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The West Pier at night

West Pier at night, Xmas 1967
Photo taken by Peter Allison

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  • The West Pier looks beautiful in this photo how different from the current look! Even if you compare this look to the current Palace Pier (note not ‘Brighton Pier’!), the old West Pier look is from a different era, Edwardian. Not the current raz-a-mataz look of the Palace Pier!

    By Peter Groves (30/03/2007)
  • I have very fond memories of growing up in Hove during the early 70s. I remember being entranced by the beautiful illuminations of the West Pier. How sad the way it’s ended up.

    By Kevin Latch (09/05/2007)
  • It’s a crime to take this beauty away from the world this way, just for commercial interests, as I suppose. It’s a crying shame, and I cannot believe in someone’s interest to rebuild this jewel. It’s lost, and it remains to be a shame. Tom, from Germany.

    By Tom Fust (13/04/2008)
  • I remember both of the piers so very well, the Palace Pier, or Brighton Pier as it is now called, which I visited while having a short break in the UK in August last year, as we now live in Southern France and have a Gite business. We were staying one night at the Royal Albion Hotel, so we took a stroll for old times sake. The Brighton Pier was a dissapointment from what I remember as a boy.

    By Paul Fleet (26/10/2009)
  • Shame they let the West Pier go beyond repair, such a waste.

    By Peter Bridger (25/04/2010)
  • Great comments John.. thanks! I arrived in Brighton the day the pier burnt down for the first time. I remember everywhere in Brighton smelt of the smoke for 3 days. Now I’ve lived in Russell Square for 7 years, looking at the sad remains of its former glory on most days.

    By Dave Wiseman (29/06/2010)
  • Dave Wiseman’s comment about the West Pier burning down has reminded me that I watched the Bedford Hotel opposite the West Pier also burn down many years before. Incidentally, are you the Dave Wiseman that went to Varndean school in the 50s?

    By Graham Sharp (16/10/2010)
  • Yes, I lived not far away in Brunswick St East off Waterloo St for a while and went on the West Pier most nights during the warm weather. It’s  hard to believe it’s gone now. I used to love that area during the summer especially when the art show was on and you could walk along looking at the pictures then go on the pier.

    By Paul Edwards (18/02/2011)
  • The West Pier was always far superior to the Palace Pier (or ‘Brighton Pier’ as its current owners renamed it) and it was such a shame that more wasn’t done to save it from the elements, the arsonists, and the delaying tactics used by the Palace Pier’s owners to stall restoration plans until the restoration eventually became unviable. The Palace Pier is also a shadow of its former self, having had its theatre building temporarily dismantled and then – oops! – “lost” by the owners (bits of it occasionally turn up for sale or auction). They have also removed most of the original filigree wrought iron arches that used to grace the Palace Pier, giving it its unique charm and character, turning it into a rather joyless funfair and chip shop on stilts. The best big piers left are: Llandudno, Eastbourne and Worthing, the best small piers are: Clevedon, Bangor and Saltburn. Enjoy them while you can.

    By Tom Lacey (02/03/2011)
  • Back in the mid 70s there was a small, but intrepid bunch of surfers who would paddle out to the end of the pier during every gale to catch Brighton’s elusive surf. This was ‘our’ spot and we guarded it jealously. Highlights include battling with elderly fisherman casting weights at us for scaring fish off, watching the piles swaying as waves passed through the giders and watching bits fall off the pier as it slowly fell into disrepair. On flat summer’s days we would climb onto the pier then already closed to the public for a nose around. Now it resembles a skeleton poking out of the sea – tragic! Friends from that era include Steve James, Nick Hewetson, Andy Barnard, Phil Hall, Dave Brown, Nigel Barrat and Andy Westgate.

    By Martin Scrace (06/01/2012)
  • In the summer of 1967 I worked for the “professor” who read palms on the West Pier. John Barber (above) is correct in saying the “training” was very brief! It was stressed that it was a “Character reading” not foretelling the future. I wish I could remember the name of the “professor” – he was quite a character and looked remarkably similar to James Roberson Justice. I seem to remember him telling me that he wrote the horoscopes for the Daily Express. During my time there the TV show “Candid Camera” filmed from our booth with Jonathon Routh taking the place of the “reader”. Another highlight was seeing Blossom Dearie perform in a small club. “Blossom Time at Ronnie Scott’s” became the soundtrack for that whole summer. I loved the West Pier and was so pleased to work there. What a lark!

    By Maggie Brunger (27/06/2012)

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