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Is Brighton a city?

Blog about Brighton – As a Brighton based company we love the city we all live and work in – so we have decided to put together a series of features in response to some of the questions we are most frequently asked.

So first up. ‘Is Brighton a city?’

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Yes it is – Brighton & Hove ‘joined to become the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove, which was granted city status by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the millennium celebrations in 2000.’ City status was also issued to Inverness and Wolverhampton as part of the millennium celebrations. Towns that were not selected included Blackburn, Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Chelmsford, Colchester, Croydon, Doncaster, Dover, Greenwich, Guildford, Ipswich, Luton, Maidstone, Med, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Reading, Shrewsbury and Atcham, Southend-on-Sea, Stockport, Swindon, Telford, Warrington and Wirral.

All the UK towns that applied for city status were told that three main factors would be taken into account

  • Notable features,
  • Historical and Royal features and
  • Forward looking attitude.





In 2012, to celebrate the Queens diamond jubilee three new cities were selected Chelmsford, St Asaph and Perth.

To become a city, UK legislation states that ‘city status has to be granted by the monarch’ in 2014 there were 69 cities in the United Kingdom with 51 of those in England. There would have been 70 but Rochester a Cathedral city since 1211 became a town in 1998 when it didn’t confirm its status following local government legislation.

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The population of Brighton and Hove

The population of Brighton and Hove was estimated by the Corporate Policy and Research Team at Brighton and Hove city council (“http://www.bhconnected.org.uk/sites/bhconnected”) in 2012 to be around 275,800 with ‘further growth projections of 5.1% by 2021.

The best population estimate we have been able to source for 2014 put the current population at around 281,036 (excluding the armed forces) of whom around 140,894 are men and the largest age group of around 32,000  is the 20 to 24 year olds, perhaps reflecting the large population of students at Brighton’s two Universities, The University of Sussex and Brighton University.

In terms of overall population – the 2011 census shows Brighton as being the 24th largest city by population the smallest city in terms of population and size goes to St Davids Peninsula in Wales with a population of 2000.




Brighton & Hove also joined four other cities in the UK to be awarded ‘Sustainable food city status’  in 2014 recognising pioneering work promoting healthy and sustainable food. Food growing has been written into the city’s planning guidelines for new residential developments and it requires all Council food procurement to meet minimum sustainability requirements.

So we know that Brighton is a City but there are lots of reasons why it is also ‘Probably the best city in the UK’. Alice Wright wrote a feature for the Metro in March 2015 titled ‘Sorry Bristol, Brighton is probably the best city in the world’. Alice is a Brighton resident and Blogger, her blog started as a regular feature in The Argus. Anyhow back to the feature. Alice cites 10 reasons why she thought that the City of Brighton & Hove should actually have been voted the ‘Best city in the UK to live’. She says (with a bit of artistic licence on our part).

  1. You’ll always have friends – people can’t resist a visit to the seaside and if you live here you will form part of the summer ‘run down to Brighton’.
  2. Brighton couple Andrew Whale and Neil Allard were selected to be the first gay couple to get married in Britain at 1 minute past midnight on 29 March 2014. They were chosen because of their ‘real fondness’ for the city. http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/16/gay-couples-joy-at-being-first-to-marry-4306765/

  3. The constituency of Brighton Pavilion in the City of Brighton and Hove also had the first green MP Caroline Lucas elected in 2010. She was re-elected in 2015 with 22,871 votes. She is still the UK’s only Green Party MP.
  4. Another of the city of Brighton’s claims to fame is that the Duke of York’s cinema is the ‘oldest working cinema in the UK. In 2012 it was also voted as being the best cinema in the UK. The cinema was opened in 1910 on the site of the Amber Ale Brewery. You can check out the Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duke_of_York%27s_Picture_House,_Brighton
  5. Alice says ‘It’s two cities really’ ‘Big Brash beautiful Brighton and the slightly more serene little sister Hove.’



  6. Brighton has legendary shops too. Not just the usual Mall and chain stores but also an abundance of quirky, delightful, independent retailers that are a delight to tourists and residents alike.
  7. Brighton has the first blue plaque dedicated to self-proclaimed witch Doreen Valiente. The plaque can be seen on the tower block in Tyson Place where she used to live.
  8. It’s all about the culture. What is a city if it does not have a festival (or two, or three, or four). Brighton has the biggest festival of arts in England and the Brighton Fringe is the second largest open access festival in the world.
  9. The City of Brighton and Hove has more restaurants and pubs per head than any other city in the UK outside of London. There are hundreds to check out and with the current trend for craft beers – you will be able to pick up a tipple that really suits your tastbuds.
  10. And no 10 on Alice’s list – Fish & Chips As a seaside destination Brighton is famed for it’s fish and chips and there are many places worth checking out. Bankers in Brighton was selected as one of the UK’s ‘best chippies’ http://metro.co.uk/2015/06/05/heres-where-to-find-the-best-chippies-in-the-uk-for-national-fish-chip-day-5232117/ on national fish and chip day – 5 June 2015

To read Alice’s article in full visit http://metro.co.uk/2014/03/25/sorry-bristol-brighton-is-probably-the-best-city-in-the-uk-4677619/

See some of Alice’s early Argus features here http://www.theargus.co.uk/opinion/blogs/alicewright/4724109.ALICE___S_PARTY__Help_yourself_to_a_little_cheesy_pineapple_one/

You can also read Alice’s blog here http://alicecantcook.com/

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So, we really are,  in the words of the song written by members of The Levellers for the 2006 Children’s parade a ‘City By The Sea’ (chorus below)

This is our city

By the sea, You and me and we’re singing our song

This is our city

By the sea, you and me it’s the place to belong

This is our city

By the sea, you and me are you singing along?

This is our city

Laughing in a – crying in a – growing in a

Playing in a – dancing in a – giving in a –

Living in a city by the sea




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