In 1854 Brighton underwent a very important change, hy the introduction of municipal government in the incorporation of the town. Many ineffectual attempts to secure the same had been previously made, as we find it recorded that, in 1806, the desirability of adopting the Act was considered, at a numerously attended public meeting presided over by the Vicar, the Rev. Robert James Carr (afterwards Bishop of Chichester). After a debate of several hours it was resolved that "It is inexpedient to introduce that form of Government." From that period until the year 1852 the subject of incorporation remained in abeyance, but this year many residents, thinking that the amended Incorporation Act of 1835 was well adapted for the requirements of the town, inasmuch as its adoption would place Brighton on a footing with other large cities and towns in the kingdom, with the advantage also that its Chief Magistrate would be at the head of town affairs, again agitated for "the Charter," but met with a refusal from the Privy Council. On a change of ministry the application was renewed and the Charter of Incorporation granted on the 19th of January, 1854, it being received in Brighton on the 3rd of April following. The number to constitute the Council to be 48; the borough was divided into six wards, the number of members elected to the same by the Burgesses at the first election being 36. After this election of the Councillors, the latter proceeded to the election from their body of the Mayor, also two Aldermen to represent each Ward. The Burgesses of each Ward were then called upon for the election of two more representatives to fill the vacancies caused by such elevation; and on the election of twelve other Councillors the municipality was erected.
It will occasion no surprise when it is stated that a contest of this nature, involving a thorough change in the administration of the affairs of the town, created the greatest excitement. Antagonistic Committees were