The view out to sea at Brighton is not complete without the wistful but beautiful sight of what remains of the iconic West Pier. It is a firm favourite of both locals and tourists but holds an eventful and dramatic history.
The West Pier was first opened in 1866. By 1916, it was a busy tourist attraction featuring a Pavilion (later converted into a 1,000 seat theatre) and 1400 seat Concert Hall. Indeed, the highest ever recorded figure of 2,074,000 paying visitors was recorded in 1919 (ref west pier trust website)
In 1975, the pier was closed to the public for safety reasons. After its closure, The West Pier Trust, who is committed to the preservation and celebration of the pier’s history, wanted people to still be able to enjoy the famous landmark. During the mid-1990’s, they began organising scheduled tours to allow visitors to experience and learn about the pier’s fascinating history. Mackley was instructed to construct a secure walkway to allow tourists safe access for the scheduled tours.
This week, Managing Director, Ben Hamer, donated two framed photographs to Rachel Clark, Chief Executive of the Trust to be put to good use (featured image). Mackley arranged for the aerial shots to be taken of the pier when the walkway was completed and when there was still so much to enjoy.
You can read more about the tour experience from someone who did it before disaster struck again and the storms damaged the pier beyond repair.
Part of the Mackley activities in 1995 was to deconstruct the original octagonal 1866 West Pier kiosk. The Trust is currently raising money to restore and reconstruct this pavilion on Brighton’s seafront. You can find out how to help them reach the funds required to carry out this work through their website.
Since our work on the pier in 1995, Mackley has maintained a familiar presence along Brighton’s seafront. In 2014 we managed the construction of the iconic British Airways i360 observation tower, a project that involved multiple designers, architects and contractors. Situated at the root end of the West Pier, it was so important that the new visitor centre, café, entrance kiosks and hard landscaping all matched the Victorian architectural style of the existing buildings.
You may have also seen the Mackley signs near Brighton Marina recently as we are currently constructing a new sea defence wall as part of the larger Black Rock Rejuvenation Scheme. Shingle recharge works have just been completed here too. While this was going on, the Beachfront Team asked us to reposition a couple of their new lifeguard towers, which we were only too pleased to help with.
We’re proud of the work that we have done in Brighton and with it being right on our doorstep, we hope to continue Mackley’s legacy and are keen to get involved with future developments to preserve and enhance this fantastic stretch of coastline.
18 May 2022