Brighton Fishing Museum

Brighton Fishing Museum

Brighton Toy + Model Museum

Brighton Toy + Model Museum

Brighton Fishing Museum

Brighton Fishing Museum traces the unique story of the fishing community in Brighton, captured in a wealth of film, photography, paintings and memorabilia of Brighton seafront life. Let them guide you through the Brighthelmstone of the 1700s, when patients were first prescribed the seawater at Brighton for its medicinal benefits. You’ll discover how Brighton soon developed into a fashionable resort town, a retreat for the rich, following the patronage of the Prince Regent – all with mixed reception from Brighton’s fishing community at the time. By the mid 1800s, with the arrival of the railway, Brighton had become a haven for daytrippers. Discover how many of the fishermen began scrubbing down their punts each day after fishing and turn them into pleasure boats. Fishermen became boatmen, showmen of the sea and the water a funfair. With the arrival of the piers, you’ll see how Brighton became the town we know today.


Brighton Fishing Museum offers a truly intriguing look at the history of this famous town and it’s community. You’ll find hundreds of pictures and artefacts and if that wasn’t enough, they have managed to squeeze in a 27 foot clinker built punt boat – the traditional Sussex fishing boat – as the museum’s centrepiece. The museum is fully wheelchair accessible and assistance dogs are welcome.


Brighton Toy & Model Museum

Brighton Toy and Model Museum (sometimes referred to as Brighton Toy Museum) is an independent toy museum situated in Brighton, East Sussex. Its collection focuses on toys and models produced in the UK and Europe up until the mid-Twentieth Century, and occupies four thousand square feet of floor space within four of the early Victorian arches supporting the forecourt of Brighton railway station. Founded in 1991, the museum holds over ten thousand toys and models, including model train collections, puppets, construction toys and radio-controlled aircraft. The display area includes large operational model railway layouts (in 0- and 00-gauge), and displays of period pieces from manufacturers including Bing, Bassett-Lowke, Georges Carette, Dinky, Hornby Trains, Märklin, Meccano, Pelham Puppets and Steiff. It also includes individually engineered working models including a quarter-scale traction engine, steamroller and Spitfire fighter plane in the lobby.


Meccano. The Meccano cabinet has always been one of the star attractions but recently it has been through something of a facelift. With many rare and interesting items added, the display now gives a fantastic overview of the many facets of this long running toy. Started in 1908, as we know it, and still in production today, Meccano has proven it’s appeal to many generations of children and when you look at the wide range of products on offer over the years it’s easy to see why. While it’s heyday was certainly in the 1930s, the name is still a very recognizable trademark and one of the success stories of the UK toy industry. From the more common boxed sets of building materials through to the esoteric electrical and chemical sets, Meccano had something for almost everyone. 1930's Society. The heart of the museum is the central 1930s gauge 0 model railway layout. Twice the size of most modern model railways, “gauge 0” was the dominant scale in use between World War One and World War Two. Its large size meant that a large house (or a loft!) was usually required for a full layout, limiting the number of people who could ever own one. This period townscape display captures the mood and styling of the 1930s in miniature, and is almost entirely assembled from original 1930s toys and accessories, from the stations and advertising and working streetlamps to the painted lead passengers and pedestrians in contemporary dress, to the bridges and 1930s clockwork Minic road traffic. Built in a period in which expensive toys were handmade like pieces of jewellery, the scene also crams in around sixty period model locomotives and over a hundred and thirty pieces of rolling stock.


Aviation. Up above the public areas is a squadron of large-scale radio-controlled model aircraft including biplanes, triplanes and helicopters, the largest being a quarter-scale WW2 Spitfire. What’s more amazing than the models themselves is the fact that evey one of them has actually been flown. These are working models not just works of engineering art! Period Diecast. The Corgi Toys display was extended last year with a second cabinet, prompting a stream of diecast fans to make the pilgrimage to the museum to see the displays of Corgi, Dinky, Budgie and Spot-On (and Hornby Dublo).Soft Toys. The museum’s guest collections include a display of soft toys from a major collector, including pieces by Steiff, Deans Rag Book, Farnell and Schuco. This exhibit is due for a revamp very soon so if you have any current favourites, go and see them before too long or they might be gone!


Though situated in a Victorian building, adaptations have been made to enable wheelchair access to almost every public area. If you need any help, simply ask any member of staff who will be pleased to assist you. One of their toilets has been adapted to facilitate visitors with extra needs. Just advise them upon arrival if anyone in your party has mobility issues. PLEASE NOTE: While they can accommodate standard and powered wheelchairs, due to some tight corners in the museum and the restrictions of the access ramp, they are unable to allow mobility scooters (either 3 or 4 wheel) into the museum gallery. If you are in any doubt that they will be able to grant you access, please call them prior to your visit. Assistance dogs are welcome.

Booth Museum of Natural History

Booth Museum of Natural History

Brighton Museum

Brighton Museum

Booth Museum of Natural History


The Booth Museum was opened in 1874 by naturalist and collector Edward Thomas Booth. Booth was particularly interested in birds, and it was his ambition, though not fully realized, to collect examples of every bird species found in Britain. Each species collected would include a male, a female, a juvenile and any plumage variations. He presented his bird collection in Victorian-style dioramas that attempted to recreate how birds would appear in the setting of their natural habitat. Booth was a one of the pioneers of such diorama displays, and his museum, the first to present its collection in this manner in Britain, influenced how other museums would present animal species in their displays.


The museum is all on one level and is carpeted. The galleries are well lit, apart from the butterfly gallery which has lower levels of lighting. Most of the aisles are wide; the narrowest doorway is 84cm wide. There is a variety of seating around the building. Most of the exhibits are in glass cases, some at a high level. There is some clear labeling of exhibits, but because of the historic nature of the collection, some of the labeling is not as clear or in smaller font. There are some tactile exhibits and interactives. An induction loop is fitted in the education area in the butterfly gallery, and there is clear space for wheelchair users under the tables. A unisex accessible toilet, locked with a radar key available from the reception desk, is located in the entrance. There are two steps down to this area from the main building, so it is currently only suitable for ambulant disabled visitors. Assistance dogs are welcome. To get online you will need to connect to the ‘_Link Free’ network with your device. If you have not used the service before you will need to set up an account and respond to a verification code that will be sent by text to your mobile phone. Once registered, these account details can be used to log on to wifi at all our other museums, and numerous other buildings run by Brighton & Hove City Council.


Brighton Museum

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery is located in the Royal Pavilion garden, at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter. Its diverse collections bring together the arts and history to tell stories about the city and the world we live in. The Decorative Art collection includes British, European and American applied art and design from 17th Century to present day including ceramics, glass, metalwork, furniture and jewellery. The World Art collection contains 15,000 objects and reference materials from Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Americas. One of its notable collectors was James Henry Green who collected material from Burma in the 1920s and 30s. The Costume and Textile collection contains British, European and North American textiles, costume and accessories from the 18th century to present day.


The Toy collection contains toys, dolls and games from 18th century to present day. Its founding collection was the National Toy Museum & Institute of Play, containing over twenty thousand items. The Film and Media collection contain equipment relating to the development of the early film industry in England 1896-1930. It includes magic lantern projectors and slides, early filmmaking equipment and ephemera. The Local and Social History collection includes objects, ephemera, oral history and photographs from 18th century to the present day, representing the social history of Brighton & Hove. The Archaeology collection includes material from sites in Brighton & Hove and international sites, including a large collection from Egypt. The Oral History collection contains audio recordings of personal memories and experiences of Brighton and Hove and histories relating to the world art, costume craft and film and media collections.


Notable exhibits include : A pair of breeches worn by George IV. The breeches are part of the royal wear section in the Costume & Textiles collection. They were made in 1827 and are hand stitched in green wool fabric. Breeches were worn in the 18th and early 19th century, but by 1810 trousers were becoming more popular. George IV preferred to wear breeches and banned trousers from court until 1815. A Kinemacolour camera made by Moy & Bastie around 1910. Kinemacolour was developed by George Albert Smith (one of the early pioneers in British film-making in Brighton & Hove) and was the first commercially viable colour film technique. The camera is part of the film and media collection. A hand-enamelled wall plaque made in 1934–1939 depicting life in Imperial India. It was designed by Clarice Cliff using a scene taken from the ‘The British Empire Panels’ designed by Frank Brangwyn. Cliff adapted designs from three of Brangwyn’s panels which were produced by Royal Staffordshire Pottery. A toy toolbox containing miniature tools including a mallet, corkscrew and a screwdriver in the toy collection based at Hove Museum & Art Gallery. The handwritten ink on the toolbox lid reads ‘1846 Toolbox ELD from CLD’. It was made by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as author, photographer and mathematician Lewis Carroll. A portrait painted in coloured beeswax found fixed over the face of a mummified body in the Roman cemetery at Hawara in Egypt from the 2nd Century. His white robes are a deliberate display of status, distinguishing him as a member of the elite class of Romans who had settled in Egypt. Vietnamese water puppets from the mid 20th Century, hand painted and carved out of wood. Today, schools in Vietnam teach this art, once a guarded secret and passed down only from father to son. Water provides the magic and hides the mechanism of the puppet. Teu is the master of ceremonies and he introduces many different characters who perform their own story in turn. A drinking beaker from the local history collection made from horn, dating from the early 19th century. Around this time Brighton had one inn for every thirty houses. The beaker has the faint inscription: ‘Greyhound Inn Brighton, 1821'. The Hove amber cup, which is considered to be one of Britain's most important Bronze Age finds. It was discovered in 1856 when a burial mound was excavated to make way for the building of Palmeira Avenue, Hove. Inside the mound was an oak coffin which contained bone fragments, a dagger, a whetstone and an axe head as well as the Amber Cup, made from a single piece of amber.


Current exhibitions include : - Fashion Cities Africa; Explore fashion and style in four cities at the compass points of the African continent – Casablanca in Morocco, Lagos in Nigeria, Nairobi in Kenya and Johannesburg in South Africa. Pavilion Blues. The Great Bear and Images of Brighton. All areas of the Museum are accessible for wheelchair users and for people with limited mobility. Visitor Services Officers are positioned around the building should you require any assistance and are happy to answer any queries. Tactile tours can be booked for groups of visually impaired visitors, and sign language interpreted group tours are available for the hard of hearing. All group tours must be booked in advance. There are wide routes between areas throughout the galleries. Flooring is even, varnished wood or mosaic throughout the building. Interpretation panels and signage throughout the Museum are of a reasonable size with clear font and contrast. Seating is available throughout the Museum, and there are folding stools available for visitors to use throughout the building. Light levels vary in the Museum. Some galleries, such as the Costume and Prints galleries have low light levels for conservation reasons. The ground floor contains seven galleries, Education Rooms and toilet and baby changing facilities.


The World Stories gallery has large print transcripts, QR codes, BSL and subtitles on the audio visual presentations, hearing loops, tactile exhibits and a PC with a trackball and screen reading software. A large print guide to using the technology is also available. RNIB PenFriends are available from the Information desk to be used by visitors with visual impairment to access audio information about the displays. The Egypt gallery has a gently sloped floor. The first floor is accessible via the lift or stairs of 12+10+9 steps, and contains permanent galleries and temporary exhibition spaces. The cafe is on the balcony and looks out across the 21st Century Gallery below. The Costume gallery has a gently sloped ramp with a 1:17 gradient and handrails. Public toilets are available on the ground floor, with level access from the main Museum. There are also further toilets in the basement accessed via 5+12 steps. Accessible toilets are located on both the ground floor and the first floor. Both have level access, and non-slip flooring. They are well lit and have grab rails, lever taps and an emergency pull cord. Assistance dogs are welcome.

Hove Museum

Hove Museum

Preston Manor

Preston Manor

Hove Museum


Hove Museum and Art Gallery is a municipally-owned museum in the town of Hove, which is part of the larger city of Brighton and Hove in the South East of England. The museum comprises a number of different galleries. The Hove History Gallery shows how Hove as we know it today has developed from lots of smaller communities, which until the 19th century had their own separate identities: Aldrington, Benfield, Hangleton, Hove and West Blatchington. Hove’s smaller neighbour, Portslade was also made up of the smaller settlements of Portslade Village and Portslade by Sea, once known as Copperas Gap. The local history gallery, laid out chronologically, explores the major settlements of each time period. For much of its history the village of Hove was overshadowed by the larger and more prosperous communities at Portslade, Hangleton and West Blatchington. From Victorian times however, Hove developed quickly into a new town swallowing up the parishes of Aldrington in 1894 and Hangleton and West Blatchington in 1928. In 1974 Portslade also became part of Hove’s administrative area. Until Victorian times, green fields divided Hove village and Brighton. Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Hove residents vigorously tried to keep their independence. Finally in 1997 Brighton and Hoves councils merged to create a new unitary authority. Brighton & Hove became a city in 2001.


The Wizards Attic. A treasure trove of toys through history, the wizard has playthings from as early as the 1740s together with more recent must have cult toys. Some of his toys are brand new and others much loved, family friends. Some are centuries old, such as dolls from the 1600s, and early clockwork toys from Germany. Others, such as Barbie and Star Wars characters, will be familiar to children today. Tucked away in the attic is a room which has been magically divided into a half-1890s / half-2000s child’s bedroom featuring toys from both eras. The gallery features model trains, toy soldiers, teddy bears, dolls, mechanical toys and educational toys. A highlight of the gallery is the doll collection with examples from the 1700s onwards, including: Pierotti portrait dolls of the Royal family from early 1900s; An 18th century wax doll in its original clothing; Bébé Jumeau dolls; German bisque dolls from the late 19th century until the 1920s; Dolls houses of different architectural styles and ages. There is a good collection of clockwork toys including early British and French automata and clockwork toys from Germany, Britain, America and Japan, with examples by classic manufacturers Lehmann and Schuco. Modern children hooked on Lego will find examples of their favourites, which they can compare with Meccano and a fine selection of 19th century German constructional toys. There are Victorian toys for teaching children their ABC, counting, geography, botany and skills.


Before they enter Hove Museum, visitors are met by the Jaipur Gate. This impressive structure stands in the garden of Hove Museum, near the path that leads to the museum entrance. The Jaipur Gate was originally commissioned for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition held at South Kensington in 1886. The exhibition was opened by Queen Victoria on 4 May 1886 and attracted 5.5m visitors. The gate marked the entry to the Rajputana (now Rajasthan) section of the exhibition. The Maharaja of Jaipur paid for its construction. Although carved and assembled by Indian craftsmen, the gate is a hybrid construction designed by two Englishmen: Colonel Samuel Swinton Jacob and Surgeon-Major Thomas Holbein Hendley. The inscription on the front, in English, Sanskrit and Latin, is the motto of the Maharajas of Jaipur: ‘where virtue is, there is victory’.


The museum is fully wheelchair accessible. The main entrance is situated on the ground floor and has a tiled, level floor. The area is well lit with overhead lighting. There is a lowered section of the reception desk. There is a hearing induction loop fitted. Pen and paper are available on request. There is a pictogram map of the museum in the entrance, along with a tactile plan and braille guide to the museum, with large print also available. RNIB PenFriends are available here and are used to support temporary exhibitions. There is a ramp through to the Education room. The tables here have space for visitors in wheelchairs. Public toilets are located on the ground floor with level access from the entrance and non-slip flooring. Outside there is a large level lawned area. Paths are level tarmac. Wooden benches are placed at intervals around the garden. Assistance dogs are welcome.


Preston Manor

Preston Manor is the former manor house of the ancient Sussex village of Preston, now part of the coastal city of Brighton and Hove. Preston village originated in the Saxon era—probably during the 9th or 10th century—as evidenced by its name (derived from Preste-tun, meaning "priest's farmstead"). The old spelling was still in use in the 11th century; by the 16th century, the term "Bishops Preston" or "Preston Episcopi" was in common use to avoid confusion with other Prestons elsewhere. In its original form, the ecclesiastical parish covered a 1 by 2 mile area north of Hove and Brighton. By 1086, when the Domesday survey was carried out, Preston's importance had grown, and it had the status of a manor. A manor house—likely to have been a simple timber-framed structure—would have existed at this time, but no trace survives. The manor was held by the Episcopal See at Selsey, then by the Bishop of Chichester after the See transferred there in 1075. The Domesday survey calculated the manor's value to be £25, and recorded 12 ploughs (a team of eight oxen), a church, the manor house and a mill of unspecified type. A parish population of about 50 is suggested by the existence of 12 ploughs. The present St Peter's Church, built in the mid-13th century, stands on the site of two earlier churches


Although the manor belonged to the Bishopric of Chichester, it would have been administered on their behalf by a steward or bailiff. By 1510 the bishops had given up on farming and began renting out their lands. The first tenant at Preston was Edward Elrington and his wife Beatrix Shirley. Edward died in 1515 (his tomb is in St Peter's Church)and his family, including his son Richard, stayed at Preston to farm sheep. The present manor house has its origins in a simple mid-13th century stone-built building with two rooms of unequal size. Remnants of this house, which has been dated to 1250, survive in the basement. It faced north and measured 50 by 25 feet . The stone walls were 2 feet thick. The main hall was on the right-hand (western) side; it measured 27 by 21 feet and was raised slightly above the steeply sloping ground to provide space for a cellar underneath. The second room, on the left-hand (eastern) side, measured 18 by 21 feet. Both rooms had a centrally oriented chimney-stack on the south (rear) side, rising from fireplaces in the rooms to the roof. Only the general layout of these rooms can now be made out; parts of two original arched doorways between the two medieval rooms, and a chamfered arched opening, are the only other 13th-century features.


After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the Crown took possession of the manor and the Elrington family became tenants of the Crown. The transfer was completed in 1561, at which time the property was valued at £38.12s.4d. When he died with no sons in 1569, Richard Elrington left his property to his widow, who in turn left it to her son by her previous marriage to William Shirley, named Anthony. He married several years later and eventually had twelve children. Anthony's wife pre-deceased him by one year, and when he died in 1624 the manor passed to their son Thomas. In 1628 he bought the reversion of the lease of the manor from the Crown and became the first Lord of the Manor. It was either Anthony or his son Thomas who undertook the first significant structural changes to the manor house during the 1600s. Elaborate (but "clumsily executed") moulded entrance doors were added in the east and west walls; designed in the Classical style, with flanking pilasters, architraves and cornices with a frieze. These survive, although not in their original condition. An extension may have been built during the time the manor was in the Shirley family: the lower part of the staircase (most of which dates from 1738) terminates at a first-floor landing and may date from about 1685. East of the staircase, there is a late 17th-century marble chimney-breast. The walled garden was also established at this time.


Thomas also named his eldest son Thomas, and in 1654 this Thomas's son, named Anthony inherited the estate. Sir Anthony Shirley, 1st Baronet Shirley of Preston, was involved in public life as a Member of Parliament for Arundel (1654), Sussex (1656) and Steyning (1660). In April 1658 an enquiry was held at Preston Manor by Oliver Cromwell's Council of State concerning a Royalist plot in Sussex. After serving the Commonwealth, Anthony somehow gained the favour of King Charles II and became a baronet in 1666. He was succeeded by his son Sir Richard, 2nd Baronet Shirley of Preston, in 1683, and when Richard died the property passed to his son, also named Richard, 3rd Baronet Shirley of Preston. Richard Shirley died unmarried in 1705 and Preston Manor was inherited jointly by his three sisters named Anne, Mary and Judith. Anne married Robert Western in 1698 and Mary married Robert's nephew Thomas Western in 1712. Judith died unmarried in 1711 and her share was split between the two surviving sisters. Thomas Western then purchased Anne's portion for £6,275 the following year. By the early 18th century, therefore, the Western family were in possession of the manor. Thomas Western had estates in Essex and came from a mercantile family. When he died in 1733 he was succeeded by his son, also called Thomas. Under this Thomas Western's oversight, Preston Manor was rebuilt around the core of the 13th-century building and was given a new interior. He may have designed the additions and alterations himself: a foundation stone in the basement is carved with the date 1738 and the name "Thos. Western". He gave the building a symmetrical five-bay Palladian/Georgian-style façade across its full 50-foot width. This had five entrances (of which the centre one formed a porch leading to an entrance hall), but the unequal width of the two medieval rooms inside meant the interior layout would not match the symmetry of the exterior. The lopsided appearance (unusual for this era and the chosen architectural style) was perpetuated when Western added unequally sized western and eastern wings, in the style of pavilions, containing a dining room and library respectively.


When Thomas died, the succession then passed jointly to two of his sons, Charles Western and Reverend Thomas Walsingham Western. Thomas exchanged his estates for lands in Essex, while in 1766 Charles married Frances, daughter of a colonial agent in the American colonies. Their married life was short as during a phaeton ride, the horse stumbled and her husband was killed. Their eldest son, also named Charles, was saved when Frances threw him from the phaeton into the safety of a bush. Soon after her husbands death, Frances took their children to Essex and never returned to Preston Manor. In 1794, Preston Manor which included about 1,000 acres of land was sold to a tenant William Stanford for £17,600 ending the long association of Preston with the Western family. William Stanford came from an established farming family near Horsham in West Sussex. When he bought Preston Manor it included the house, farm and surrounding lands in Brighton and Hove. He was already a wealthy man. Around this time, the interior was redecorated in the Adam style, and a columned screen was added in the entrance hall. William married Elizabeth Avery, and they had two children, both of whom died in 1790. Their mother died the following year. In 1802, he took another wife, Mary Tourle of Lewes, and had seven children with her. He sold his farm produce in the growing town of Brighton and was awarded a contract by the Town Commissioners to clear night-soil (sewage) from the streets and cesspools. In 1808, he became High Sheriff of Sussex. When he died in 1841, he was considered to be one of the richest private individuals in the county. His eldest son, William Stanford the younger, inherited Preston and continued the life of a rich country farmer. In 1842, he married Eleanor Montague Morris, the daughter of a London solicitor. Their first child, a son, died aged only five months. A daughter, named Ellen, was born in 1848. William died in 1853 and Ellen became the heir to the Stanford Estate.


The following year Eleanor married Captain George Varnham Macdonald, and the couple went on to have three daughters, Flora (born 1857) and later twins Diana and Christiana, known as Lily (born 1866). Ellen was educated at Miss Russell's private school in Montpelier Road, Brighton and after graduating spent two social seasons in London. In October 1867, she married Vere Fane Benett-Stanford (1840-1894) of Pythouse near Tisbury, Wiltshire in a ceremony at St Peter's Church, after which a wedding breakfast for forty guests was held at Preston Manor. After the marriage, under the terms of William Stanford's will, Vere took the Stanford surname. Vere and Ellen spent their married life at Pythouse or their London townhouse in South Kensington. Vere and Ellen had one child, a son named John Montague Benett-Stanford (born 1870). After an unspectacular academic career, he left Eton at sixteen for an apprenticeship on the railways and then joined the army. In later life, he gained a reputation for erratic and eccentric behaviour, and had a very difficult relationship with his mother. The Stanford family's influence grew in the nineteenth century as they acquired more land in strategically important places around Brighton and Hove: they were able to control the two towns' expansion by choosing when to sell land and stipulating how it would be developed. The rapid expansion of Brighton in the early nineteenth century made for high income from rents and William Stanford the elder made a steady income from the collection of fees for surrendering his feudal rights over building land on the Adelaide and Brunswick estates. When the railway lines crossed the Stanford estate he received £30,000 compensation for the loss of his land and the spoiling of the westerly view from Preston Manor.


William Stanford the younger's complicated will prevented the selling of freehold building land but a subsequent Act of Parliament, the 1871 Stanford Estate Act, allowed Ellen to grant building agreements with the option to purchase the freehold within seven years at a price equivalent to the ground rent for twenty-five years, clearing the way for the transformation of the Stanford estate from agricultural lands to building sites. To offset the sale of land in Brighton, the Stanford estate trustees acquired freeholds in Wiltshire, Sussex, Middlesex and Croydon and leaseholds in London. In 1891 Vere and Ellen persuaded the trustees of the Stanford Estate to purchase his family's estates at Pythouse and Norton Bavant in Wiltshire. The profit made from this transaction enabled Vere and Ellen to purchase a yacht and a property on the island of Madeira called Quinta Vigia, where they began spending the winter months for the sake of Vere's health. He died there in 1894. The widowed Ellen Benett-Stanford divided her time between London, Wiltshire, Brighton and Madeira. In 1896 in Madeira she met Charles Thomas, a bachelor who had been fortune seeking in the mines of South Africa and Rhodesia, and they married the following year. Charles took the Stanford name and arms, and the couple went to live at Pythouse. They travelled extensively and took summer holidays to Charles's house in Norway, a base for his fishing trips, and winter visits to a new holiday home in Madeira which they purchased in 1902 and renamed Quinta Stanford. Charles pursued his interests in history and archaeology and published several books. Meanwhile, Ellen's son John was in Africa hunting big game, serving with the Tirah field force and working as a freelance war correspondent. He was one of the earliest newsreel photographers and was wounded while filming during the Boer War. He had married Evelyn Hume in 1893, and they had two children: Vere (born 1894) and Patience (born 1899, d.1904).


Ellen's mother, Eleanor, died in 1903 and by 1905 Ellen and Charles had decided to make Preston Manor their main residence. Charles Stanley Peach, a friend of the Stanfords, was commissioned in 1905 to make substantial alterations to the house and grounds. He built a verandah to the right of the entrance, built an extension containing a new dining room and rooms for visitors and servants to the west, built a porch on the rear (south) elevation, and added lavishly decorated corridors on the northeast and northwest sides. Alterations were made to the basement servants' rooms and new attic rooms were added. The entrance hall was also widened. About five years later, a verandah was added to the left of the entrance to match the original on the right. The 1905 alterations provided more space for entertaining in style, which became particularly important as Charles became involved in local politics. In 1910 he was elected Mayor of Brighton, a position he held until 1913, and Preston became the setting for a series of high-profile social and civic events. In 1914 Charles was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament, a position he held until 1922. During the First World War Ellen and Charles were involved in the organising of gifts for Indian soldiers being treated in military hospitals in Brighton, and Ellen was busy writing letters of condolence to all Sussex families who had lost someone serving in the conflict. Her much-loved grandson Vere was serving in field artillery units on the Western Front, where his promotion was rapid. Despite several hospitalisations he remained in the army after the war but was finally diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1920 and sent to a sanitorium in Switzerland. In January 1922 he returned to England where he died at Pythouse a few months later. As early as 1918 Ellen was thinking of selling Preston Manor to Brighton Corporation; years of feuding with her son had left a legacy of bitterness. Charles and Ellen were probably influenced by their friend Henry Roberts, Director of the Royal Pavilion, but they also feared that if John did inherit he would demolish the house or turn it into a girls' school. In 1925 Charles bought Preston Manor from his wife's trustees and made provision in his will that, subject to the respective life interests of himself and Ellen, Preston Manor and four acres of adjoining land should pass to Brighton Corporation by deed of gift on the condition that it be preserved in its historic condition and be used as a museum with exhibits relevant to Brighton and Sussex.


Tactile tours of the house can be booked for groups of visually impaired visitors and sign language interpreted group tours can be booked for the hard of hearing. All group tours must be booked in advance. Disabled visitors receive discounts on admission prices and companions can enter free. Floors on the ground and first floor are wood, with some rugs, and the basement has stone or brick flooring. Where there are slight level changes in flooring in the basement these are clearly indicated. Seating is available for visitors around the building. There is a video presentation about Preston Manor and the Stanford family that lived there. Interpretation boards are placed around the building and are in clear font. There are audio description listening posts positioned around the building, giving descriptions of life at the Manor. There are tactile exhibits in some areas, particularly in the basement. There are stairs to the first floor with 11+4+9 steps with handrails, and doorways are 90cm wide. There are a further 4 steps (with handrails) down to the servants area with risers up to 24cm high. There are 20 steps (with handrails) up to the second floor attic rooms. There is a lift between the basement and the ground floor. Assistance dogs are welcome. Public toilets accessible for ambulant disabled are located on the ground floor and are well lit. The accessible toilet is located in the basement.


Location : Brighton Fishing Museum, 201 King's Rd, Brighton BN1 1NB

Location : Brighton Toy and Model Museum, 52-55 Trafalgar St, Brighton BN1 4EB

Location : Booth Museum of Natural History, 194 Dyke Road, Brighton BN1 5AA

Location : Brighton Museum, Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton BN1 1EE

Location : Hove Museum & Art Gallery, 19 New Church Road, Hove BN3 4AB

Location : Preston Manor, Preston Drove, Brighton BN1 6SD

Transport Booth Museum: Brighton (National Rail) then 20 minutes or bus. Bus Routes : 14, 14C and 27 stop close by.

Transport Brighton Museum: Brighton (National Rail) then 15 minutes or bus. Pool Valley Coach Station (National) 5 minutes. Bus Routes : All local bus routes stop nearby.

Transport Hove Museum: Hove (National Rail) then 18 minutes or bus. Bus Routes : 1, 1A, 6, 49 and 49A stop close by.

Transport Booth Museum: Brighton (National Rail) then 20 minutes or bus. Bus Routes : 14, 14C and 27 stop close by.

Transport Preston Manor: Preston Park (National Rail) then 10 minutes. Bus Routes : 5, 5A, 17, 40, 40X and 273 stop close by.

Opening Times Fishing Museum: Daily 10:00 to 17:00

Opening Times Toy Museum : Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 17:00;  Saturday opens 11:00

Opening Times Booth Museum: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00;  Sundays 14:00 to 17:00

Opening Times Brighton Museum: Tuesday to Sunday + Bank Holidays 10:00 to 17:00

Opening Times Hove Museum : Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00;  Sundays 14:00 to 17:00

Opening Times Preston Manor: April to September - Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 to 17:00;  Sundays 14:00 to 17:00

Fishing Museum Tickets : Free

Tickets Toy Museum : Adults £6.50;  Concessions $5.50;  Children/Students £4.00.

Booth Museum Tickets : Free

Brighton Museum Tickets : Adults £5.20;  Concessions $4.20;  Children £3.00.

Hove Museum Tickets : Free

Preston Manor Tickets : Adults £6.60;  Concessions $5.50;  Children £3.50.

Tel. : 0300 029 0900