Brief history: George, Prince of Wales, first came to Brighton in 1783. He came not for the air, the rock, the pier, nor the Mods and Rockers; he came for Maria Fitzherbert, an Irish widow famed for her beauty. Her Catholic faith meant that her marriage to the Prince had to be morganatic and secret, and so George, with the help of Henry Holland, began to build what he considered a private love nest - the Royal Pavilion Estate. In 1803, William Porden was comissioned to build stables. Inspired by the Corn Market in Paris, Porden covered the area with a canopy of huge glass segments, and so the Dome was born. The sumptuously housed horses had to downgrade in the First World War when the Dome was used as a military hospital for Indian soldiers. In the 1930s, it was converted by Robert Atkinson, into a modern concert hall The first concert, in 1933, was conducted by Sir Thomas Beecham.
The building: William Porden based his designs on watercolours of India at the beginning of the 19th century. The Dome's cream paintwork is the colour that would have been used at the time. The original glass, still intact, cannot be seen without going up into the roof void. Apart from the Dome, little of what was the stables now remains. For its period, the construction of the dome was considered quite daring and it was generally thought that the structure would not last.
Uses: conferences, concerts, comedy and kitsch. Recent appearances include Cliff Richard, who, we are told, is returning in June.
Landmark events: Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest here in 1974.
Current events: Brighton International Festival's classic music recitals, including the LPO, the Berlin Symphony and the RPO. All bookings on 01273 709709.
Recommended seats: centre stalls and centre balcony for the view. Side stalls and side balcony for economy.
Cost of a half bottle of wine: pounds 2.50 (they don't sell by the glass, apparently).
Where to meet: foyer bar or Church St bar, just outside.Reuse content