Brighton's West Pier (1866-) was designed by Eugenius Birch and was described as the finest pier in Britain.
"Grade 1"-listed, it was closed to the public in 1975, and was finally destroyed by a series of fires in 2003.
Its anchor-buildings and still exist on Brighton seafront, and the blackened skeleton of its main metalwork is visible out to sea to the West of the Palace Pier.
Early configuration, 1866-
THE WEST PIER
This noble structure, which stands in front of the West Cliff and Regency Square, was commenced in 1863 and opened on October 6th, 1866, at a cost of £27,000, in the presence of a large concourse of the inhabitants and visitors, and now forms one of the most attractive promenades which the town presents.
It is more than 1,100 feet long and 55 feet wide, except at the abutment and pier-head, both of which are 140 feet wide. It was built under the superintendence of Mr. Birch, who was the engineer, and reflects great credit on him. The foundations are cast-iron and wrought-iron screws fixed in the bed of the sea, and these are surmounted by iron columns and piles, upon which the structure is placed. The entire length of the pier is lined with continuous seats for 3,000 persons.
One of the most striking features in the construction of the pier-head is the erection of weather-screens, which are so arranged as to completely shelter the visitor without interfering with a good view of the sea and the surrounding scene. Ships and yachts can now be signalled from the pier-head by the International Code of Signals.
— , -, , Friend's Almanack, , 1881
Brighton West Pier (Opposite Regency Square)
- Opened 1866.
- Length, 1,115 feet ; width at head, 140 feet ;
- Weather Screens of glass and iron are placed around the Pier Head, affording shelter from wind and rain.
- A Pleasure Steamer plies from the pier during the summer months, and a most convenient landing stage, with steps to facilitate landing from yachts, &c., has recently been erected.
- Terms of admission to the Pier: each person , 2d. ; Annual Ticket for one person, 21s. ; six months, 12s ; three months, 7s. 6d. ; 12 admission tickets, 1s. 6d. ; 50 ditto, 6s ; 100 ditto, 10s. ; Bath Chair and attendant, 6d ; 12 tickets, 4s. 6d. For every person landing at the Pier Head, 2d.
- Bathing is allowed from the Pier Head from 6 to10 am. Sundays, 6 to 11 a.m.
- Bath Ticket, including admission. 6d. ; 12 ditto, 5s.
- Arrangements have been made by which passing ships can be signalled by the new Commercial Code.
- The Company's own Band plays three times daily during the summer season. Sundays (twice) sacred music
— , -, , Nash's Guide to Brighton, , 1885
1893: New Pavilion
BRIGHTON WEST PIER, New Pavilion
THE NEW PAVILION, opened in 1893, is 126 feet long, and 100 feet broad, and is surrounded by a Colonnade, which provides a convenient sheltered open-air promenade. As regards the framework it is almost entirely an iron building. The framing consists of wrought iron girders supported upon upwards of 100 ornamental cast-iron columns. The building being intended for musical and dramatic performances of various kinds, has been designed to provide ample space in the auditorium, which will, it is believed, comfortably seat 1,400 people. The gallery surrounding the auditorium will also accommodate a large number of spectators. A special feature of the building is the outside promenade at the gallery level, 14 feet above the deck, which being nearly 18 feet wide and surrounding the whole of the building, will doubtless become very popular as a fashionable lounge. To provide a foundation for the building a number of special piles have been driven and bracing put in to strengthen the old piles.
Every provision has been made for the prevention of fire, four hydrants being attached to the building with all the usual appliances. The Pavilion, in addition to the Hall of Entertainments, includes rooms for artistes, refreshments rooms, tea rooms, a foyer or lounge, telephone office, the Company's Office and Board Room, and a number of small shops. The gallery opens upon the outer terrace, whence splendid views of the Sea and the front of the town are obtained.
The other improvements effected on the Pier are the widening of the Pier head by forty feet on each side of the original structure or to a total width of nearly 200 feet ; and a landing stage, 11 feet wide, along the whole of the east and west sides of the Pier head, and projecting seawards 100 feet, making a total length available for steamers of 720 feet. The landing stage is approached by four staircases, 10 feet wide, two at each end of the Pier head. The widening is carried on fifty cast iron columns screwed into the chalk foundation, strongly braced together, and four lines of wrought iron girders placed upon them, the whole being covered with a substantial deck consisting of three feet planking laid on twelve inch joists. The landing stage piles, 164 in number, are composed of heavy iron joists, driven some 12 feet into the ground, strongly braced together and covered at the landing level with a cast iron grating weighing 50lbs. a square foot. The top landing is four feet above the high water mark, and the lower landings, of which there are three, two on the west and one on the east side, are 11 feet below the level of the upper one. The unusual length and width of the landing stage make it a most agreeable promenade, which is largely used by the public, and seems to be very highly appreciated.
TABLE OF TOLLS. -- For every person passing on to the Pier, for each admission 2d. ; for every Bathchair and Attendant, 6d. ; for every Perambulator and Attendant, 4d. ; fir every person landing at the Pier Head, 2d. Tickets for the Entertainments taken at the Pier gates are inclusive of Pier Tolls
— , I. Wilkinson, Secretary and General Manager,
WEST PIER. Opened 1866 and enlarged in 1893. 1,200 feet in length. Contains an excellent Theatre, Concert Hall (foremost Military Bands during the summer and Orchestras at other times), up-to-date bathing facilities with modern dressing rooms and Sunshine Shelters, Auto-Motor Track and numerous other attractions. Good fishing. 'Phone Brighton 1731.
— , Brighton Corporation, , Brighton Official Handbook, , 1935
- The West Pier Trust (westpier.co.uk)
- Brighton West Pier, National Piers Society (piers.org.uk)
- The History of Brighton's West Pier (arthurlloyd.co.uk)
- The West Pier, This Is Brighton (thisbrighton.co.uk)
Pages in category ‘West Pier’
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Media in category ‘West Pier’
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- Brighton West Pier det...
- View inland from the W...
- West Pier and Donkey (...
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- West Pier, 1939 map (B...
- West Pier, Brighton, e...
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- West Pier, landing sec...
- West Pier, landing, ro...
- West Pier, landing.jpg
- West Pier, moody.jpg
- West Pier, sunlit.jpg
- West Pier, temple.jpg
- West Pier, uprights.jpg