We recently posted a short extract from a local newspaper describing George Prince of Wales and his illegitimate wife, Mrs Fitzherbert, as an open couple in Brighton. There are a lot of myths surrounding George’s life in Brighton, and local newspapers provide a useful, and often amusing, insight.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting more extracts like this, showing how the current calendar date of news was reported in the late eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries. Most of these will come from the Sussex Weekly Advertiser. This was the original local newspaper, first published in 1749. Until the launch of the Brighton Herald in 1806 it was the only newspaper that regularly reported events in Brighton.
We will kick off today with this report from 18 January 1808 :
‘During the Prince’s stay, the apartments of the Royal Residence, each evening, were the scenes of refined mirth, the most distinguished Families of the Nobility having been munificently entertained there by the Heir Apparent. On Friday evening, however, the company were by far the most numerous of the week, Lord and Lady Charles Somerset, Lord John Somerset, and, in fact, almost all the rank and fashion of the place being present. On this occasion the EGYPTIAN HALL, and the ANTIROOM, the SALOON or ROTUNDA, the EGYPTIAN, or LONG GALLERY and the BANQUETTING ROOM, which forms the North Wing of the splendid Edifice, were all brillliantly illuminated. Music was the leading feature of the evening’s entertainment and “the concord of sweet sounds” floated in the air, and enlivened the vicinity of the Steyne for many successive hours.’
Sussex Weekly Advertiser, 18 January 1808
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