Brighton's Chain Pier was built in 1823 and functioned as a point for shipping until 1896, when it was wrecked by a storm. At this point it was already planned for demolition, as its replacement, the Palace Pier (1999-) was already half-built.
The construction of the pier was similar to that of a suspension bridge, with an "island" landing point at one end having a stumpy cast-iron tower, connected to the shore by three more towers. Chains were run from tower to tower, and the connecting walkways were suspended from the chains.
Brighton Pavilion has an oil painting of Queen Victoria arriving at the Chain Pier (although the actual pier is largely obscured in the painting by shipping), and the pier was also painted by Constable.
The English cyclopaedia: A new dictionary of Universal Knowledge, Volume 6, 1854
By Charles Knight
- " The rapid increase of Brighton caused the want of a suitable landing place to be strongly felt. A company was accordingly formed for the erection of a suspension or chain pier, which was begun in October, 1822, under the direction of Captain Brown, and opened in November of the following year. The cost of erection was 30,000 l . It is composed of four spans or chain bridges, each 255 feet in length, and at the end on a framework of strong oaken piles is a platform paved with blocks of granite. The main chains, which are eight in number, are carried over pyramidal cast iron towers 25 feet high, which rest on clusters of piles. The entire length of the pier is 1136 feet, the breadth of the platform being 13 feet. This structure was seriously damaged in heavy gales in October, 1833, and November, 1836, The pier has since been considerably strengthened, and is now in a state of thorough repair. "
- " Upon the erection of the chain pier, Brighton became a packet-station, and was much used by those who preferred going and returning from Paris by way of Dieppe and Rouen, instead of the old route of Dover and Calais. The opening of the South Eastern line of railway introduced a rival and more ready communication with Paris by way of Folkestone and Boulogne; and more recently Newhaven, since the construction of a branch railway to it has obtained a share of the Brighton and Paris traffic. "
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