THIS year marks the 120th anniversary of the Brighton Palace Pier – and according to its resident fortune teller, it is set to keep the city entertained for at least another 120 more.

The pier opened in 1899, replacing the collapsed Chain Pier. By 1911 it was a bustling theatre venue. It closed briefly during the Second World War, but came back with a bang and has since become a centrepiece of the city.

It has featured in films from Carry On to Quadrophenia, and even made an appearance on a special edition 50 pence piece.

Today, the pier is a place for school trips, elderly couples, penny-pushing in the slot machines and hurtling down the helter-skelter.

Eric Slater, 75, is visiting from Chesterfield.

He said: “I used to come here years ago. It’s not changed a great deal. I’m taking in the sunshine and sea air just like I used to.”

He is eyeing up the model rifle range. “I used to be a hot-shot on these”, he said.

It’s decorated like a tiny slice of the wild west. A hoedown rings out, and a sign by a saloon door reads: “Can’t a fella git any peace around here?”

But there’s room for that here too.

“We’ve come for a bit of peace, quiet, and people watching,” said 80-year-old Terry Bulner. He is visiting from Lincoln with his wife Jeanette. They have been married for 57 years.

Terry said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it here. We’ve not tried the rides. But as you get older, seats are as important as anything. It’s an extremely popular place. We were last here 20 years ago, and it was exactly the same then.”

In the pier’s arcade, Viktor Kunszt and his wife Gabriella Cseto are playing the penny slot machines with their eight-year-old daughter Lilla. They have come from Hungary.

Viktor said: “There’s nothing like this in Budapest. We just haven’t seen this kind of thing before – maybe in the USA, but not in Hungary. We’ve been on the rides and we want to see everything.”

Further up the pier, fortune teller Ivor Fireman has foreseen the pier’s future. He has been reading tarot cards from his wagon here for 16 years.

Hand resting next to a deck of cards, he said: “One thing’s for sure. This place will last at least another 120 years.

“It’s a monument. It will stand the test of time: there will still be seagulls and people eating candyfloss.

“When people step on the pier, their character changes. They become louder, they feel like they’re out at sea or on holiday. This pier takes them somewhere nowhere else does.”