West Pier

Photo:These photographs were taken by me personally of the West Pier on fire and were taken from my terrace on the top floor of Berkeley Court, Kings Road.

These photographs were taken by me personally of the West Pier on fire and were taken from my terrace on the top floor of Berkeley Court, Kings Road.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'West Pier' page

On fire in March 2003

by Trevor Chepstow

The fire started around 8.40am on Friday 28th March 2003 and in a very short time was a raging inferno with flames leaping twenty to thirty feet in the air. Unfortunately due to the dangerous condition on the middle section of the pier, the fire brigades was unable to control the fire and were left helplessly watching from the beach.

The cause of the fire?
The fire raged for most of the day and was still smouldering many weeks after. The cause of the fire has never been established. On the 11th May 2003 the middle section of the pier was set fire to under mysterious circumstances. All that remains today of the West Pier is the shell.

This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page

The real mystery is that a structure some yards out to sea, with no public access managed to ignite itself. A number of theories have been put forward, including sponataneous combustion due to heat caused by the decompostion of bird droppings, and a freak lightning strike. However these cannot explain how it caught fire again over a month later.

Rumours of deliberate arson were soon circulating, with many claims that a rocket or flare was seen to be shot from a speedboat immediately before one or both fires. The motives theorised of this arson include simple vandalism, and a plot by the owners of the Palace Pier.

Some have even put forward the idea that the supposed arson was comitted by a local simply fed-up with the continual debate surrounding the piers restoration.

None of these theories have been proved, and it is difficult to imagine how any could be confirmed with any confidence whatever. It would appear that the causes of the fires are fated to remain a mystery.

By G Stalker (04/11/2007)

I don't understand why someone would want to ruin a part of Brighton's history. I think it should have been restored for future generations to enjoy as our families did before us. it's a shame to see a part of our cities history in such a state.

By Nikkie (04/07/2008)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.