The West Pier: Factfile

  • 1866 - The West Pier is built
  • 1883-1916 - The pier begins its evolution from a promende pier to a pleasure pier with the building of a theatre and concert hall
  • 1920s - At the peak of its popularity after the First World War the pier attracts more than two million paying visitors a year
  • 1930s-1940s - The pier's popularity begins to wane and it is left to the elements during the Second World War after the middle section of the decking is removed to prevent an enemy landing
  • 1950s - The pier completes its evolution into a funfair with dodgems, and other amusements while the theatre is transformed into a restaurant and the concert hall a tearoom
  • 1960s - The pier's popularity hits rock bottom and it falls into financial difficulties
  • 1970 - The main pierhead is closed due to safety fears
  • 1975 - The West Pier is closed to the public
  • 1976 - Brighton Council wants to demolish the unsafe sea end but changes its mind after a huge petition is raised by the We Want the West Pier Campaign
  • 1982 - The West Pier becomes the only pier in Britain to be awarded Grade I status as a listed building
  • 1983 - The Brighton West Pier Trust buys the pier for £100
  • 1998 - £14 million is made availble from the National Lottery for restoration but it will only be released once a deal with private sector partners has been agreed
  • February 1999 - Chris Eubank's Eugenius Consortium unveils plans to restore the pier
  • June 2000 - The Eugenius Consortium fails after the collapse of its financial backers
  • June 2000 - St Modwen becomes the Brighton West Pier Trust's third development partner
  • May 2001 - The owners of the Palace Pier begin a legal challenge to the West Pier's right to National Lottery funds claiming unfair competition
  • June 2001 - English Heritage names the West Pier as the most "at risk" Grade I listed building in the UK
  • July 2001 - St Modwen unveils its plans to restore the pier
  • September 2001 - Opposition mounts to St Modwen's plans
  • November 2001 - Public tours of the West Pier are halted due to saftey fears
  • December 2001 - The Eugenius Consortium re-emerges with new plans to restore the pier
  • February 2002 - The West Pier Trust and St Modwen unveil revised plans
  • September 2002 - The West Pier Trust and St Modwen unveil further revised plans following public opposition
  • October 2002 - The Palace pier takes its legal challenge to the European Court
  • October 2002 - English Nature joins list of objectors to restoration plans due to fears about the future of the West Pier starlings
  • December 2002 - Part of the Concert Hall collapses into the sea during storms
  • January 2003 - A second collapse leaves the pier on the brink of collapse
  • January 2003 - The Birch Consortium unveils alternative plans to save the pier
  • February 2003 - English Heritage backs St Modwen's plans to restore the West Pier
  • February 2003 - Brighton and Hove planning officials back St Modwen's plans and recommend city councillors give the green light
  • March 2003 - Government rules out holding public inquiry
  • March 2003 - Fire rips through the pier after a suspected arson attack
  • May 2003 - A second fire reduces the pier to a charred skeleton
  • May 2003 - Palace Pier owners step up campaign for public inquiry and pursue further legal challenges
  • December 2003 - English Heritage says restoration should go ahead, calling the pier the most important in the country
  • January 2004 - The Heritage Lottery Fund shatters the restoration dream after withdrawing funding over fears of escalating costs


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