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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Death knell for another pier

Just weeks after the historic pier at Weston-super-Mare was destroyed by fire, we lose another one, Fleetwood Pier in Lancashire.
I am a great admirer of the historic pleasure piers. It's very sad how some of them have been allowed to fall into disrepair and virtually left to rot, while others have been turned into nothing more than an amusement arcade.
I was lucky enough to be one of the last visitors to have a walk down Brighton's west pier a few years ago. It was closed except to organised groups, and in a poor state of repair. This was Britain's only grade 1 listed pier. Sadly it was destroyed by fire amid rumours and claims of rivalry and competitiveness with Brighton's other pier, the lairy and commercialised pier formerly known as the Palace Pier, and now known as "Brighton Pier".
Why oh why can't lottery funding be extended to preserve any of the few remaining piers which need to be restored and reinstated?
The reason they are so important is linked to our fairly recent history when thousands of day trippers would swarm down the piers on their rare days off from work (the original bank holidays), and when the wealthy would parade up and down in their finery.
Along with the marvellous art deco pools, these are a hark back to a different time and equally important as some of the stately homes and other listed buildings.
To read about the old west pier in Brighton check out this site
If you want to learn more about the historic piers join the National Piers Society.

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