History Of The Pier | Brighton Pier

History

Brighton Pier has been through the wars (literally) but at 1,722ft long and acknowledged as the finest pier ever built, we now offer traditional seaside balanced with the excitement and pace of the modern day. Find out here how history has helped us to become who we are today.

  • 1823

    1823

    Brighton’s first pier was the old chain pier which was primarily used as a landing stage for passenger ships that sailed from Dieppe in France. A 2d fee was introduced to enter the pier and kiosks selling souvenirs & confectionary arrived as well as entertainment stalls with fortune tellers & sillhouettist.

  • 1824-1834

    1824-1834 The pier was struck by multiple storms causing irreparable damage.
  • 1889

    1889

    The Pier was bought by the Marine Palace & Pier Company in 1889 however later that in December the pier was destroyed by a mighty storm which led to the Pier being rebuilt entirerly.



  • 1889 – 1898

    1889 – 1898 The old pier was washed away in a raging storm & caused serious damage to the new Palace pier construction.
  • 1899

    1899

    On the 20th May 1899 the Brighton Marine Palace & Pier opened with a grand ceremony. The pier cost 27,000 to build (the equivalent of over £2 million today) and on opening night 3,000 light bulbs illuminated the pier.

  • 1905

    1905

    A collection of amusement machines were installed on the Palace Pier including ‘The Lady Palmist’ & ‘Punch Ball’ machines.

  • 1907

    1907

    Brighton Pier Concert hall opened.

  • 1928

    1928 Captain weeks takes the helm as Pier master. He wore a gold braided uniform with three rings on his sleeve and a row of war ribbons on his chest. Him and his team – known as his crew looked after the pier daily and kept it maintained.
  • 1932

    1932

    Brighton Pier introduces their very own Dodgems & Big Wheel.

  • 1940

    1940

    The Pier was under strict instruction from the war office to close in May 1940 as it could potentially be a used for sea-borne invasion forces. An entire section was removed & it was put under guard at all times.

  • 1955

    1955

    Captain Weeks retires and earns the title of the longest serving pier master.

  • 1971

    1971

    The pier was listed as a Grade II building on 20th August.

  • 1980s

    1980s New style arcade machines including Space Invaders & Virtual reality machines were introduced slowly phasing out more traditional machines.
  • 1984

    1984

    New management made the pier free to visit, put out free deck chairs & new food outlets including traditional fish & chips.

  • 2000’s

    2000’s

    Heston Blumenthal declared that Brighton Pier is the ‘Spiritual home of fish & chips' whilst on a trip to film a one of special documentary called Heston’s Fishy Feasts.

  • 2010

    2010

    The Midsummer Murders episode “The sword of Guillaume” was filmed on Brighton Pier with the house of horrors setting the scene for a grisly discovery.

  • 2016

    2016

    There are now 67,000 lights illuminating Brighton Pier each night (don’t worry they are long life & energy saving) and Brighton pier employs 400 people from around the world playing a major part in Brighton’s economy.

  • 1823

    1823

    Brighton’s first pier was the old chain pier which was primarily used as a landing stage for passenger ships that sailed from Dieppe in France. A 2d fee was introduced to enter the pier and kiosks selling souvenirs & confectionary arrived as well as entertainment stalls with fortune tellers & sillhouettist.

  • 1824-1834

    1824-1834 The pier was struck by multiple storms causing irreparable damage.
  • 1889

    1889

    The Pier was bought by the Marine Palace & Pier Company in 1889 however later that in December the pier was destroyed by a mighty storm which led to the Pier being rebuilt entirerly.



  • 1889 – 1898

    1889 – 1898 The old pier was washed away in a raging storm & caused serious damage to the new Palace pier construction.
  • 1899

    1899

    On the 20th May 1899 the Brighton Marine Palace & Pier opened with a grand ceremony. The pier cost 27,000 to build (the equivalent of over £2 million today) and on opening night 3,000 light bulbs illuminated the pier.

  • 1905

    1905

    A collection of amusement machines were installed on the Palace Pier including ‘The Lady Palmist’ & ‘Punch Ball’ machines.

  • 1907

    1907

    Brighton Pier Concert hall opened.

  • 1928

    1928 Captain weeks takes the helm as Pier master. He wore a gold braided uniform with three rings on his sleeve and a row of war ribbons on his chest. Him and his team – known as his crew looked after the pier daily and kept it maintained.
  • 1932

    1932

    Brighton Pier introduces their very own Dodgems & Big Wheel.

  • 1940

    1940

    The Pier was under strict instruction from the war office to close in May 1940 as it could potentially be a used for sea-borne invasion forces. An entire section was removed & it was put under guard at all times.

  • 1955

    1955

    Captain Weeks retires and earns the title of the longest serving pier master.

  • 1971

    1971

    The pier was listed as a Grade II building on 20th August.

  • 1980s

    1980s New style arcade machines including Space Invaders & Virtual reality machines were introduced slowly phasing out more traditional machines.
  • 1984

    1984

    New management made the pier free to visit, put out free deck chairs & new food outlets including traditional fish & chips.

  • 2000’s

    2000’s

    Heston Blumenthal declared that Brighton Pier is the ‘Spiritual home of fish & chips' whilst on a trip to film a one of special documentary called Heston’s Fishy Feasts.

  • 2010

    2010

    The Midsummer Murders episode “The sword of Guillaume” was filmed on Brighton Pier with the house of horrors setting the scene for a grisly discovery.

  • 2016

    2016

    There are now 67,000 lights illuminating Brighton Pier each night (don’t worry they are long life & energy saving) and Brighton pier employs 400 people from around the world playing a major part in Brighton’s economy.

MORE INFO

The new pier was originally named The Brighton Marine Palace and was designed by Richard St George Moore (1858 - 1926).

Work started in the Palace Pier in November 1881 however the enormity of the project wasn't realised and the developers had to request permission from the government to allow extra time to complete the build.

In 1896 disaster struck as a raging storm washed away the old Chain Pier causing serious damage to the partly built Palace Pier. The future of the Palace Pier was in question when The Marine Palace and Pier company admitted defeat and were looking to liquidate the company however at the last hour Sir James Howard offered financial help. Intensive building work continued for three years before the Palace Pier was finally opened in a grand ceremony on the 20th May 1899.

Maintaining Brighton Pier is a continuous operation which is managed on a daily basis by a maintenance team called Deck Hands. Painting Brighton Pier in its entirety takes three months to complete, this task is executed every year. Divers are employed to survey and maintain the steel substructure which supports the superstructure. Millions of pounds have been invested in the maintenance of Brighton Pier over the past decade.

At 1,722 ft long and acknowledged as the finest pier ever built, Brighton Pier (a Grade 2* listed building) now offers all the swagger and style of tradition balanced with the pace and excitement of today.

In the last ten years, millions of pounds have been invested into the maintenance and redevelopment of Brighton Pier. In 2006 Brighton Pier shipped two of the most famous thrill rides all the way from Italy. Air Race and The Booster have attracted thrill seekers from around the country. The Booster lets you experience the force of over 3.6G’s in 2.8 seconds, at over 130 feet in the air it rotates you 360 degrees before plunging back towards Brighton Pier.

Now firmly established as a pier of the 21st century with the charm of yester-year combined with modern retailing and entertainment facilities, we continue to preserve the historic structure whilst ensuring we still attract millions of visitors to enjoy the queen of all piers. We have recently embarked on a multi-million pound project to ensure the substructure is preserved and secure as well as taking care of the marine environment by clearing debris from the sea bed so that the marine environment can thrive. Above the deck the latest video games, thrill rides and retail shops ensure that our customers experience the best of seaside entertainment. Our Palm Court Restaurant remains the "Spiritual Home" of fish and chips and is on par with the very best restaurants in Britain. The media revolution has not passed us by with wi-fi access, Twitter, Facebook and website all playing their role in spreading the message that it is still ‘fun all year on Brighton Pier!

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