The Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Calder has been an essential reference for Brighton history since it was published in 1990. The text of the original encyclopaedia has now been integrated into the excellent My Brighton and Hove website and now, 20 years later, a fully revised and updated edition has been published by Brighton & Hove Libraries under the title The New Encyclopaedia of Brighton.
Based on the original volume, this edition has been brought up to date by local author Rose Collis, who has also provided many of the new photos for the book. The encyclopaedia contains articles on a huge variety of subjects, reflecting the diverse history of the city of Brighton. You can watch author Rose Collis on the local BBC news discussing the history of three of Brighton’s “attractions” including the Brighton Extra-Mural Cemetery.
There are articles on famous (or infamous) Brighton residents, streets and buildings, tourist attractions, transport, media, shops and pubs, films and television programmes filmed in Brighton. I am sure that there are subjects that aren’t covered, and naturally one volume doesn’t permit an awful lot of detail. Many of the subjects could be, and indeed some are, books in themselves.
Genealogists will probably not find mention of their ancestors, unless they were famous residents, but there is plenty of information about churches, cemeteries, roads, businesses and what they might have done during their spare time, which will no doubt be of interest.
Although my ancestors only had fleeting connections with Brighton, I know I am going to be regularly dipping into this encyclopaedia, either in connection with my family history, or because I see something whilst visiting Brighton that catches my eye and I want to find out more.
If you want a copy and can’t get to Brighton then copies are available on Amazon.co.uk, and probably elsewhere online.