Skip to content

Brighton Dome Corn Exchange: restoration to celebrate

There is nothing more central to our heritage than the Royal Pavilion Estate. In the early years of our existence, the Regency Society fought hard and successfully for the then badly delapidated Royal Pavilion.

Too often we write with disappointment about new projects where quality architects have been replaced by cheaper alternatives once permission has been obtained, or of contractors who do not appreciate the care required when working with historic sites. It is, therefore, particularly heartening to report on a project supervised throughout by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and realised by R. Durtnell and Sons, a family business established since 1591 with a track record of delivering high profile heritage restoration projects.

This project is now at an advanced stage. Much twentieth century addition has  been stripped away and the original, simple magnificence of the widest span timber frame building in Britain, the Prince Regent's Riding School, is beginning to re-emerge. Gone and unmourned are the mirroring on the windows, the incongruous 'wagon wheel' hanging light, the painted roof, and much else. We have heritage to be proud of and it is good to see it cared for and made fit for purpose as a state of the art twenty-first century performance venue.

Much of the funding is already in place for this project but members are encouraged to consider making a contribution to help raise the final 10%. (see below).

The Brighton Dome and Festival team write:

'Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s transformational £21.2 million project to redevelop the Grade I Corn Exchange and Grade II listed Studio Theatre is well underway. These extraordinary venues were in urgent need of repair and renovation to continue welcoming artists and audiences. As well as preserving the unique heritage, visitors will enjoy more comfortable, accessible spaces with improved acoustics, lighting and seating. The wider project includes a new viewing gallery for visitors to observe creativity at work in the Corn Exchange, new bars, a café opening up onto New Road and a new creative space for artists and community groups.

After eighteen months on site and generous public and private support, over 90% of funding is in place towards the total project costs. Brighton Dome is now seeking support from audiences for their community campaign ‘Build Brighton Dome’, inviting individuals to make a donation or even Name a Seat in the redeveloped Corn Exchange. Build Brighton Dome has so far raised over £55,000 towards the total £250,000 needed. Thanks to The Roddick Foundation all donations, including seat donations, will be doubled so whatever people choose to give at this crucial time will mean even more.

Name a Seat

Honour the memory of someone special, share your love of music or surprise a loved one with a unique gift. In appreciation, your name - or a nominated name - will be inscribed on a seat plaque in the refurbished Corn Exchange for a minimum of twenty years. Seat donations start from £25 a month over 12 months. For more information please call 01273 260818 or email to request a form in the post.

Make a donation

All donations will make a difference. To donate online, please visit: or you can donate via text: Text BDFL18 £3 to 70070 (you can change the donation amount for anything up to £10).'

Images: Top: Detail of Corn Exchange window (looking down into the public Hall). Image by Carlotta Luke. Centre: Visualisation of the Corn Exchange cross section. Image by FCBS architects  Corn Exchange works in progress (view from the new balcony). Image by Carlotta Luke