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The area takes its name from Thomas Read Kemp's Kemp Town residential estate of the early 19th Century, but the one-word name now refers to an area larger than the original development and is more correctly King's Cliff. Much of the housing is slightly later but still of the Regency style, although there is also Victorian architecture and some more modern buildings. Conversions of grand Regency buildings into flats and bars has provided Kemptown with some distinctively quirky properties; one club is housed within the former mausoleum of Edward Sassoon.
Location and surrounding areasEdit
Central Brighton is to the west of the area. Travelling inland (north) from Kemptown one finds Queen's Park above the western portion of Kemptown. Further to the east are the Bristol Estate, Craven Hill estate, and Whitehawk, sometimes collectively known as "East Brighton". Returning south to the seafront, Kemptown's easterly neighbours are Black Rock and then Roedean. Also within walking distance is Brighton Marina.
Community and facilitiesEdit
Historically known as an actors' and artists' quarter, it has a sizeable gay community and a network of attractive streets with esoteric shops, plenty of small hotels, and a good range of pubs. There is an annual one-day "Kemptown Carnival" during which the main thoroughfare of St. George's Road is closed, and market stalls, street performers, and musicians take over. There are often also processions as part of the carnival, and at other times of year. Kemptown's venues play their part in the annual Brighton Festival.
The Royal Sussex County Hospital is based in Kemptown.
There is a space available to the community in the crypt of St. George's Church, known as The Crypt, which was built with support from a European Union urban regeneration fund. Around the same time as The Crypt was proposed, a community development group known as The Kemptown Network was founded. The network has since been disbanded, but a humanitarian aid charitable organisation, which was one of its first projects, continues as Aid Convoy.
Kemptown gained a railway station in 1869. The line, featuring two viaducts and a tunnel, was built at great cost partly to block the route for other railways from London. The railway lost out to bus traffic (the route from Brighton was longer than the road journey) and was closed to passenger traffic in 1933, surviving for freight until the 1970s.
There remain a number of bus services through Kemptown, and the Volk's Electric Railway passes the area along the beach.