Exotic Engineering: How pleasure piers became Oriental fantasies – 29th June 2023

A talk by Kathryn Ferry
Thursday 29th June 2023.
Orientalism became a key theme in seaside architecture during the nineteenth century and this was most evident in the design of piers. Toll houses, kiosks and grand entertainment pavilions were all built with copious domes that gave them a uniquely exotic flavour. For Victorian holidaymakers, strolling along the pier was like being transported to a faraway destination reminiscent of the Arabian Nights. This talk will look at how the trend began on Brighton’s West Pier and spread around the coast before culminating in the gloriously over-the-top theatre on Brighton Palace Pier.
Kathryn Ferry is a historian who specialises in the architecture and culture of the British seaside. She wrote her PhD on Owen Jones, a Victorian architect who introduced the British public to Islamic design, and has most recently published ‘Seaside 100: The History of the British Seaside in 100 Objects’. She regularly contributes to television and radio programmes and is media officer for the National Piers Society.
This lecture is part of the 2023 Year of the Pier celebrations.
National Piers Society Year of the Pier  https://piers.org.uk/event/ 
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