Brighton Pier

A view from the sea

By Ian McKenzie

This photo of the Palace Pier was taken sometime in the 1980s by Mum and Dad on their way from Shoreham to the Marina in their little boat. I unearthed this image when I was looking through their old photos.

Photo:Palace Pier from the sea

Palace Pier from the sea

Photo from Ian McKenzie's parents' private collection

Added at the Brighton and Hove History Centre by Ian McKenzie on 10-03-04
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
What happened to the original buildings? I heard they were taken down and packed into containers, to be re-instated at some time in the future.
By Christopher Tuft (26/09/2005)
Answer for Christopher Tuft: Original buildings were stored in two places in Brighton: the old forrestery place at the site of the old Kemptown station, now a bingo hall, from there to the top end of Old Cheapside, now where the DVLA office is. I did hear that all remnants have now been lost?
By Marcus Warland (02/01/2006)
Yes, what did the Nobles do with the Palace Pier Theatre? There are a lot of questions I'd like to ask the Nobles.
By Tim Sagar (19/02/2006)

I'm with Tim Sagar, above - the loss of the Pavilion Theatre from the end of the Palace Pier (not the 'Brighton Pier', thank you!) is a tragedy that the Nobles should answer for. The Nobles swore faithfully on their purchase of the pier in 1984 to restore the theatre they dismantled, either on the pier or elsewhere.  Instead they've left it rotting in warehouses. Perhaps the council think Brighton's too young a city to care for its own history - but I'm 22 and I'm furious over the cavalier treatment of our heritage!

By Kate Miller (30/09/2006)

In the 1950s we swam around the Palace Pier quite a few times when we were teenagers. It was a bit of a struggle, but after we got round the end and down the other side it got a bit easier. Of course that was at low tide when we would walk a lot of the way. We didn't fancy it at high tide, there were too many currents and too many fishermen slinging their lines out. Sometimes we would go near the end and climb up a ladder onto the pier, go across the other side, dive in and swim back. Good old days they were.

By Mick Peirson (19/11/2006)

The pier will always be called the Palace Pier to locals.

By Tara (22/01/2007)

I am also with Tim Sagar - the loss of the theatre on the Palace Pier is sad. I've only lived in Brighton for 12 years and only know the pier as it is now with a lot more tacky rides on it. I am still young but think it would look so much better to have the buildings back on the end of the pier. The Nobles company just seem to want it to look like a giant arcade on the sea which looks cheap and tacky.  What Nobles should really do is to stop oppossing the rebuild of the stunning(as it was) West Pier and let us have somewhere classy on the seafront to go. It could still be rebuilt to its former 1920s hay day.  The I360 is a good idea but what would be better to look at and go on is the rebuilt West Pier. I know I would go on it and so would thousands of paying visitors to Brighton seafront. They could build both and have a combined ticket to go on the West Pier and the I360. After all you're going to spend more time on the West Pier than you will on just a ride, which is all the I360 really is.

By Justin Hellyer (17/09/2007)

The Nobles desecrated the Palace Pier (not the "Brighton Pier") and turned it into a disgusting plastic amusement park. That they got away with this speaks volumes for the attitude towards historic buildings in the 1980s on the part of Brighton Council and indeed the British Government some of which is still with us and still blighting our country. Lately there has been an attempt to right the wrong done to the Pier by restoring some of the restaurants , etc, that were such a feature of the pre-Nobles Palace Pier (referred to in Greene's Brighton Rock for instance) but I am afraid the marvellous Theatre is almost certainly gone forever.

By Adrian Baron (20/09/2007)

I'd simply like to thank those who wrote the above remarks. It's reassuring reading them. As I said some while ago, I was only fifteen years old when the Theatre was demolished and even at that age I was able to feel a great sense of regret and sadness for what Brighton was allowing itself to lose. The structure was unlike any other in the world. Another act of blatant, needless vandalism in the Noble-era has been the destruction of the many beautiful cast iron archways: original Art Nouveau features which once graced the entire length of the pier and were lit up at night. One solitary span remains (North side of the Palm Court Cafe). A good 1970s picture can be found on this website.

By Sam Flowers (30/09/2007)

I strongly suggest a viewing of the photo on "Brighton and Hove in Pictures" website, under Architecture / Metal Work / No. 1 - "Brighton Seafront from the Palace Pier, 1971."

By Sam Flowers (03/10/2007)

I think it's terrible that the Noble Organisation took the theatre down with no real vision to put it back up. A couple of those silver oriental domes turned up on ebay a few years ago, it even said they were from the pier. They were found when they started demolishing all the stuff behind the station for those new flats. The rest of the theatre is probably being used in people's gardens as reclaimed timber.

By Ben Robinson (09/08/2008)

The theatre was certainly seen to be "in storage" in a warehouse in Portsmouth when I worked on the Pier through the 90s. The Nobles never intended to replace it, and should be made to do so.

By Ams (29/09/2010)

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