Geoffrey's 2010 Tour of Brighton and Hove

The West Pier Theatre skeleton

By Geoffrey Mead

To follow this tour, click on the links on the right.

Photo:The West Pier Theatre skeleton

The West Pier Theatre skeleton

Photo by Geoffrey Mead

Weekend tour guide job

From 1997-2002 I had a weekend job as a tour guide on the West Pier, taking parties around the sub-structure on the beach and out on the walkway to the buildings on the pier. Originally we could go to the far end of the pier but were later restricted to the old theatre, then towards the end of its life to the south end of the Concert Hall. This latter structure collapsed and lay on the tide line for years before being removed in 2010.

A perfect memory

I still do tours [land based!] of the pier and the seafront and take talks out to local schools and other groups. My perfect memory of that time is a sunny early summer Sunday morning sitting in a deck chair on the pier deck taking bookings for the midday tour; we did two each day but one day I took four parties out one after the other!

A very sad time

Then kitting out the party in hard hats and life-jackets, giving the safety talk and then going down onto the shingle and out onto the pier. It was magical every time. I took the second to last tour of the pier one windy Wednesday night for a WI party. It was very shaky. It closed after the Saturday tour and was soon fire-bombed and burnt out. A very sad time.  

West Pier location

This page was added on 20/06/2010.
Comments about this page

I, too, was a West Pier tour guide with Geoff. What lovely memories this brings back of the groups I took out on warm, sunny days and how the first guide of the day had to go to the end of the pier if it was windy to see if it was safe enough to take tours. Another guide, Anna, and I marked the spot on which we would sit and take tea when the pier was restored to all its glory. Alas,not to be.

By Sarah Tobias (16/09/2012)

I simply cannot believe the sad sight of the West pier in the above photo, truly heart rending. As a kid in the 40s and the 50s along with my family the beach to the immediate west of the pier was our favourite beach for all of our childhood. When the tide was high I would dive from the groyne into the lovely deep water. When the tide was low there was the sand to be played on. Collecting deck chairs and lemonade bottle for some pocket money was the norm near to the end of the day. Then up Preston Street to Western Road for the bus to home in Bennett Road and a delicious Sunday evening tea of cold meat and salad and eggs, followed on usually by apple pie and custard, just a perfect ending to a perfect day. To me it looks as though somebody wanted the pier gone for some reason or other. It had stood for donkey's years without any major problem so why did it have to go then? My dad who was born near to the end of the Victorian era knew the pier very well, that is why we always gravitated to the beach on sunny Sundays when we were kids, he was sort of re-living some of his childhood. So sad!

By Mick Peirson (17/09/2012)

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