History and Geography: Year 4 Visit Brighton Pavilion
“It looks amazing – look at the onion domes!”
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton never ceases to amaze with its incredible Indo-Saracenic beauty and stunning architectural style. A building with the power to transport visitors out of the country just by looking, I often wonder if this exotic impression was what King George IV was aiming for when he constructed this seaside retreat-cum-landmark.
In a continuation of this term’s India studies, Year 4 and I started our visit with a brilliant workshop in the Brighton Museum (formerly King George IV’s stable block) during which the children learnt about what happens at a Hindu wedding including how the ceremony can last for several days and contain activities such as decorating womens’ hands and feet with intricate henna designs.
The children were also able to look, touch and draw various pots and pans from the cooking table, including a water-carrying vessel made from camel skin!
Possibly the most exciting activity was the ‘dressing up’ session where the children were able to don Indian clothes from head-to-toe, including saris, salwar kameez and lehenga choli for the girls and dhoti, sherwani and jama for the boys.
By the end of the session the children had developed quite a talent for tying turbans and walking in saris without falling over – an achievement in its own right!
After the workshop, we all walked across the lovely gardens to the Brighton Pavilion where we were met by Karen, our thoughtful and extremely informative tour guide.
Decorated throughout with wonderful paint effects and hand-painted wallpaper, we started our tour of the Pavilion in the long gallery, its striking decor having been heavily influenced by Chinese architecture. This was followed by a visit to the amazing dragon decorated dining room which has been beautifully restored.
With the table laid for dessert, the gold and sparkling glasses caught the light and lit up the room, making for an unbelievably attractive panorama.
The children discovered that during the First World War the pavilion became a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers, which is why hospital beds currently line the dining room and beautiful music room.
One brilliant anecdote was that it was reported that when some Indian soldiers were brought unconscious to the Pavilion, they came to only to believe that they had died and gone to heaven!
We concluded our visit with one of the pupils remarking that “such an amazing palace would feel like heaven for any visitor in history” which felt particularly poignant.
In conclusion, we had a brilliant day out and a brilliant trip. If you have never visited this beautiful building then simply ask Year 4 about it. They are more or less ready to start giving guided tours!