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Remains of Brighton's West Pier

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At one time, Brighton's Victorian West Pier (circa 1866) was considered one of the loveliest piers in Europe. It was destroyed in two arson attacks in 2003.
Remains of Brighton's Historic West Pier

The iron framework of Brighton's West Pier is all that remains after the pier was destroyed by two arson attacks in 2003.

©Ferne Arfin
Of the two Brighton Pier's, the West Pier was considered the classier. Many called it the finest pier ever built. In its heyday it had a theatre and concert hall, as well as a steamer landing stage, and was a masterpiece of lacy Victorial ironwork and glass. By 1975, it had fallen into disrepair and was derelict, although plans for its restoration were continually mooted about.

In 2002, a violent storm tore into the West Pier and broke its walkway in two. The following year, fire broke out on the pier and, having been brought under control, was reignited. Authorities attributed the fires to arson but no one has ever been charged. After the fire, there were plans to restore the pier and a trust exists to raise funds to do it but most local people, who mutter darkly about likely suspects of the arson, believe the pier will never be rebuilt. Today, all that remains is the graceful ironwork skeleton of part of the pier, battered on all sides by the sea.

A new plan to create i360, an observation tower that will take 100 visitors at a time to a height of 150 meters (nearly 500 feet) above sea level, is underway. Sponsors hope to begin construction in 2009 for completion sometime in 2010.

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