BRIGHTON WEST PIER, MONUMENT LOSS
BRIGHTON WEST PIER - The West Pier was a magnificent pier in Brighton, England. As with Eastbourne's pier, it was designed by Eugenius Birch, opening in 1866 and closing in 1975. The pier was the first to be Grade I listed in Britain but became increasingly derelict after closure. Listing is therefore no security, but almost a death sentence in some circumstances due to the increase in costs in planning terms.
The pier was constructed during a boom period in pleasure pier building in the 1860s, and was designed to attract tourists to Brighton. It was the town's second pier, joining the Royal Suspension Chain Pier of 1823. It was extended in 1893, and a concert hall was added in 1916. The pier reached its peak attendance during this time, with 2 million visitors between 1918 and 1919. Its popularity began to decline after World War II, and concerts were replaced by a funfair and tearoom. A local company took ownership in 1965, but could not meet the increased maintenance cost, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. They could not find a suitable buyer, so the pier closed in 1975 and subsequently fell into disrepair. Eastbourne pier could suffer the same fate, simply because the demand for seaside attractions is all but dead. Most visitors to south coast piers are retired couples looking for a bun and a cup of tea. List Entry Number: 1381655
TOTAL HERITAGE LOSS THROUGH MIS-MANAGEMENT
A compulsory purchase order might have saved what was one of the finest piers in the world. Inaction on the part of Brighton & Hove City Council is therefore partly to blame for the loss of a Grade I listed structure. All too often councils neglect their duty to protect the historic built environment. In the case of the Palace pier, a temporary permission for a fun fair has lapsed into some kind of permanence with the loss of a theatre. How that situation has come about is a mystery.
BBC NEWS 26 FEB 2003 - PIER RESTORATION PLANS APPROVED
A £30m scheme to restore Brighton's derelict and storm-damaged West Pier has been approved.
EASTBOURNE PIER 2015 - Is a monument at risk. Terry is seen here on a site visit to check the condition of the underlying structure. What he found was not encouraging. There is a lot of work to do to bring this important coastal attraction back into a condition to be proud of.
The business plan includes developing a marine/natural history display that will make this structure the place to visit on the south coast of England. We are not at liberty to disclose the details of such proposals lest imitators poach the creative lead of the Cleaner Oceans Club.