Working from 8am to 10pm
I worked on the Rifle Range on the West Pier in the mid 1950s at weekends and school holidays. I worked with another boy who lived near me. We started work at about 8am and worked until the pier shut about 10pm in the summer. The rifle range was slung under the pier and the steps to it were opposite. I think it was a theatre, but I am not sure. When business was slow we were told to stand at the top of the stairs and shout “Come on down – ten shots a pound“.
Tipsy holidaymakers with rifles
I remember our main customers were Londoners down on a day trip. There used to be dozens of London Transport double-decker buses parked along Madeira Drive at the Black Rock area every weekend and Bank Holiday. By the time the visitors reached us on the West Pier they had visited most pubs on the way and were ‘three sheets to the wind’. Of course no-one thought about health and safety then, and we would give them a 2.2 rifle loaded with ten shots! You sure used to have your wits about you. We were always surprised when there were never any bodies of bathers washed up on the beach, because of the number of times shots were fired through the decking into the sea underneath.
Do you remember?
Did you visit the West Pier? What about the rifle range – ever try your luck there? If you can share your memories of those times with us, please leave a comment below.