Developments in the 19th and 20th centuries

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

b) ADDITIONS: The West Pier remained largely unaltered for over twenty years until 1890 when a new company took over and immediately added the central windshield. Three years later, in 1893, the pier-head was widened and a large pavilion was erected, decorated with oriental towers and seating 1,400; a landing stage was added at the same time. In November 1896 however, the West Pier was damaged to the tune of £6,000 by wreckage from the Chain Pier . The pavilion was converted into a theatre in 1903, and further additions came with the attractive concert hall at the centre in 1916, and the raised entrance at the shore end in 1932.
Between the wars the West Pier was used by day-trippers to and from France and had resident customs officials, but in 1940 the structure was cut in two to prevent an enemy landing. When the pier reopened in 1945 the theatre, which had had its own repertory company in the 1930s, was converted into an amusement arcade. It was also used for filming Oh! What a Lovely War in about 1968.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder

Comments about this page

  • My Granny worked on The West Pier as a cook. This was in the early ’50s, I suppose she worked in the restaurant as in the photo. I still have a photo of my family with her on the pier, I must have been about four at the time. She was rather a round lady with a strong Belfast accent. She was also the caretaker of the house where they lived in Brunswick Square. She lived there with my Grandad and my two uncles.

    By Anne Newman (18/04/2012)

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