I recently came across a treasure trove of old photos of Brighton taken by photographer and historian Peter Chrisp. Peter has kindly allowed me to share some of these images on the No Place Like Home website.
These images capture the Brighton of yesteryear: the 1980s. That apparently mystical time and place for this seaside coastal city, when it was still a town and not part of Hove or Portslade. A time people used to refer to as ‘when Brighton was still good’ and ‘before all the yuppies came in and ruined it’. (they were saying this in 2000 and they still saying it today.)
As you’ll soon see, many of Brighton’s classic pubs are all still with us. Shops come and go. A few places lose out to residential housing and commercial offices. Like-for-like changes the look but not the function of many shops and establishments, as the older Brighton is replaced – or erased – by the shiny new facades, the boutique, the gastro, the up-market swing.
And then in certain places, character, age, grime and sometimes a seediness pervades. The foundations of the city cannot yet be demolished or diminished, only beautified. The last bastion of the old Brighton, unwilling sell out to the forces of gentrification.
Brighton has so many facades and edges, like an old glittering diamond offset, not brought down, by its urbane pebbly beach and cosmopolitan and diverse citizens. Its complexity is what make this tiny city so interesting. But all around us, with the new condos, luxury flats and other urban developments around the city, is it only a matter of time before we see the whole of Brighton’s character pulled down? Jury’s out, but I say no.
Photographs and commentary by Peter Chrisp
Feeling inspired? Contribute your photograph and memory of home via our website: nowherelikehome.co.uk/contribute/
Can’t get enough? Check out Peter’s contribution of photos and memories of Brighton in the 1980s on Vintage Brighton: vintagebrighton.com/2010/11/1980s-brighton-people-and-places/ & vintagebrighton.com/2010/10/1980s-brighton-shopfronts/