A snapshot of Brighton in July 1911

Postcard showing Brighton seafront and the Hotel Metropole, 1911
Postcard showing Brighton seafront and the Hotel Metropole, 1911

Delegates attending the July 1911 Museums Association Conference in Brighton were greeted by a heat-wave on their arrival.  So intense was the heat that the Brighton Gazette reported that:

‘Ladies refrained from promenading during the heat of the day, and did most of their shopping by telephone’

Promotional brochure for Brighton, c1911
Promotional brochure for Brighton, c1911

The headquarters for the delegates was the Royal York Hotel, the décor and furnishings of which were virtually new as Harry Preston (a local personality) had rescued the hotel from near dereliction a few years before.

On the Saturday prior to the arrival of the delegates, a dinner was held at the hotel to honour Oscar Morison’s arrival in Brighton having travelled from Brooklands by aeroplane.

Other records were broken that week when on the last day of the conference, a Brighton woman, Miss F V A Cooper, swam from Rottingdean to the West Pier in a time of two hours and twenty six minutes.

‘A feat never performed before by a lady’

Advertisement for the Pier Head restaurant, c1911
Advertisement for the Pier Head restaurant, c1911

Brighton offered many attractions to those attending the conference in addition to those arranged by the conference organisers. They could take a lift to visit the tea gardens on the roof of the Palace Pier Pavilion or watch the four Sidney Girls in a ‘dancing speciality’ in the theatre below.  Delegates could also visit the Academy Picture Theatre in West street where they could watch the investiture of the Prince of Wales as Knight of the Garter which had been filmed in Kinemacolor, the invention of George Albert Smith of Hove.

For those seeking less frivolous activities, time could be spent in the Aquarium or listening to the band.  The Aquarium was no doubt a popular rendezvous as entry was free to the Museum Association delegates.

Paul Jordan, History Centre Officer

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