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Although more than 40 variations have been documented, Brighthelmstone (or Brighthelmston) was the standard rendering between the 14th and 18th centuries.Brighton was originally an informal shortened form, first seen in 1660; it gradually supplanted the longer name, and was in general use from the late 18th century.This article is about the city of Brighton in England.

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By 1708 other parishes in Sussex were charged rates to alleviate poverty in Brighton, and Daniel Defoe wrote that the expected £8,000 cost of providing sea defences was "more than the whole town was worth".

The population declined to 2,000 in the early 18th century.

The town was originally split in half by the Wellesbourne, a winterbourne which was culverted and buried in the 18th century.

Novelist William Makepeace Thackeray referred to "Doctor Brighton", calling the town "one of the best of Physicians".

The town also developed in popularity as a health resort for sea bathing as a purported cure for illnesses.

In the Georgian era, Brighton developed as a fashionable seaside resort, encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, who spent much time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion in the Regency era.

Prior to either of these structures, the famous Chain Pier was built, to the designs of Captain Samuel Brown.

It lasted from 1823 to 1896, and is featured in paintings by both Turner and Constable.

Growth of the town was further encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent (later King George IV) after his first visit in 1783.

Many of the major attractions were built during the Victorian era, such as the Grand Hotel (1864), the West Pier (1866), and the Palace Pier (1899).

For the unitary authority which encompasses Brighton, see Brighton and Hove. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods.

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