Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Phoebe Hessel - Brighton's most successful cross dresser?

Has anyone heard of Phoebe Hessel?

I hadn't until the peeps at Tourist Tracks pointed her out and i'm so glad they did.

Phoebe was little known outside Brighton but is a virtual legend within the city (well apart from with me clearly).

Brighton's most successful cross dresser?

This remarkable woman lived to be a whopping 108 and it's quite possible she was city's most successful cross dresser (and that's saying something!)

Phoebe's cross dressing tale started when she fell in love with a soldier called William Golding. Golding was posted to the West Indies in 1728 and Phoebe, unable to bear not being near him, took it upon herself to enlist in the forces too.

Wounded in service, she nevertheless managed to conceal her womanliness until Golding was wounded himself and sent home. Amazingly, she had remained in the Army for a whole 17 years!
All was not in vain though, as Phoebe later married Golding and was his wife for 20 years.

Phoebe moves to Brighton and becomes a Hessel

After his death, Phoebe moved to Brighton and married fisherman William Hessel. Phoebe’s incredible life continued here, where she worked selling fish from a cart in and around Brighton, until she died at the impressive age of 108...

It was stated that Phoebe also gave evidence that was instrumental in securing the conviction and execution of highwayman James Rooke.

Phoebe in old age

In old age, Phoebe sold items, such as oranges and gingerbread, on a street corner near Brighton's Royal Pavilion. She became a celebrity in Brighton, due to her great age and unusual life experience. Later forced into the workhouse, she was granted a pension of half a guinea a week by the roguish Prince Regent in 1808.

After a long and eventfu life, Phoebe died in 1821. She is buried in the graveyard of St Nicholas Church in Brighton.

What a lovely story. Right, well I'm off to buy a suit from Burtons - it could put years on my life expectancy.


Monday, 13 September 2010

The Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2010

This blog post could easily have been titled blowing our own trumpets but that wouldn't have sounded quite so official.

Anyway to get to the point we have been shortlisted for the Destination Marketing Award in the Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2010 so hooray for us :)

Although we were not the only Brighton company to be shortlisted so we would also like to congratulate:
The last three were all shortlisted for the Sport Tourism Award. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 21st October so we'll all have to keep our fingers crossed until then.

Finally while we are on the subject of awards I would also like to congratulate the British Study Centres School of English as they have just been voted the top English Language School in Western Europe!


Friday, 3 September 2010

Three cheers for the fabulous staff at the Brighton Visitor Information Centre!

While people are often very quick to complain if they receive bad customer service (myself included!) it is always refreshing when someone takes the time to share their gratitude at having received good customer service. And while I know that the team in our Visitor Information Centre do a fantastic job, it was good to see the following recognition in a letter from one of our visitors:

"I find that your service in Brighton is quite superb, in this day and age it is so nice to find terrific customer service. You are a breath of fresh air."

So the next time you are planning a visit to Brighton, or once you've arrived, make sure you say hello and enjoy the 'terrific customer service' provided by our Visitor Information Centre staff.

I almost signed off without doing the three cheers, that was close!
Hip-hip hooray! Hip-hip hooray! Hip-hip hooray!