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St Stephen's Church, Brighton

St Stephen's Church, Brighton

Brighton, United Kingdom


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Beschreibung St Stephen's Church is a former Anglican church in the Montpelier area of Brighton, part of the English city of Brighton and Hove. The building, which dates from 1766 in its original incarnation as the ballroom of Brighton's most fashionable Georgian-era inn, has been used for many purposes since then, and now stands 1mi away from where it was built. It spent less than 90 years as an Anglican church, and is now used as a centre for homeless people. In view of its architectural and historical importance, it has been listed at Grade II* by English Heritage.HistoryBrighton began to develop as a spa town and seaside resort in the mid-18th century, encouraged by local doctor Richard Russell's influential advocacy of the therapeutic use of seawater, by drinking it and bathing in it. These activities became fashionable among high society and rich people, which gave the declining fishing village a surge of popularity in the 1750s.The Steine (now Old Steine), an area of flat, grassy, sheltered land behind the seafront, developed as the growing town's promenade, where visitors would walk and socialise. The surrounding area soon became built up, and in 1752 innkeeper Samuel Shergold bought a recently built house on the southwest side of The Steine and converted it into a tavern with assembly rooms. The venue, called the Castle Inn or Castle Tavern, became increasingly popular, and in 1766 John Crunden designed an extension on the north side of the inn. This housed a 450-capacity, 80x ballroom. For the next half-century it was one of the most popular social venues in the town, rivalled only by the Old Ship Inn and assembly rooms (whose owner cooperated with Shergold to provide a regular programme of alternating social events). Contemporary accounts described the Castle Inn's ballroom and assembly rooms as some of the best and most architecturally impressive in England.

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