A bright future for Brighton’s most iconic landmark

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Mackley was pleased to support a local charity, the West Pier Trust, by assisting with a fundraising sale of architectural artefacts earlier this month.

Created in 1978, the West Pier Trust owns the West Pier on Brighton’s seafront, and the rights that attach to it.

For almost a century and a half the West Pier has been Britain’s most iconic pier. Renowned for its wonderful architectural style, it has been visited and enjoyed by millions. Even today with its sculptural remains casting an eerie beauty over the seafront, the West Pier is still the most photographed building in Brighton.

west-pier-salvage300pxA one-off sale on 2-3 July offered a rare and unique opportunity for people to purchase original pier cast iron fragments from the pier.

The sale was held at Mackley’s headquarters at Small Dole in West Sussex. As well as providing the location for the sale, Mackley provided manpower and machinery to help with moving the heavy items offered for sale which would make stunning interior decorative and ornamental fixtures for private or commercial properties. Pieces included brackets measuring approximately 1100mm x 900mm and columns approximately 3100mm long.

All proceeds from the sale went to the West Pier Trust’s designated heritage and education fund.

Following the sale, Rachel Clark, Chief Executive of the West Pier Trust, wrote to Mackley, saying: “Thank you very much for making everything so easy for us to hold the sale at Mackley at the weekend. The site was perfect – easy for the public to access and for us to use.

“We sold a useful amount and raised valuable funds towards the restoration of our kiosk as a heritage centre.

“I particularly want to thank you for lending us Shaun (Barkworth). His help carrying items and using the forklift was invaluable. But also his kind, thoughtful personality made him a delight to have as part of the team.”

Adrian Passos, Plant Manager at Mackley, said: We were pleased to be able to help the West Pier Trust.

“As a company we are committed to working in partnership with the people who live and work in the areas where we operate; to this end we support a wide range of local charities and community initiatives.

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The West Pier – an iconic landmark
The West Pier opened in 1866 as a simple promenade pier, but by the early twentieth century with the addition of a theatre and concert hall, it had become a thriving centre of seaside entertainment.

By the late 1920’s the fully developed West Pier was enjoying its glamorous heyday. With the outbreak of the Second World War, and the changed circumstances of its aftermath, the fortunes of the West Pier began to decline. As the fashion for foreign holidays took hold in the 50’s and 60’s, the neglected pier fell into disrepair.

Declared unsafe, the grand old lady was closed to the public in 1975. After years of seeking funding to restore the pier, the Trust was awarded a major Lottery grant and the restoration was about to begin in 2003 when the pier was destroyed in two arson attacks. The Lottery funding was withdrawn in 2004 and the future looked bleak.

west-pier-1360300pxA bright new future
Today, the West Pier Trust is proud landlord of British Airways i360 – a brilliant new attraction and a worthy successor in design and engineering terms to the West Pier.

At 162 metres high, and with an observation pod rising to 138 metres, the British Airways i360 will be the tallest observation tower outside London, offering a new perspective on the fun loving seaside city of Brighton.

It will be a new landmark for Brighton and re-establish the city’s reputation for innovative world-class architecture.

Without the i360 the West Pier site had no future. The i360 will regenerate the site, boost the city’s economy and makes a future new West Pier more, not less, likely.

14 July 2016

Posted in News.