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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, as the entire complex was built for the Prince Regent (later George IV) and completed in 1805. Originally the Concert Hall was the Prince Regent's stables with the Corn Exchange being a riding school.
William Porden designed the new stables and riding school for the Prince. Inspired by water colour pictures of India, he created a building in the Indo-Saracenic style with a vast glass dome (24 metres (79 ft) in diameter and 19 metres high) covering the main hall. Many pessimists[who?] predicted that this daring construction would collapse once the scaffolding was removed. The stables were converted to a concert hall around 1860. Since that time, the Corn Exchange and Concert Hall have gone through many different guises with the latest renovation of the Concert Hall taking place in 2001–02 and costing £22 million. 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.
It also used to contain a large glass gas-powered chandelier which was broken down in the 1930s. It is rumoured[by whom?] that each builder took a part of the chandelier home as a souvenir but nobody has ever owned up to owning a piece.
In the first world war the Dome as well as the Pavilion was used to house injured Indian soldiers. It was thought that they would feel more at home in the Indian surroundings. It staged the Eurovision Song Contest on 6 April 1974, when ABBA won for Sweden with "Waterloo".
The venue now plays host to a varied programme of events, with concerts from every musical style – serious plays and family theatre, ballet and contemporary dance, comedy – and it is also available for private conferences.
The Dome Organ
One of the Dome's most famous features is its pipe organ. The first pipe organ in the Dome's Concert Hall was built in 1870 by the famous London firm of Henry Willis & Sons to a specification of forty-four stops spread over four manuals and pedals. This instrument was removed in 1935 for the great rebuilding of the theatre and was never returned, but broken up for parts. The present instrument which replaced it in 1935 was built by the firm of Hill, Norman and Beard. This organ has four manuals and one hundred and seventy-eight stops obtained by extension and borrowing of numerous ranks, plus numerous percussion effects. It has recently[when?] been restored by David Wells of Liverpool and a "floating" String Organ added from the organ at Glyndebourne, which had been broken up.