Brambletye Books

History of Brighthelmston

The first title to be published under our Brambletye Books imprint is John Ackerson Erredge's History of Brighthelmston.


First published in serial form in 1862, Erredge's History was the first comprehensive survey of Brighton. Drawing on town records and diverse earlier source materials, it is an engaging and lively account from the earliest times to the mid-nineteenth century.

This new edition includes an extensive index, which the original lacked, and a fascinating introduction, detailing the life of the author, his sources and audience, and situating this book in the context of other Brighton histories. It is a valuable work for anyone interested in Sussex local or family history.


John Erredge's History of Brighthelmston or Brighton as I View it and Others knew it is a typical classic of nineteenth century town history. Combining vivid personal accounts with narrative details derived from local records, antiquaries and other sources, the work remains an engaging read today.

Written by a man who lived all of his life in the town, the History opens a remarkable window onto early Victorian Brighton. The text ranges from the speculative early history of the settlement to accounts of the goings-on in fashionable society in the town's heyday. Including many familiar features of Brighton's past, such as Charles II's escape to France, the martyrdom of Derek Carver, the Pavilion, race course and the Chain Pier, Erredge's journalistic eye does not neglect the crime and charities, politics, trade and trains.

A new introduction by John Farrant provides valuable insights into the author's life and career, and the audience for whom he wrote. It also places Erredge's History in the context of its historical predecessors, describes the sources on which he drew, and outlines the key historical writings on Brighton's history since.

Filled with details, names and places, as well a chronology and chapters on the natural history of the town, this new edition of History of Brighthelmston also provides an index to the work for the first time, making its content much more accessible to the researcher, local historian or genealogist.

John Ackerson Erredge was born in Brighton to a fishing family, and worked as schoolmaster for many years in the town. The author of The student's hand-book of general information (1840), he turned entirely to journalism in the 1850s, writing for the Brighton Observer. He died in 1862 while his History was being published in monthly parts.

John Farrant has written extensively on the history of Sussex for 35 years - on harbours and shipping, on early modern Brighton, on buildings in their landscape, on travellers' descriptions, and on artists and their pictures. His main published work is Sussex depicted. Views and descriptions 1600-1800, Sussex Record Society 85 (2001). More recently he has contributed 16 articles to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004). He is a Vice-President of the Sussex Archaeological Society. After a career at the University of Sussex, he is now a consultant in higher education management.

History of Brighthelmston

History of Brighthelmston
Jacket design

Publication date: 14th September 2005

ISBN: 0-9521757-1-1

Extent: c. 440pp

Dimensions: 216x138mm

Jacketed HB

Price: £30

Series: Classics in English Local History 1