Brighton is a bustling seaside town on the beautiful south coast of England, and in the picturesque county of West Sussex, has been one of the most popular destinations for many generations of British holidaymakers.
There are two piers in Brighton. Well, that is, there used to be ‘The West Pier’ quite famously burnt down in 2002, and has not since been rebuilt.
Now Brighton is left with just the one pier. This pier was originally known as ‘The Palace Pier’, but is now quite simply just ‘Brighton Pier’.
The West Pier was built in 1866 and was the first of Brighton’s piers to be erected. The architect who had the job of designing this awesome structure was Eugenius Birch, who was probably the most famous architect of piers that has ever lived, as he specialised in them and rarely designed anything else.
Initially the west pier was completely open topped, great for getting the sea air into one’s lungs, but not quite so much fun when the harsh winds are driving the salty, stinging sea rain into one’s eyes.
Protection from the elements was gradually added over the next forty years, beginning with a small bandstand to give some cover to the musicians who had to stand out in all weathers to entertain the tourists.
And ending with the great seated pavilion and concert halls where many great English entertainers made their mark on the great British public.
Despite almost a half a century of work on perfecting the pier the ravages of time, and two world wars took their toll and the former splendour died, the pier had gone to ruin.
So, in 2002 it was decided, with help from the lottery good causes fund, to restore this wonderful piece of English heritage. It was an enormously exciting project.
However it was not to be. On the 28th march 2003 fire ravaged through the pavilion in what was left of the grand old pier, and rendered it no longer salvageable.
The old palace pier has also been plagued by fire, in 1995, and oddly, just one month before the blaze which destroyed the west pier.
This pier is even bigger and grander than the old west pier, and is now the pier which is associated with Brighton, hence its change of name to ‘Brighton pier’.
Brighton Pier still stands today, and is as popular as ever. The ravages of the most recent fire, in 2003, have now been completely rectified, and the pier is doing what it has done for generations, entertaining tourists and ensuring that every one has a wonderful English seaside holiday.