Eastbourne Pier: post-fire photos

Eastbourne Pier

Last week, Eastbourne, a sleepy seaside town on the South Coast of England, favoured by blue-rinsed holiday-makers, became national news when fire ravaged one of its main attractions. The 150-year-old Pier, which penetrates its coastline, caught alight at about 3.15pm on Wednesday. Word spread across social media like, well, wildfire, and by 4pm thousands of people lined the seafront to watch as smoke filled the Eastbourne skyline. Not long after that, the pier’s main dome, which housed a games arcade, was nothing more than a huge metal skeleton.

While the fire is being treated as suspicious by police, the pier is set to be rebuilt sooner rather than later. For now though, it remains a strange tourist attraction in its current state, not unlike Brighton’s old West Pier up the coast. We popped along to check out what it looked like a few days after the event and to find out a bit more about it. Here is a brief history of Eastbourne Pier.

Work began on the pier on 18 April 1866.

On New Year’s Day 1877 the landward half was swept away in a storm.

The pier is roughly 300 metres long and is built on stilts that rest in cups on the sea-bed, allowing the whole thing to move during rough weather.

It has a working camera obscura.

During WWII, part of the decking was removed and machine guns were installed. An anti-aircraft gun was also sited midway along the length of the pier.

The last of the traditional theatres on the pier was destroyed by fire in 1970. It was replaced by a nightclub and bar which remain to this day.

The aforementioned nightclub and bar are, and always have been, shit.

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Words and pictures by Bobby Townsend.