What happened to Brighton's West Pier?
21st Jun 2022
Opened in 1866 and seeing its peak in 1919, The West Pier saw a steady decline until it was closed in 1975. It suffered from continued disrepair and eventually was badly damaged by storms in 2002. Its destruction came several months later in 2003. Two seperate fires which are thought to be deliberate cases of arson took place in March and May 2003. It was declared beyond repair.
The Brighton i360 observation tower was built at the shore end of the Pier and opened 4th August 2016.
Although it now just exists as the destroyed skeletal remains of the metal framework, it is one of the most photographed structures in Brighton. There is a strange kind of beauty in destruction; Nothing is permanent, including ourselves.
How did Brighton West pier catch fire?
Fire investigators were unable to find the exact cause of the fire so officially it remains unknown. It is however thought to be two cases of arson. The first fire on 28th March destroyed the Pavilion. The second fire on 11th and 12th May 2003 was more intense and consumed what was left - the remains of the Concert Hall.
The history of West Pier
Officially named The West Pier, it was designed by Eugenius Birch and opened on 6th October 1866 as a pleasure pier which was popular at the time. It was extended in 1893 and a concert hall was added in 1916. After World War 1 it saw its peak visitor attendence in 1919. It was the first pier to be Grade I listed in England, but suffered from a continued decline until its closure to the public in 1975.
It was the town's second pier, located just to the west of Brighton Palace Pier.