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Brighton West Pier
Brighton, East Sussex, UK
Brighton West Pier
associated engineer
Eugenius Birch
date  1863 - 1866
era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  TQ301038
ICE reference number  HEW 212
photo  Paul Dunkerley
In its day, this was the finest seaside pier around the British coasts and it is considered to be the masterpiece of its designer, Eugenius Birch. It was the third pier in the country to incorporate cast iron screw piles.
The piles support columns in groups of two rows of three braced diagonally with wrought iron tie rods. These support cross heads carrying longitudinal lattice girders and cross beams that carry the timber decking.
The pier is 1,115ft long and 310ft wide at the pierhead (seaward end).
Subsequently, the deck has been widened, shelters added, the pierhead increased in size, a landing stage built and a massive pavilion added in 1893.
Originally there were only two square tollhouses at the entrance.
The pavilion was used first as a concert hall and then converted to a theatre 10 years later. A new concert hall was added in 1916 and a new top deck and entrance built in 1932. Some restoration was done in 1968 prior to the making of the film 'Oh! What a Lovely War', which used the pavilion as a set.
The pier has excellent ironwork details. It has, however, been derelict and closed to the public since 1975. It suffered major storm damage in 1987.
In 2002, restoration was estimated to cost some 34m but shortly afterwards part of the concert hall collapsed. A fire destroyed the pierhead pavilion in 2003. More of the structure collapsed in June 2004.
Despite its being Grade 1 listed, the pier has been allowed to deteriorate and fall into the sea. English Heritage conceded in July 2004 that restoration of the pier was "no longer possible".
Contractor: Richard Laidlaw & Son, Glasgow
Research: PD
reference sources   CEH SouthSurvSPSPd

Brighton West Pier