THE 150th birthday of Brighton's ghostly, fragile and fire-ravaged West Pier will be celebrated with a series of special events.

Talks by broadcaster Joan Bakewell, author Peter James and Coast presenter Nick Crane are among events being prepared for the anniversary of its 1866 opening.

The West Pier Trust said it was “fitting” the major milestone fell "accidentally" in the same year that the site has been reinvigorated with the opening of the £46 million i360.

Trust chief executive Rachel Clark repeated her hope that a new West Pier could be in place in time for the 160th anniversary.

The first of a series of events will be held on the exact anniversary date of Sunday October 6 when West Pier Trust members will be treated to a very special ride in the i360.

On Monday October 10 architects David Marks and Julia Barfield will talk about their 11-year journey to create the i360 while a special viewing of Oh! What a Lovely War, which was filmed on the West Pier, will be screed as part of the Cinecity Film Festival in the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts - named after the film’s director.

On Monday November 28, Coast presenter Nick Crane will talk about one of the most diverse, dynamic and beautiful coastlines in the world at the i360.

Further talks are pencilled in for next year featuring National Piers Society patron and journalist Joan Bakewell, crime author Peter James and local historian Dave Fisher on the pier’s cinematic history.

Mrs Clark said: “It’s fitting, though it is accidental, for us to be celebrating 150 years since it opened in the same year that the site at last has been awakened with the i360 and in a style that is appropriate and fitting.

“The i360 is the 21st century interpretation of a pier.

“We are a pretty small organisation so we are running a number of events rather than making a major splash with one event.

“I really hope that that the interest generated in the pier will mean one day we will find ourselves with the i360 and a new pier.

“The new pier is beyond restoration but a new pier alongside the i360 is our hope.

“It would be wonderful if we could do that within ten years, it’s just about feasible in that sort of time.”

Events can be booked through the West Pier Trust website from early September.

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