How does something that's surrounded by the sea end up catching fire?
Beats me too.
Regardless of the 'accident' or 'sabotage' that happened in 2003, the West Pier is still a sight to behold. I heard it described as The Wreck of Loneliness on Sugar Rush and I have called it that ever since. In Autumn and Winter, waves crash fiercely around the skeleton, Grade II listed structure and starlings soar around it. In summer and spring, when the tide is out, its possible to paddle around it and see more of the magnificent structure.
In short, a Brighton gem.
Constructed in 1866 and closed in 1975, this wood pier was effectively destroyed in 2003, but remains standing today as a breathtaking wood skeleton. You can see the beauty that once was when the sun is setting over the water and the birds are flocking in the thousands. Perhaps most amazing is the single untouched hut-- perhaps a ticket booth-- surrounded by charred wood.
Today there is an ongoing debate whether to rebuild the pier or not. For what it's worth, I think it should be left as is. Brighton has another pier that is in "proper working order". Forces of nature started the collapse of the West Pier, and while man may have accelerated the process at various points, let nature take its course.
If you've ever visited Brighton, walked along the seafront and happened to have a camera on your person, then I would put money on you having a photo of the West Pier.
This is most certainly an icon of the Brighton skyline with its skeletal structure standing proudly against the blue/grey/white/black/purple/sky, a reminder of Brighton of the past and man's destructive nature.
Having disastrously burned down to its current state in 2003, the pier is obviously no longer accessible by members of the public, but it does offer a certain sculptural elegance that cannot be ignored. The idea of its iconic status is further enhanced by the fact that it still sits in the sea, despite its lack of practical use. Described in a recent Guardian feature as "a bundle of rust and vertebrae", I would argue that the West Pier is as important as the working pier and should be preserved in its current state for a million-and-one more photo opportunities.
The plans to rebuild the West Pier have been long abandoned, and rightly so. The burnt out structure presents an interesting opposition to the light doused thriving East Pier, like a depressed and solitary sibling-and the bird still seem to enjoy it.
With plans of the Brighton i360 (huge structure offering panoramic views of the city) to become the natural successor to the West Pier in 2012, it will still be rooted in the history of Brighton.
West Pier is actually quite pretty in it's corrugated iron, nightmarish way: a pleasant reminder that all things decay and die (or are set on fire for the insurance money). You can't really do much with West Pier these days apart from look at it, although trying to swim to and climb on it would be an impressively original form of suicide. Kids, don't do this at home. Or on West Pier.
I digress: it is nice to have the West Pier, if not as a location guide when wandering around the seafront, then to throw the tackiness of Palace Pier into sharp relief. It is actually quite the pretty landmark, and does help define Brighton as the cool, yet slightly quirky (why hasn't it been torn down?) place that it is. Now that it is being torn down, and replaced with a vertical pier (read: tower) with an observation deck, it'll be shame to see the rusting edifice go.
If you live in Brighton, you'll probably have seen the West Pier already, if not, why not?
To be fair, I'm somewhat perplexed by how others can review this in it's current skeletal state with 5 stars.......
Now I remember this pier very well since childhood when it stood proudly with it's wooden decking, dance hall and slowly was in the state of attempted restoration. The starlings roosting there and flocking into the sky as the sun set. That was worth 5 stars.
Since the 'incident' of 2003, which saw the demise of the pier, a mini smog in the city and a lot of controversy as to the cause, it now reminds me of some great behemoth's skeleton washed upon the Brighton shore.
It does still have a certain aesthetic element, particularly at sunrise or sunset, but sorry a gutted shell is not going to get me raving about it.
The skeleton of this former pier adds a hauntingly beautiful element to Brighton's waterfront. I never saw what it looked like in all its glory and I really wish I had because even the frail metal that remains seems to echo the Victorian heyday in which it was constructed.
It makes for a very interesting stroll along the beach, as you can walk right up to it and see everything up close. Though you really don't need to get close to be able to appreciate it.
I don't live in Brighton anymore but I really hope that this decaying structure is left to wilt on its own accord and isn't torn down.
The West Pier is breathtakingly beautiful. I can't think of any sight better than the ruins of this old shrine to extravagance and escapism stranded and blackened by fire in the middle of the sea. I can never take enough pictures and love to share it with visitors. It seems to add even more depth to the repetition of the waves. In the years that I have lived in Brighton though I have watched it diminish almost imperceptibly as bit get blown or washed away and I desperately want someone to come along and somehow preserve it as it...perpetually ruined.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is literally just a hunk of metal. It has no practical use. You can't even walk near it because of safety issues. Its not beautiful. The sunsets that illuminate its dilapidated decline are beautiful; magnificent; picturesque. This is just a ruin. A wreckage. A monument to what happens when you leave something of national significance in the hands of incompetent fools. Sure, there are lots of lovely photos of it, but with the right lighting you can make an overflowing bin appear regal. That doesn't mean it's in the running to become the next King of England.
Slowly collapsing, I am not sure if the West Pier is a sign of dilapidation or simply of letting things take their course. You would think that large unstable bits of metal jutting out not too far away from swimmers might be a bit unnerving for the council, but nobody seems to have got hurt yet and the starlings seem to thoroughly enjoy it. When the tide is at its lowest in the year, although there are some warning signs about, you can pretty much walk all around its supporting structure. There is something very dystopian about wandering around the remains of this Victorian dinosaur. One day ill walk past and think 'just pull the bloody thing down', the next I will think, 'it's actually quite beautiful and ill be even sadder to see it go'. Lets not be sentimental though, time to get rid.
I get a little sniffy, a little angry and nostalgic when I think of this Victorian belle. You can tell how long someone's been in Brighton according to how far back they remember the pier and its state of collapse; for instance, when I came here ten years ago the tours on the old girl had just stopped as it was too dangerous. The lights still flashed from mid section though and she was still very much intact. Then talk started about rejuvenating her, money started being promised and allegedly - the other pier owners got scared and threatened. Truth is the shops for the revitalized pier would have been little threat, for a start they'd be for a different more upmarket demographic. Cue a speedboat and brazen arsonist. We all watched as she burned through the afternoon. A week later a storm finished her off for good and tossed her skeleton into the sea. Then the lottery money was repealed - she was beyond repair. Big score to the thugs who set light to her. A triumph for idiots. Fortunately the starlings still visit and she's just about standing like a dot to dot picture to remind us of her former glory.
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