A shadow of its former self, 1975

The West Pier was closed to the public in 1975 for safety reasons.   Photographer Bob Herrick took these photographs on one of the last walking tours.  These tours were run as a fund-raising scheme in the early days of the restoration project.  A four foot wide metal pathway (you can see it in a couple of the photos) was built the length of the pier going through the middle of the concert hall.  Only a limited number of people could be taken, and a fee of £15 per person was charged which went to restoration funds.

Comments about this page

  • I remember as a young girl looking at the pier from an open top Brighton bus and having such confidence that it would one day be restored. I am now 37 and still waiting. These pictures make me feel very sad. My mum reminds me I said I thought my dad would fix it. He could fix pretty much anything you see!

    By Jaki Hall (03/07/2010)
  • These photos were not some of the last taken on the pier as stated above. They show images of visitors at the theatre building at the seaward end which was closed off well before the end of the tours. I was a tour guide on the pier from 1997 until 2002 and led the last but one tour. In 1997 we took tours around the south end of the theatre building, I have a photo of a small tree growing on the deck at that point, surely Brighton’s most southerly tree! Owing to the state of the south end we were then limited to only entering the building, which later was also out of bounds. By the end of the tours in 2002 we could only go as far as the south end of the central concert hall. When I took the penultimate tour in 2002 there was a high wind and the pier felt very weak, after 5 years of tours it did feel as if the dear old girl was in severe decline. I had intended planning my retirement from the ‘day job’ to coincide with the opening of the restored West Pier, doing tours in the morning and hiring deck chairs in the pm! Sadly the twin fires and later collapse put all that to the sword.
    My happiest memory was of being in charge of the booking office one glorious summer Sunday, sitting in a deck chair on the pier forecourt, selling tickets and then realising I had over-booked the tours! (max 16 people) so having to take 4 tours in the afternoon rather than the usual 3. Exhausting but so enjoyable.

    By Geoffrey Mead (26/04/2015)

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