Brighton Town Hall, England

  (Redirected from Old Police Cells Museum)

Brighton Town Hall stands on Bartholomew Square in Brighton, East Sussex, England. The town hall contains a number of police cells which were in use until the 1960s, and which now form the Old Police Cells Museum. The town hall is a Grade II listed building.[1]

Brighton Town Hall
Brighton Town Hall, Bartholomews, The Lanes, Brighton (NHLE Code 1379974) (July 2014) (1).jpg
Brighton Town Hall
LocationBrighton, East Sussex
Coordinates50°49′15″N 0°08′24″W / 50.8208°N 0.1401°W / 50.8208; -0.1401Coordinates: 50°49′15″N 0°08′24″W / 50.8208°N 0.1401°W / 50.8208; -0.1401
ArchitectThomas Cooper
Architectural style(s)Greek Revival style
Listed Building – Grade II
Designated20 August 1971
Reference no.1379974
Brighton Town Hall, England is located in East Sussex
Brighton Town Hall, England
Shown in East Sussex


The site occupied by the town hall was once the location of the Priory of Bartholomew, which was damaged by French raiders in June 1514.[2] The priory disappeared completely as a result of the Chantries Act 1547 and the site was then used as a market place in the 17th century.[3] The current building was commissioned to replace a previous town hall built on the western side of Market Street in 1727.[4]

The foundation stone for the new building was laid by Thomas Read Kemp, a local property developer who had encouraged the initiative, in April 1830.[5] The new building, which was designed by Thomas Cooper in the Greek Revival style and built at a cost of £60,000, was officially opened in 1832.[1] The design included, on each side, a four-storey portico with a Doric order columns below and an Ionic order columns above, with a pediment on top.[1] The local police force, which was formed in 1838, established a police station in the building and police cells in the basement.[6] On 12 and 13 November 1858, the author Charles Dickens gave a reading of A Christmas Carol to a large audience at the town hall[7][8] and, on 16 September 1861, the opera singer Adelina Patti performed there during a concert given by the composer and pianist Wilhelm Kuhe.[9]

In March 2003 the building was entered by activists, notionally protesting at the start of the Iraq War, who caused significant damage to computers and furniture.[10]

The former police cells which had been used for storage since Brighton Police had moved to new facilities in John Street in 1965, were opened up as a museum on 4 May 2005.[11]


Three rooms within the town hall are licensed for wedding ceremonies; these are the Regency Room, The Fitzherbert Room and the Council Chamber.[12] The city's register office is located in the building[13] and the prison cells can be visited as part of the Old Police Cells Museum.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Historic England. "Town hall and attached railings, Bartholomews (1379974)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  2. ^ "Brighton's first map and the French attack of 1514". Brighton Museums. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  3. ^ "Brighton & Hove: Historic Character Assessment Report" (PDF). West Sussex Council. p. 38. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  4. ^ "The First Town Hall Erected in Market Street 1727". My Brighton and Hove. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  5. ^ L. F. Salzman (1940). "A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, The Borough of Brighton". London. pp. 244–263. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  6. ^ Nemeth, Robert (11 December 2007). "Brighton Town Hall". Building Opinions. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  7. ^ "A Christmas Carol production resurrects 150 year old Charles Dickens script". The Argus. 15 November 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  8. ^ Andrews, Malcolm (1997). Charles Dickens and His Performing Selves: Dickens and the Public Readings. Oxford University Press. p. 273. ISBN 978-0199236206.
  9. ^ "Timeline: 1860s". Brighton History. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Protesters condemn Iraq war". The Argus. 21 March 2003. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Murder scene police museum opens". BBC. 4 May 2005. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  12. ^ "Ceremonies in Brighton Town Hall - Brighton & Hove City Council". Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Register Office". Brighton and Hove City Council. Retrieved 26 July 2020.
  14. ^ Beaken, Paul. "Brighton Town Hall". The Old Police Cells Museum. Retrieved 26 July 2020.