When we first moved to Brighton in the winter of 2010 it was particularly cold, and there was snow on the beach. I went down with my camera and took some photographs of the West Pier – I knew I would use them for something, but didn’t know what.
Two and a half years later, after a long search for restaurant premises, we found our site, which just happened to be almost directly opposite the pier, and on researching the history of the site, discovered that there was formerly a private members club on the site where the restaurant now stands. It was called ‘The New Club’, and was built in 1876, a year after the pier was built.
One of the photographs ended up being the image for the homepage on our website, and we used another for a postcard which we give out to customers.
We feel very fortunate to have such a great view of the most photographed and iconic structure in Brighton, and have met many people because of our proximity to it – members of the public, photographers, journalists, members of the West Pier Trust and those involved in the construction of the i360.
The pier is gradually collapsing into the sea, but will still be there for at least a few more years to come, and there is a lot of hope for the future, with the i360 observation tower currently being built, along with the restoration of the seafront arches, local artists moving in, and the prospect of a new 21st century pier eventually being built. This will all help to regenerate our area, the Western Seafront, which has been in decline for many years. So, although some see the pier as a symbol of neglect, to many of us it represents a brighter future.
For more information on the West Pier and the i360: