"Brighton looks like a town that is helping the police with their enquiries" - Keith Waterhouse
A byword for all kinds of mischief in the modern vernacular, Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove, situated on the south coast of England.
Originally the tiny fishing village of 'Brighthelmstone', the city first became a fashionable destination in the late 1700s when the reported benefits of seawater drew curious crowds. When George IV moved to Brighton in 1783, the city soared in popularity and began to accumulate a myriad of seaside entertainments and an array of distinctive Regency buildings - most notably the Palace Pier and the Royal Pavilion.
Yet beneath the Regency splendour lurked a seedy underbelly. Throughout the early 1930s, London protection rackets dominated Brighton racecourse, until in 1936 the arrest of the notorious 'Hoxton Mob' in Lewes saw most of the troublemakers slip quietly away. Yet Brighton's back alleys became synonymous with sinister dealings and the sea front with sleaze, as bank holiday visitors indulged in drinking, gambling and the other shady fun that was so readily available.
Some of the most poverty-stricken areas of the town were eradicated during the 1930s, and the slums replaced by council and private houses. The city invested in a number of cinemas, an art deco lido in Saltdean, a rock garden in Preston Park and the modernisation of the Brighton Dome. Trams were replaced with trolley buses in 1939.
With a population of approximately 265,000 people in 2010, modern Brighton seeks to embrace alternative lifestyles and interests, from drag queen bingo to vegan cuisine. Despite its relatively small size, a wide array of nightclubs, bars and restaurants jostle for attention and seek to meet every possible taste. The narrow lanes which once housed local fishermen, were converted into shopping areas in 1850, and are crowded with independent outlets and specialist boutiques.
Brighton now has one of the largest gay communities in Britain, and celebrates this diversity annually with a parade. The city also hosts a range of festivals showcasing local and national music, comedy, theatre and art.