The West Pier: Brighton’s grand old lady gradually crumbles into the sea.


Brighton’s West Pier, 5th February 2014

We had some gale force winds in the UK on Wednesday. I lost two tiles from my roof in Lewes, but things were far worse down the road at Brighton’s lovely old West Pier, opened in 1866 and still going strong in my childhood. For years now, it has been in decline ever since it was closed to the public in 1975 and declared “unsafe” by its new developer buyers. It was then left to face its fate as documented in the following photographs. I grew up in Brighton and have written about it in my novel Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love and, again recently, in a newly completed Brighton novel, and I have watched with dismay as the old pier has gradually tumbled into the water. One day, as happens when you live by an unforgiving sea, it will be gone without a trace. I shall miss it and, sorry Brighton and Hove Council, I shall blame you for the decades of neglect.

Brighton’s West Pier, 1904

Brighton’s West Pier, 1960s

Brighton’s West Pier, 1988

Brighton’s West Pier, 1989

Brighton’s West Pier, 1990s



Brighton’s West Pier, 1997

Brighton’s West Pier, 2003

Brighton’s West Pier, 2004

Brighton’s West Pier, 2011


Brighton’s West Pier, February 2014

Brighton’s West Pier, sometime soon.

Let’s end with a happy tune from those innocent but cheeky days when the West Pier was in its prime. I wonder if, one day, we’ll hear ghostly echoes of this song under the sea:

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STEPHEN DEARSLEY’S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL

My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published  on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.


It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)

You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing:
…or from Book Depository:

…or from Amazon:

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