THE HOME OF
From a derelict food market to a marketplace for new ideas,
Circus Street comes to life once more as the home for
Dynamic workspace, cafès, open space and Brighton’s only
dedicated dance space, this is a place to come and experience
Brighton at its most weird, wonderful, vibrant and alive.
BACK TO LIFE AND
BRIGHTER THAN EVER
Semi-derelict since 2005, the former municipal fruit and
veg market building sprang back into life in 2013, becoming
an expansive events space, hosting over 100,000 people
across 90 different events, from Anish Kapoor at Brighton
festival, to the University of Brighton graduates show.
Behind this whole process was real and tangible community
engagement, without which none of our work would
have been possible.
First an amphitheatre & riding school, to a ‘beautiful
and splendid cabinet of the arts’, to a thriving municipal
market, Circus Street has been at the beating heart of
Brighton for over 200 years.
A terrier map of the city from 1792, the farmland sub-divided into smaller fields called furlongs, and each furlong subdivided into long narrow strips of land called paul pieces, separated by wide paths called leak ways. All determining the street pattern that still exists in much of Brighton today.
The Royal Circus, Amphitheatre & Riding School – opened in August 1808 – brought together military horsemanship and equestrian trick-riding with acrobatic acts and pantomime – an early form of ‘circus’ which later became the ‘big top’ travelling circus we know today.
The Royal Circus building became the Brighton Picture Gallery – a ‘beautiful and splendid cabinet of the arts’, as one source described it, and a fashionable meeting place.
Within the Light & Co. Munitions Works on Circus Street, women worked throughout the First World War providing armaments to the frontlines. In one song written, they sang “We are working on munitions, Making cases for the war, And often they’re so very hard, They make our fingers sore.” The proceeds from the song went to looking after wounded soldiers.
“Even by as early as the 1880s it was recognised that the narrow, terraced streets and back-to-back houses that characterised much of the land north of Edward Street were unfit for habitation,” states a report by the Carlton Hill Conservation Area. Early slum clearance in that decade resulted in the construction of White Street and Blaker Street just off Carlton Hill.
The former Yacht and Anchor pub, on the corner of Circus Street and Morley Street, demolished in 1933 to make way for a new Municipal Market, which opened in 1936.
The Municipal Market, which supplied wholesale fruit, veg and flowers to Brighton & Hove and the surrounding county for the best part of seven decades, was opened in January 1937.