Hove’s West Pier

A mere shadow of its once splended self, all that remains is the charred carcass of what was a beautiful Pier.  I grew up in Hove, the beach/Seafront played a huge part in my growing up years, it is still a big part of what I do now.

As a young boy this beach “The West Pier beach” was one of my favorites.  When I used to use this beach in the early 70’s the Pier was a fully working concern, with different shows and amusements, the Pier decks were heaving with visitors and locals alike.

We as a gang of lads would cycle down and along the Hove Lawns and esplanade to grab a good position on the beach for the long hot day ahead.  The bikes were piled up, the towels were down, the sun was getting hotter and sea beckoned.  It was always best when the tide was out or going out, because we could swim or wade out to the end of the Pier with our feet just being able to touch the sand bed below.  On the turn of the tide, we would catch the waves and body surf back to shore again and again.  Long hot lovely days…

New Years Day a few years back now, I was up early 5.30am, the local radio station news declared that, the West Pier had been Arson attacked and was burning beyond control.  After a quick cup of coffee, “Mac the Jack” was leashed up and we walked the mile or so to the Pier from home in the wind and rain, passing homeward bound party goer’s still drinking and hugging each other exchanging “Happy New Years” with me.  As we approached, It was a sad sight indeed, the Pier’s long cast iron legs held he burning old lady out of the water, so she just slowly burned until all that remained was the metal skeleton that is now a huge tourist attraction

A small party of early risers were watching the Pier burn as I wondered on to the beach with the dog, tears were shed and some were gathering timber embers that had dropped into the sea and washed up the beach from the flaming wreck.  Most people were still in bed or recovering from the night before parties, blissfully unaware that the poor old girl ” The West Pier ” was dying.  What you see in my picture is all that remains now, the rest of the Pier that linked the shore to the remaining  carcass was severally storm damaged and had to be demolished for safety reasons.

I managed to take this shot of the Pier from the eleventh floor at ” Sussex Heights ” overlooking the beach and Pier, whilst working in an apartment.

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