The Brighton Dome is an arts venue in Brighton, England, that contains the Concert Hall, the Corn Exchange and the Studio Theatre (formerly the Pavilion Theatre). All three venues are linked to the rest of the Royal Pavilion Estate by an underground tunnel to the Royal Pavilion in Pavilion Gardens and through shared corridors to Brighton Museum.
The Concert Hall was the Prince Regent's stables and held 44 horses in a circular stable arrangement with space for the groomsmen on the balcony level above. The stables were based on the Halle au Ble (Corn Market) in Paris which had been built in 1782. The central cupola, 80 feet (24 m) in diameter and 65 feet (20 m) in height, gave the building later its name The Dome. In the centre of the room was a large lotus-shaped fountain which was used to water the horses. The stables were built in an Indo-Saracenic style with a vast glass dome covering the room. It was a very ambitious piece of construction at the time and many people thought the glass roof would fall in once the scaffolding was removed. The stables were occupied by 1806 and the exterior finished in 1808.
In 1850 Queen Victoria, who had inherited the estate, sold the Royal Pavilion Estate to the town for £50,000 (some people quote £53,000 but the price was reduced because of the removal of the Chapel Royal from the sale) and a number of different uses were proposed for the Concert Hall site. These included, but were not limited to, a law court and a swimming baths. The vote to turn the Concert Hall into an assembly rooms was passed by a very small majority. In 1866 plans were approved by the Pavilion Committee and work began to the Moorish designs of Philip Lockwood. The designs were very different to the interior seen today and featured richly coloured paintings, stained glass windows and a large gas powered chandelier formed the centerpiece to the room. Measuring 31.6 feet (9.6 m) in height and 14 feet (4.3 m) in diameter, it had over 520 gas-powered jets. The main chandelier was accompanied by eight smaller ones which hung under the balcony around the room. However, with over 520 gas jets the chandelier was very expensive to light and in 1886 the chandelier was using electricity installed by Magnus Volk alongside gas. In 1888 the central chandelier was taken down, thought because of the expensive running costs; however customers reported the room was now too dim and so parts of the chandelier were rehung.
In 1900 the chandelier was rehung in the Concert Hall as it was thought to strengthen the roof but its return was short-lived. In 1934 the Dome was refurbished yet again to the art deco designs of Robert Atkinson. The chandeliers did not complement his design and the lowered ceiling would not have accommodated the vast chandelier and so the chandeliers came down for the last time.
The Concert Hall was to undergo yet another transformation and in 1934 work began to the designs of Robert Atkinson. Atkinson had designed a number of iconic buildings including the Regent Cinema and the Daily Express Building in London. The glazing on the roof was replaced, the Concert Hall interior was completely removed and replaced with an art deco style complete with walnut paneling and new entrances were introduced. It was at this time that the present day Dome Organ was installed.
In 2002 the Dome was reopened by Princess Anne after undergoing a transformation to bring the facilities up to modern standards. These included but were not limited to a state-of-the-art acoustic system in the Concert Hall, new and improved seating, stage lifts and improved foyer facilities. This renovation cost £22 million and this rebirth was ushered in with the help of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Courtney Pine, Nigel Kennedy and Fatboy Slim (amongst others).
It is one of the few buildings to have both internal and external listings, both for its Indian-style exterior and for its 1930s Art Deco interior.