Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Friday 06 August 2010

How Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Once Became An Indian Military Hospital

Visitors are flocking to a new exhibition at Brighton's historic Royal Pavilion. The exhibition charting the Royal Pavilion's remarkable role as an Indian Military Hospital during World War One opened earlier this year.
Brighton Royal Pavilion As An Indian Military Hospital –

The new permanent gallery highlights how more than 4,000 Indian soldiers, who were fighting under British command on the Western Front in France and Flanders, were treated at the Royal Pavilion between 1914 and 1916.

Opulent public rooms in the royal palace, such as the Banqueting Room and Music Room, were transformed into wards and the Great Kitchen was even used as an operating theatre.

The soldiers were amazed at being cared for in such grand surroundings. One wrote to a friend back in India: "Our hospital is in the place where the King used to have his throne. The men in the hospital are tended like flowers."

The Royal Pavilion is the former seaside residence of King George IV and owned and run by Brighton & Hove City Council.



Councillor David Smith, the council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Recreation and Tourism, said: "The exhibition provides an insight into this fascinating and - until now - often forgotten chapter from the pavilion's past and we are delighted it is attracting so many people.

"We have welcomed visitors from across this country and abroad, including relatives of some of the British orderlies and Indian Medical Service personnel who served in the Royal Pavilion when it was a military hospital."


Archive photographs, paintings, contemporary accounts and newsreel bring the story to life, along with exhibits such as a Gurkha knife, Lee Enfield rifle, transcripts of letters sent home by the soldiers, a ward menu discovered under the floorboards, and hookah pipe found discarded in the grounds.

Cllr Smith added: "With more people 'staycationing' in Britain, and a weak pound attracting more foreign visitors, we are expecting the increase in visitor numbers to continue during the summer."


The Royal Pavilion as a Military Hospital is a permanent exhibition, for more information visit www.brighton-hove-pavilion.org.uk or ring 03000 290902.

Brighton & Hove residents can enjoy half-price admission to the Pavilion with up to four accompanying children free (bring proof of residency, one item required per adult eg council tax or other utility bill.)


by: Mike Cobley




Share    


Snow Patrol are set to return with Wildness, their first album in seven years, which finds the band searching for clarity, connection, and meaning, while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence. 

From an angel and a tennis player to a joyfully paint-splashed lady, Hangleton and East Brighton residents have been creating life-size 'avatars': colourfully painted, cut-out figures that explore who they are or who they would like to be for a Brighton Festival project called Looking Through Each Other's Eyes.

Rituals is the ambitious new album from Australian musician Amaya Laucirica (who played a storming set at last weekend's Brighton's Great Escape Festival). Her work blends the swirling contours of the Cocteau Twins with the wistful melodies of The Go-Betweens and the sonic depth of Yo La Tengo. 

Following last year's success, Byline Festival returns to Pippingford Park, in East Sussex, and once again promises festivalgoers a unique opportunity to recapture the spirit of festivals when they had a sense of purpose. 

John Finnemore has followed a well worn path and is pretty much your definitive BBC Radio 4 comedian; studied English at Cambridge University and cut his teeth in the Cambridge footlights rising to become its vice president in his final year. After graduating, he performed in Sensible Haircut with the Footlights team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2000.

Following band frontman Mike Peters' major undertaking for last week's Record Store Day – which saw him perform at record shops in London, New York and Los Angeles in a three-stop transcontinental trip within twenty-four hours – The Alarm announce the release of their new album Equals.

A special ceremony is being held next month at Woodvale Cemetery, Brighton, to return the gravestone of Thomas Highflyer, a 12-year-old slave boy who was rescued from a slave dhow and died in Brighton 148 years ago.

My first visit to The Spire. As you may have guessed from the name it was once a church (St Mark's Chapel, in East Brighton). This one has been converted to an arts venue. It still looks very much like a church though, just missing the pews and altar etc and of course, it has a stage… and wonderfully, and at least on this night, a foyer with seating and a bar.

It was always a pleasure for The Brighton Magazine to host The Beat's Dave Wakeling, when he performed in the city as part of the 3 Men & Black collective (alongside Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers and Pauline Black and Nick Welsh from The Selecter).

A new play by Townsend Theatre Productions relives the extraordinary true story of the Grunwick Strike, a dispute that challenged the way women and immigrants are treated in the workplace.

Brighton based gallery 35 North Contemporary Fine Art is set to host Deanland, a new exhibition of original work by painter Alexander Johnson and photographer John Brockliss. 
Pic by Paul Mansfield

The Rock House Festival 2018 brings together learning disabled bands and upcoming and established music-makers from Brighton and beyond for a day of live music at Green Door Store, Brighton.

Joan Armatrading is a woman of candour – not to mention can do. She gets straight to the heart of the matter, and she delivers.

Creative Scotland will support nine top Scottish acts to perform at two Showcasing Scotland concerts at The Great Escape 2018, in Brighton - one of the most important platforms for new music in the world attracting over 3,500 key industry figures on the look-out for new talent.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd