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Brighton’s first claim to fame was in the 16th century, during which time it was a booming fishing village. With over 400 fishermen operating on over sixty boats, the area’s population grew to nearly 4000 people by the 17th century, making it the largest city in Sussex.
By the beginning of the 18th century however, the fishing industry began declining, which caused a large portion of the booming population to leave town. By 1740, those that remained in Brighton found life extremely difficult.
In the middle of the 18th century, the area had a resurgence of visitors. This was due to the fact that many members of the royal family believed that bathing in sea water was therapeutic. Because much of the British population followed the lead of the royal family, Brighton saw a large number of people visiting the city on medical holidays.By the early 19th century, Brighton became the most popular sea-side resort in the UK. Because transportation costs were fairly expensive during this time, the majority of visitors were the very wealthy. In September 1841, the first railway from London to Brighton was open for business, enabling more people to visit this beautiful city. At the beginning the trains were only used by the wealthy, but within a few years cheaper third class tickets made travel to Brighton an option for the middle class.
With hoards of people visiting Brighton by the late 1800s the population grew to over 90,000 residents, making it one of the fastest growing city in England of the times.