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Regency Society Image Collections

The Regency Society provides access for the public to two unique digital collections of historic images of Brighton and Hove.

The James Gray Collection

Visit the James Gray Collection

James Gray spent his working life in insurance but his real passion was for the streets of Brighton and Hove.

His vast collection of topographical pictures began in the 1950s with the chance acquisition of a few images showing the Western Road. From then on, he bought, swapped and commissioned a huge range of views of the city and beyond.

After his death in 1998, the Regency Society was lucky to buy the collection, which offers a unique photographic record and provides invaluable insight into the way our city has looked during the second half of the 19th and much of the twentieth century.

The new website based on the collection was launched in December 2022. As well as the original images, it includes corresponding photographs of the same scenes and new information as well as James Gray's own original captions. The link is above.

You can still visit the 39 volumes of the James Gray Collection, containing around 7,500 annotated photographs arranged by area, in the original version of the website. 

The Regency Society Brighton Prints Collection

The Society of Brighton Print Collectors has made available an extensive collection of prints of the Brighton and Hove area produced from the late eighteenth century onwards. You can visit this site, which was launched in November 2017, here.

The new website for the James Gray Collection

A project launched in November 2017 to create a new website for the James Gray Collection is mostly completed—but not quite. Read more and get involved.


Top: Brighton seen from the Chain Pier. Steel engraving 1845. Reproduced courtesy of the Society of Brighton Print Collectors