Originally a riding school for the Prince of Wales, the Corn Exchange building formed the west wing of the Royal Stables and was completed by the Prince’s architect William Porden between 1803 and 1808. The interior measured 178 feet by 58 feet and 34 feet high. High on the eastern end of the building was the Royal Box.
Following the acquisition of the Royal Pavilion estate in 1850 the building was slowly converted over time to public use. In October 1868 the corn market was transferred here and held every Thursday. This is how the building acquired it’s name as the ‘Corn Exchange’. The gravel floor was replaced with a wooden floor in 1867. Parts of the building fronting on Church Street which were coach houses and stables were taken over in 1873 as a museum and in 1887 a public library was added. In 1901-1902 these buildings were enlarged and the frontage remodeled.
The building continued to house the Corn market until WWI when it was turned into a hospital ward for the Indian soldiers. After the war the Corn exchange was used for exhibition and function rooms. In 1934 the Royal Box was finally removed and some of the internal partitions removed to create a grand open space with it’s lovely arched ceiling fully visible. A new entrance to Church Street was also created featuring a statue of Ceres, the Greek goddess of corn in a recess over the entrance.
Today the Corn Exchange is a multi use public space as part of the Dome entertainment complex.
Clifford Musgrave, The Royal Pavilion (Royal Pavilion Committee, 1954), 18
Buildings with Royal Connections, My Brighton and Hove, www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk