St Bartholomew's is one of the tallest parish churches in Europe and was completed in 1874.
It was design by architect Charles Barry, who was only in his twenties at the time. He built it in the Late Gothic style, typical of the so called Commissioners churches of the time. Pevsner describes it as inventive and bold in its design.
The foundation stone was laid by the Vicar of Brighton, Revd RJ Carr dd, on 8 May 1824 at a location which was at the time 'the entrance to the town', but which is now in the city centre, following the rapid development of Brighton since that date. The ceremony of consecration was led by the same man on 25 January 1828.
A spire was designed by Barry in 1841, but it was never built. The side aisles originally had galleries (such as those to be seen at churches such as Christ Church, Spitalfields), but these were taken down, as were so many, as a result of the cultural and liturgical changes made in the wake of the Oxford Movement.
The original hexagonal apse was demolished in 1898 to make way for a much larger, straight ended chancel designed by Somers Clarke and JT Mickelthwaite, built in Sussex sandstone, its warm hue contrasting with the cold, white appearance of the Portland stone in which the rest of the church was built. The building work continued until 1906. when a new chancel was installed.
The church has a selection of stained glass windows, most of which are by Charles Eamer Kempe. The east side has a window commemorating Queen Victoria, presented to the church on behalf of the people of Brighton using funds raised in the town.