pavilion by Madame Gilflurt

Today I am absolutely delighted to introduce to you writer Catherine Curzon, aka Madame Gilflurt. Catherine's eighteenth century blog tells the stories behind the famous and celebrated from that period, bringing them back to life along with all their terrors, scandal, intrigue and eccentricities. It's brilliant.

Days out in Brighton, Brighton Pavilion, Modern Bric a Brac

I asked Catherine if she would mind sharing her favourite eighteenth century day out and rather appropriately she decided that the best eighteenth century day out should go to the Brighton Pavilion. 

Well, it's about time that gloriously over-the-top look-at-me Pav got a mention on here and there really isn't anyone better to write about it than Catherine.

The Brighton Pavilion 

Before I visited Brighton for the first time in December 2015, there would have been another, more northern candidate for my favourite 18th century day out. Unfortunately, Castle Howard is going to have to take a back seat for now because my firmly-made-up mind was changed on a bright, cold winter day beside the sea by a most remarkable building.

Days out in Brighton, Brighton Pavilion, photo by Modern Bric a Brac

I made the trip down from Yorkshire to Brighton to discuss a performance of An Evening with Jane Austen and was a bundle of nervous excitement at the thought of visiting the Pavilion, let alone one day performing there. When we arrived in the town on the evening before the meeting, my friend and I took a nighttime wander down the road to look at the Pavilion and I was literally stopped in my tracks. It was more stunning than any photograph had prepared me for, this pleasure palace where the notorious George IV caroused without care. Illuminated by purple lights and with an ice rink glittering in the grounds, it looked every inch the place to party.

Days out in Brighton, interior of Brighton Pavilion

The following morning I was at the Pavilion before breakfast to snap some photos and then, in the company of Mr Wickham (from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth) aka Adrian Lukis, I finally got to tour the inside.

The Royal Pavilion began life as a modest farmhouse yet when George laid eyes on the unassuming building, he could see the potential for far more. He loved the pace of life in the town and better still, the farmhouse was close to the Brighton home of Maria Fitzherbert. With his secret wife just along the road, George knew that he had found his ideal love-nest.

Under the direction of Henry Holland, the chap behind the Carlton House renovations that left George mired in debt, that modest farmhouse began to grow in size and grandeur into the Marine Pavilion. George bought up surrounding land so that he might have the stables he believed he deserved and soon it was the most fashionable, fabulous address in Brighton.

It remains a magnificent place, its grandeur undimmed and it really does capture the spirit of the profligate, free-living George perfectly. Decadent, luxurious and just a little bit OTT, one cannot help but applaud that scandalous prince of pleasure for realising such a vision. After all, where else can one get onion domes, dragons and bamboo?

Days out in Brighton, interior of Brighton Pavilion

Even better, I am going to spend a little more time at Brighton Pavilion in September when An Evening with Jane Austen comes to the palace for one night only on 4th September. Ill be introducing the performance with a few tales of George IV and I can honestly say that its a dream come true - I hope to see you there!

About Catherine Curzon

Catherine Curzon is a royal historian and blogs on all matters 18th century at A Covent Garden Gilflurt's Guide to Life.

Her work has featured in publications such as BBC History Extra, All About History, History of Royals, Explore History and Jane Austens Regency World. She has also provided additional material for the sell-out theatrical show, An Evening with Jane Austen, which she will introduce at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, in September (tickets are available here).

Catherine holds a Masters degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, she lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

Her book, Life in the Georgian Court, is available now from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Book Depository and all good bookshops.

Life in the Georgian Court by Catherine Curzon

Catherine's book Life in the Georgian Court

As the glittering Hanoverian court gives birth to the British Georgian era, a golden age of royalty dawns in Europe. Houses rise and fall, births, marriages and scandals change the course of history and in France, Revolution stalks the land.

Peep behind the shutters of the opulent court of the doomed Bourbons, the absolutist powerhouse of Romanov Russia and the epoch-defining family whose kings gave their name to the era, the House of Hanover.

Behind the pomp and ceremony were men and women born into worlds of immense privilege, yet beneath the powdered wigs and robes of state were real people living lives of romance, tragedy, intrigue and eccentricity. Take a journey into the private lives of very public figures and learn of arranged marriages that turned to love or hate and scandals that rocked polite society.

Here the former wife of a king spends three decades in lonely captivity, Prinny makes scandalous eyes at the toast of the London stage and Marie Antoinette begins her last, terrible journey through Paris as her son sits alone in a forgotten prison cell.

Life in the Georgian Court is a privileged peek into the glamorous, tragic and iconic courts of the Georgian world, where even a king could take nothing for granted.

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