Sadness at its collapse

West Pier after collapse in December 2002
Image reproduced by permission from Sean Clark, photographer. Many more images of the West Pier, can be found at his site

I was so very sorry to learn about the partial collapse of the West Pier. The news we heard months ago that there were plans to restore this unique Victorian structure and that the finance was forthcoming was very heartening. In my view this is a stand alone project and should not be muddied by anything that will detract from the Pier. The Pier is the star and focal point.

Memories of happy childhood days
We spent many happy hours as children and with our own children in the 60’s enjoying the delights that this genteel if faded Victorian lady provided. For goodness sake, someone, get on with it and save this bit of Brighton’s heritage before it is too late!

Comments about this page

  • My dad worked on the pier way back in the 60s and early 70s. He remembers the morning after the night the barge knocked into it.

    By Liz Wakefield (29/12/2002)
  • It’s a shame that the West Pier has been left to destroy itself when it should have been restored ages ago. No-one cares for things like this in this country – there is no pride anymore. RIP West Pier.

    By James Culver (31/12/2002)
  • The West Pier has fallen beyond repair. It would need too much money to repair it and there is no real point; it’s just going to be restored to its 1920s version and no one likes old things.

    By Johannes de Silva (24/06/2003)
  • There has been many a chance to secure the West Pier or rebuild it, obviously there was no intention of doing this at any foreseeable time in the future and now it is too late. I hope that the money Brighton Council had for the repair of the pier goes on something of use to the people of Brighton and does not go towards Mayoral and council parties.

    By Steve Ross (03/07/2004)
  • Witnessing this spirited, grand princess so painfully fall from grace, must be tantamount to sitting helpless in a life boat watching the Titanic sink. Were our dear friend a lame horse, its suffering would have ended decades ago. I fear the opportunity for restoration may well have now passed, but one would think that funding for such an historically significant project might be found at a national level, and not just left at the feet of local councils. In memory of many special hours spent with you as a child – RIP old friend!

    By Alan O'Brien (08/10/2004)
  • I can’t believe the short-sightedness of the ‘nobody likes old things’ comment! I grew up in Brighton with the delapidated pier a sad but beloved fixture on the landscape.  I was thrilled when the West Pier sign started getting lit again about ten years ago.  Of course the pier is beyond repair now, but once its restoration would have been wonderful.  An external recreation doesn’t mean the interior had to be ballrooms and music halls – look at the Palace Pier, plenty like that ‘old thing’.  I’m of the opinion there’s only one way to honour the West Pier now.  Build a beautiful modern pier designed by some hot young architect on its foundations, and let it house a national pier museum and the surviving booths restored!

    By Kate Miller (30/09/2006)
  • Last september I visited Brighton as a tourist from the Netherlands, and thought I knew what to expect when we walked towards the remains for the first time. I was not prepared for the surge of emotions that went through me as I faced the skeleton of the ballroom-end of this Pier, to which I have always felt a peculiar connection. ‘You came to me when I called for you’ it seemed to say to me, ‘just before I finally disappear.’ I had to follow its demise on the internet, shocked to the core that this flowing, elegant and vulnerable building was completely left on its own, and being allowed to fall down and burn. In Scheveningen, a smaller but comparable pier was destroyed by the Germans, and rebuilt in the seventies with the most repulsive materials and colour-scheme. Eight years ago this structure was ‘pimped-up’, but the result remains very mediocre. Considering the West Pier, I am totally convinced it should be rebuilt in its original style and with as many original features as possible. Our visit to the Palace Pier has strengthened my opinion, because I found its blaring vulgarity offending and, quite honestly, an enormous desillusion. Imagine the West Pier restored, and going for a luncheon-concert in the new Concert hall (where they play Mozart), and afterwards joining a salsa-workshop in the new ballroom. How’s that for spending a Saturday-afternoon on Brighton’s West Pier! Combining culture and pleasure in a remarkable place; it would make me visit and re-visit Brighton over and over again.

    By Robert Alexander Mesman Schultz (25/10/2006)

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