The Banqueting Room

George IV held lavish dinner parties in this room. Meals would take several hours, sometimes with as many as 70 different dishes!

Illustrative depiction of a banquet in Brighton's Royal Pavilion circa 1826

© Royal Pavilion & Museums, Banqueting Room, 1826

These banquets were about showing off as well as eating. George’s guests ate and drank beneath the fearsome dragon which holds up the main chandelier. The dragon is almost nine meters long, and weighs a ton.

Brighton's Royal Pavilion banqueting room photographed full of hospital beds in WW1

© Royal Pavilion & Museums, Banqueting Room Ward, 1916

When used as a hospital, this became a ward, with four rows of beds running the length of the room.

The patients of the Indian Hospital were not treated to extravagant banquets, but great care was taken in the preparation of their food. Meals were prepared for Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus by cooks of the same religion. The wards were shared by men of different faiths, so the staff used special diet sheets to ensure patients received the correct food.

Sikh men in the Royal Pavilion hospital kitchen during WW1

© Royal Pavilion & Museums, Indian Hospital Kitchen, 1915

The patients of the Limbless Hospital felt that less care was taken over their meals. So many complaints were made that the Member of Parliament for Brighton even raised the issue in the House of Commons.