Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Looking back: Wonders of the deep at Sealife Centre
7:00pm Friday 12th July 2013 in News
On March 29, 1991 Brighton’s Aquarium became the Sealife Centre after a £1.5 million redevelopment.
The facelift was not without a few hitches. Tiny cracks were found in some of the Victorian tanks, some of which were over 100 years old.
The cracks were only visible after they were drained and last minute repair work had to be carried out before the centre was opened to the public.
The new Sea life Centre lost its two dolphins, Missie and Silver, but gained 150 new species of sea life, including sharks, conger eels and sting rays.
The dolphins were sent to a rehabilitation centre in the Turks and Caicos Islands for a well earned retirement.
Two wooden dolphin sculptures were donated to the Sea Life Centre by the Royal Pavilion shop.
Local artist Dinah Kelly spent four months making the carvings.
Dinah said at the time: “I suppose it was good timing to donate the dolphins at the same time as the two real dolphins were being released, but it certainly was not intentional.”
She added: “The dolphins are a kind of symbol of Brighton and that is partly why I did them.”
On April 13, 1991 the Sea Life Centre lost two more star performers.
Maisie and Honey the sealions were taken to the South of France to join other sealions in an open-air wildlife centre. Donna the Crocodile also left for a reptile sanctuary in Tenerife.
The fish tanks may have lost some permanent residents but in July 1991 staff from the centre took youngsters Darren Harmen and Kelly Kearney on a trip to the Irish Sea to search for basking sharks.
The two had won the chance to become shark spotters for a weekend after entering a competition at the Sealife Centre.
After spotting several of the gentle giants Kelly said: “I was more scared of the jellyfish. It looked broad, like a whale, and was rather clumsy.”
In May of the same year the Sealife Centre took delivery of five smooth-hound sharks. The sharks, which can grow up to 5ft long, had been hatched just a few weeks before at the Sealife Centre’s quarantine unit in Weymouth.
In July 1991 giant turtles Solo and Penta joined the residents at the Sealife Centre after outgrowing the observation tank at the Marine Observation unit in Weymouth.
The loggerhead sea turtles are some of the world’s most endangered species.
Sinbad the trigger fish was the last new arrival in 1991.
He had been found by a Littlehampton fisherman in one of his lobster pots.
Sinbad made a full recovery before being moved into a tank with George the Grouper fish.
Centre manager Eileen Ormand said: “He and George have an uneasy relationship because they eat different things.”
ON THIS DAY
1346: Charles IV of Luxembourg is elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
1848: Waterloo railway station in London opens.
1895: The Lumière brothers demonstrate film technology to scientists.
1922: The Hollywood Bowl opens.
1960: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is first published.
1975: China's great Terracotta Army was uncovered near the ancient capital of Xian. More than 6,000 life-sized warriors were made around 206BC.
1979: America's Skylab I returned to Earth after 34,981 orbits in six years.
The Argus’ popular “Looking Back” feature has been compiled into an A4, soft back book which catalogues the events that have made their mark on the people of Sussex. The fascinating archive of “Looking Back” images dates back to the 1930s when The Argus first started to print photographs. The book costs £6.99 including postage and packing. To order please visit theargus.co.uk/store
Comments are closed on this article.