The West Pier - Introduction

The Argus: Static HTML image The 30-year battle to save the West Pier is dead in the water.

Any hopes of restoring the Grade I listed former masterpiece were finally ended in July 2004 when English Heritage finally declared it beyond repair.

Their verdict comes after two devastating years during which the pier was battered by storms and ravaged by fires, leaving the historic structure as no more than several tonnes of scrap metal.

The Government-backed conservation body's verdict is surely the final nail in the Grand Old Lady's coffin after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) made a shock decision in January 2004 to withdraw its multi-million pound promise to fund its restoration.

Having pledged around £14m to restore the Grade I listed monument to its Twenties heyday, HLF announced it was pulling the plug after requests for a further £5m by owners the West Pier Trust and developers St Modwens.

Although Brighton and Hove city councillors gave the green light to controversial &pound30m plans to restore the pier in February 2003, its future already looked bleak.

The ageing structure finally began to collpase into the sea after it was twice struck by storms either side of Christmas 2002.

The beleaguered pier was then left a charred skeleton after a huge fire ripped through the historic pavilion in March 2003, followed by an even more devastating blaze that May.

Its fate was finally sealed following the collapse of the concert hall during freak storms in June 2004.

For more information, analysis and to see pictures from the storms and fire go to the links at the top of this page.