Welcome to the Regency Society photographic images website based on the James Gray collection
This website contains thousands of historic photographs of places in and around Brighton and Hove taken between the earliest days of photography and 1980.They are displayed on this site alongside photographs of the same sites taken between 2018 and 2022. The twenty first century photographs were taken by a team of volunteers. Almost 90% of the photographs in the James Gray collection are included in this site, and more will be added in due course. Some are impossible to replicate in the 21st century (for example the interiors of demolished buildings). So far, 4,880 new photographs have been added.
There is a separate website of the complete James Gray collection (www.regencysociety-jamesgray.com. ). This original website has become a favourite of many local historians and others with an interest in the built environment of Brighton and Hove. There is no intention to remove it. The purpose of this new website is to make browsing easy by providing a street index and map, and to draw attention to the twenty first century images of the places in the James Gray collection. In this way this unique collection is now accessible to a wider audience seeking to see what used to be alongside what is now.
The James Gray Collection is unusual. The vast majority of the photographs are of places where ordinary people lived and worked, away from the well known tourist sites. Some well known historic sites are not included at all. This collection is therefore of interest to people who live, work and care about the history of Brighton and Hove.
This website has been created by a large team of volunteers, most of whom took pictures and described what they saw. A small team worked behind the scenes to check accuracy of the images and facts and put the website together. Many local people have devoted countless hours to this project.
Images above show the earliest photograph in the collection and the earliest known image of the Royal Pavilion, believed to be taken by WH Fox Talbot in 1845, with a 2021 equivalent taken by Ron Fitton, and a 1870 image of the West Pier with a 2020 version by David Sears. (click to enlarge)