A triumph of engineering

Aerial view of the Marina, 1991
Picture contributed on 11-05-04 from private collection

Henry Cohen came to our school in the mid-1960’s and gave a talk about his vision and plans for the Marina. None of us could really visualise the huge yachting harbour and mini-town of today, though his original plans certainly didn’t include Asda and the cinema complex!

Watching the enterprise grow
I watched the enterprise grow as it was built in the 1970’s, initially walking on the pitted chalk of the wave-cut platform exposed at low tide below Black Rock, and walking along the well-marked line (of concrete blocks) which showed where Volk‘s “Daddy Long Legs” had once run.

Engineers beat the sea
Several times I observed storms with huge waves breaking over the works and was sure that the whole effort would end, like the Chain Pier had in 1896, in the sea. But the end result has been a triumph of engineering, even if it has perhaps not brought the wealth into Brighton which the original scheme promised.

Comments about this page

  • I remember watching this construction too and I am pretty sure that a major storm did knock some of the concrete caissons out of alingment before the Marina opened and repairs took several months. I remember Brightonians were also promised a replacement for the Black Rock Pool, ferries to France and an ice rink to replace the Sports Stadium. What we ended up with seems to be a housing estate priced for outsiders with a few boats dotted about.

    By Adrian Baron (22/06/2007)
  • I worked on the Brighton Marina site in 1973, in the Sanbergs laboratory testing the concrete for the walls, caissons etc. I remember the huge crane on rails that placed them into the sea wall. I re-visited Brighton in 2005 as I now live in Melbourn., I have left my email contact if anyone feels like more info or stories.

    By Rob Body (20/01/2009)
  • I worked on the huge crane for the placing of the last 11 caissons, late ’75 to early ’76. Like most Brightonians, I was awed by that massive structure seemingly crawling out to sea laying its own platform as it went. How mysterious it looked out there all lit up at night. The process of lifting the newly delivered caisson, ‘dressing’ it while over the deck area then lowering it over the front was fascinating and I feel privileged to have been a part of that mighty engineering feat (irrespective of pros and cons of the Marina itself). I remember well working through Friday nights/Saturday mornings watching the cars heading into town then back hours later while I’d moved giant steel pins or poured tonnes of concrete in fiercely cold north easterly winter winds. One eerie night, ashore from the crane I heard the faint cries for help from a jumper on the undercliff walk, broken leg and all. Made the front page of our beloved Argus did that. Lucky for him I was ashore at that time on some errand from the crane.

    By Colin Wild (23/12/2010)

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