BRIGHTON WEST PIER
Newsletter to Members
It is a while since I have sent a members’ newsletter. I had hoped to do so early in the year but thanks to delays on the Rock Shop work (see below) and the fact that a public announcement could not be made until contracts were signed, meant that I was obliged to delay sending this until now.
As we’ve been reporting with painful regularity, the period since 2008 has been a very challenging environment in which to raise funds necessary to complete the i360 funding package. However, our partners, Marks Barfield Architects (MBA), continue to work hard to close the gap and demonstrate their commitment to the project by helping the Trust financially and funding some major work which has just started on site (see below). MBA, the Council and the Trust are very focussed on delivering the scheme and are making progress. We are still optimistic that the i360 will become Brighton’s next major new attraction.
Pier Development Interest
You may have read in the local press that a Brighton developer, Mike Holland, expressed interest in rebuilding the pier. It’s well known that the Trust’s priority is to deliver the i360 with its partners as we strongly believe that a new pier could not be viable without the i360. In the long term we hope the site will boast the i360 and a new West Pier. In the meantime we are always pleased to talk to people with solid, funded proposals for the pier and on that basis opened discussions with Mr Holland. We asked Mr Holland to provide basic details of his proposed scheme including statements on design, activities and funding. As a charity with objects and legal responsibilities the Trust could hardly be expected to give Mr Holland carte blanche. In fact it is hard to imagine how any organisation would be prepared to accept a proposal for its site without knowing anything about it. He was not prepared to provide the Trust with this information and instead decided to withdraw his interest. The manner in which this was reported in the media could give the impression that the Trust was not willing to work with Mr Holland. That is not the case at all.
We would have been very keen to do so had really practicable proposals been put to us.
Local members will have noticed the parlous condition of the Rock Shop which has been closed and hoarded for three years. The Trust’s onsultant engineers, Hemsley Orrell Partnership, recommended that the building should be carefully dismantled and stored. As this work will be part of i360 construction (the Rock Shop will be restored and reinstated in situ, along with a replica of its sister on the west side of the root end) MBA is funding the work. We will also use the opportunity to make improvements to the root end. The disused 1990s kiosks will be removed,
hording will be erected on the west side to match that on the east and the Heras fencing will be renewed. The aim is to tidy up the site whilst not removing valued views of the remains of the pier.
West Pier Fragments Sales
The sales resumed in December and ran through January and February. There is still a lot of material left to buy although what remains are mostly quite large pieces. Dates for future sales are announced in the news section of our website www.westpier.co.uk, on Twitter (@WestPierTrust) and Facebook (Official West Pier, Brighton). Proceeds from the sales are designated for heritage and education use. A local photographer, Julia Claxton, recently took some excellent photographs during a sale, they can be seen at http://photography.juliaclaxton.net/westpierrelics . Meanwhile, the greater part of the cast iron salvaged from the pier in the late 1990s was removed before the sales started to safer storage for use by the Trust in the future. This material is in better condition than the fragments that have been for sale and includes two complete original 1866 kiosks which we hope to restore and reinstate in the future.
West Pier at the Fishing Museum
The western arch at the Fishing Museum has for several years housed a small exhibition of West Pier artefacts. The exhibition has now closed in order for the space to be refurbished and re-launched to explain the broader history of the Brighton seafront. New elements will include material about Brighton Swimming Club and Punch & Judy. We are hoping, in partnership with the Fishing Museum and Fedora Punch & Judy, to build on the success of last May’s Punch & Judy exhibition and expand what we offer to schools. There will be a new education room above the western arch where teaching sessions can take place throughout the year. We have also been working with other small Brighton heritage organisations, led by Brighton Museum, to find ways of working more collaboratively thus reaching more schools and offering more effective and
attractive educational packages.
Dip Your Toe
BWPT is collaborating with a local Arts Council funded group which will be putting on beach hut based events in May throughout Brighton – ‘Dip Your Toe’. One of the six huts will be sited on the West Pier beach, another by the Fishing Museum. The West Pier hut will house
Vivascope, a camera obscura http://boxoffice.brightonfringe.org/event.aspx?evID=4209These events will be celebrating the maiden voyage of the Lone Twin boat, part of the Cultural Olympiad. www.dipyourtoe.co.uk
Radio 4 – Nature
On 17thand 19th January there was an edition of Nature on Radio 4 about the West Pier starlings, you can listen again on
This year’s AGM will on 15th November at 6pm in the Hilton Brighton Metropole.
If you are still receiving your newsletter by post and would prefer it emailed to you please let me know by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org . Emailing saves time and money but to ensure receipt, the two AGM mailings are sent to everyone by post.