Brighton Pier
The Brighton Marine Palace and Pier is a pleasure pier in Brighton, England. It is generally known as the Palace Pier for short, but has been informally renamed Brighton Pier since 2000 by its owners, the Noble Organisation, in an attempt to suggest that it is Brighton's only pier. The West Pier was its rival but was closed in 1975 and was subsequently severely damaged by fires and storms, with the remaining iron structure being partially demolished in 2010.

Work began on the Palace Pier in 1891 and it opened in May 1899 after costing a record £27,000 to build. This was Brighton's third pier. A condition to be met by its builders, in exchange for permission to build, was that the first, The Royal Suspension Chain Pier of 1823, which had fallen into a state of disrepair, was to be demolished. They were saved this task by a storm which largely destroyed the Chain Pier. A concert hall opened two years later, and by 1911 this had become a theatre . During World War II the pier was closed and some decking removed as a security precaution. Summer shows with stars such as Dick Emery, Tommy Trinder and Doris and Elsie Waters were held in the theatre until the 1970s. During a storm in 1973, a 70-ton barge moored at the pier's landing stage broke loose and began to damage the pier head, particularly the theatre. Despite fears that the pier would be destroyed, the storm eased and the barge was removed. The damaged theatre was never used again. In 1986 the theatre was removed, on the understanding that it would be replaced. This has not happened, and the present seaward end building looks fairly modern in comparison with the rest of the structure, supporting a domed amusement arcade and several fairground rides, including several thrill rides, children's rides, roller coasters and a log flume. A bomb planted by the IRA near the pier in 1994 was defused by a controlled explosion. The pier had signs reading "Brighton Pier" attached to it in 2000, although this change is not recognised by the National Piers Society or many of the residents of Brighton and Hove. The local newspaper, The Argus , still generally refers to the structure as the Palace Pier. The Palace Pier suffered a large fire on 4 February 2003 but the damage was limited and most of the pier was able to reopen the next day. This was a fraught period for Brighton's piers, with much damage occurring to the West Pier (of 1866) shortly before and after this event. In 2004 the Brighton Marine Palace Pier Company (owned by the Noble Organisation), admitted an offence of breaching public safety under the Health and Safety at Work Act and had to pay fines and costs of £37,000 after a fairground ride was operated with part of its track missing. Judge Nicholas Ainley, passing sentence at Hove Crown Court, said that inadequate procedures were to blame for the fact that nothing had been done to alert staff or passengers that the ride would be dangerous to use. As a result, the current management, none of whom were employed at the time of the incident, began a detailed new training programme and now employ a full-time health and safety manager. The pier was listed at Grade II* on 20 August 1971. As of February 2001, it was one of 70 Grade II*-listed buildings and structures, and 1,218 listed buildings of all grades, in the city of Brighton and Hove.

Cultural references
The pier features prominently in the 1971 film, Carry On at Your Convenience , and it is frequently shown iconically to "set" film and television features in Brighton, for example in scenes in Mirrormask , The Persuaders , the Doctor Who serial The Leisure Hive (1980) and the 2007 film, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street . Much earlier on in 1896 the pier was also shown in many silent films. R.W. Paul shot the iconic film, On Brighton Beach, which included both the Palace Pier and the West Pier. Palace Pier is the title of a novel by Keith Waterhouse, set in Brighton, and it is the setting for a scene in the Graham Greene novel Brighton Rock . In 2010, the Palace Pier was the setting for part of an episode of Midsomer Murders , "The Sword of Guillaume".

  • 1998 National Piers Society" Pier of the Year


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Building Activity

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