Brighton & Hove became a new unitary authority on 1 April 1997 and a new coat of arms was needed to represent the joining of Brighton and Hove.
The new Coat of Arms was approved by Royal Garter in April 1997, based on an amalgamation of the two Armorial Bearings of the former Hove and Brighton Borough Councils.
The blazon (description) of the Coat of Arms
The blazon of the Coat of Arms is described in heraldic terminology as:
Argent two Dolphins naiant and on a bordure Azure six Martlets Argent.
On a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Azure upon a Mount of Shingle Argent an Ancient Ship Azure oars and sail Argent a Banner flying from the masthead to the dexter Azure.
INTER UNDAS ET COLLES FLOREMUS - The motto translated from latin to English is “Between Downs and Sea We Flourish”.
Elements from the Brighton Borough Council Armorial Bearings (issued by the College of Heralds 1897)
The two dolphins in the Coat of Arms have a lengthy history in the town of Brighton although the origins cannot be traced easily now.
The Commissioners of Brighton, the local government body during the first half of the 19th century, used two dolphins in their seal. It is now a matter of speculation whether the dolphins were adopted because of the town’s association with the sea or because the commissioners had adopted the emblem of one of the leading families in the town. Both the Scrase family, who were associated with the Manor of Brighton and represented amongst the Commissioners, and the Lashmar family, one of whose members was High Constable in 1799, bore dolphins on their Coat of Arms.
Elements from the Hove Borough Council Armorial Bearings (issued by College of Heralds 1899)
The ship that has run ashore on a shingle beach represents a 16th century French galley and commemorates the French attacks on the coast of Hove in the early part of that century. The precise representation of the Helmet taken from the previous Armorial Bearings is not known.
The blue border with six Martlets represents the county of Sussex.
The Seal of the City
This is a round red disc which is kept in the Mayor’s Parlour. The writing behind the seal says :
ELIZABETH the SECOND BY THE GRACE OF GOD OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND & OF OUR REALMS & TERRITORIES QUEEN HEAD OF THE COMMONWEALTH DEFENDER OF THE FAITH.
To all whom these Presents shall come Greeting. Whereas We for divers good causes and considerations Us thereunto moving are graciously pleased to confer on the Towns of Brighton and Hove the status of a city. Now Therefore Know Ye that We of Our especial grace and favour and mere motion do by these Presents ordain declare and direct that the TOWNS OF BRIGHTON AND HOVE shall henceforth have the status of a CITY and shall have all such rank liberties privileges and immunities as are incident to a City. In witness whereof We have caused Our Letters to be made Patent Witness Ourself at Westminster the thirty first day of January in the forty ninth year of our reign.
By Warrant under The Queens Sign Manual.