Disco inferno
March 28, 2003 2:57 AM   Subscribe

Brighton West Pier is on fire. Could this be the 'final end' for this historic UK landmark?
posted by i_cola (28 comments total)
Didn't it catch light a few weeks back as well?
posted by twine42 at 3:12 AM on March 28, 2003

Yup. Damn.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:15 AM on March 28, 2003

That was the other pier, twine42. We really know how to take care of our history. Bleugh.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 3:34 AM on March 28, 2003

Of course, if it had any sense of theatrical duty it would have been burning during the night for more impressive pictures. Like Southend peir did.

They're looking to blame an arsonist (can't imagine why /sarcasm) but what self respecting / self protecting arsonist starts work at 9am?
posted by twine42 at 4:35 AM on March 28, 2003

Quite. Pier-hating arsonists must keep strange hours. Some muppet must have started the present fire on the West Pier deliberately, whilst there's enough machinery/electrical kit on the Palace Pier for the recent fire to have been an accident. There's been talk of restoring the West Pier for years, yet nothing ever seems to happen. Even less likely to happen now one would imagine. Sad.
posted by squealy at 4:40 AM on March 28, 2003

One of the links above mentioned that they were going to start work next year, although I appriciate that next year never comes.

I'm looking for pictures of the Southend Pier fire of '76, but i can't find any. It was pretty impressive from the photos my dad had in his office... All at night too...

Are my priorites wrong? ;)
posted by twine42 at 4:44 AM on March 28, 2003

Thanks, Pretty Generic, I was worried that my second favorite Fish and Chips joint was gone... but historic or not, the old pier was a wreck.
posted by zaelic at 4:45 AM on March 28, 2003

Here they both are, in all their past glory. From (what looks like) a work of love on British piers, which plep must have already linked to at some time.

P.S. I do believe we're getting away with this not-exactly-on-the-scale-of-the-WTC disaster, before all the Murricans wake up. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:54 AM on March 28, 2003

I've just been down there, watching. It's very sad: lots of gloomy people standing watching, including the fire brigades who can't do anything because there's no way to get out there. There's a wonderful playground on the beach by the end, and I've spent a lot of happy afternoons there with my son, looking out at this lovely ruined thing. Every evening at sunset hundreds of birds come to meet there, and watching them flock around the sky is one of the great pleasures of a Brighton evening. It's all too sad.
posted by bibizee at 4:59 AM on March 28, 2003

The talk at the seafront this morning was of arson but I'm not convinced yet. There hasn't been a drop of rain in Brighton for about 2 weeks and the weather has been sunny and warm with a decent breeze so the conditions are good for a fire to take hold easily. The pier has been home to thousands of birds for nearly 30 years so there's a lorra guano for fuel too.

Mig: Not a major disaster granted, but if Coney Island went up it'd get a post. And it gives me a chance to play news photographer ;-)
posted by i_cola at 5:04 AM on March 28, 2003

And a bloody good one too, mate. This is what I come to MeFi for. No, wait, that's going a bit too far.

My brother and I were once literally kicked out of the West Pier for pushing on the push-the-penny machines. It's the only time I've ever actually felt anything on the seat of my pants - interpret that as you will. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:07 AM on March 28, 2003

I come to MeFi for stories about ass-kicking ;-)

More pix from the local 'paper.
posted by i_cola at 5:09 AM on March 28, 2003

PROOF! We have proof that he's not really from Portugal. ;)
posted by twine42 at 5:12 AM on March 28, 2003

Erm... if the peir is colapsed in two places then how did the arsonist get out there?
posted by twine42 at 5:14 AM on March 28, 2003

btw, i was an exchange student in brighton in 94.
posted by arf at 5:25 AM on March 28, 2003

Erm... if the peir is colapsed in two places then how did the arsonist get out there?

[ I'd make a joke about that line of thought being similar to American war plans in Iraq, but this isn't the time or place. ]

Sigh. Was last in Brighton last year, after the collapse, and the poor West Pier was looking very sad. The really sad thing being that the fuckers who vandalised it had more basic initiative than the people who'd been planning for donkeys' years to restore it. How terribly British.
posted by riviera at 5:43 AM on March 28, 2003

I was idly saving the BBC Brighton webcam images as they updated, from 11am - I've strung them together as a not-very-consistent slideshow.
posted by Kevan at 5:45 AM on March 28, 2003

I love(d) that pier. I don't know what it was like at peak, but I love it for the twisted, decaying, mysterious thing that it is, and its general brooding demeanour. I also think it must have looked fantastic when it was all new.

This is tantamount to a self-post, but here's a heavily altered photo of the pier, which my significant other produced at some time in the last couple of years. I just feel that the image goes well with the title of this post ...
posted by walrus at 5:49 AM on March 28, 2003

Miguel :- Thanks for your confidence, but I don't believe I linked that one before. ;) So thanks for the link! And, as thanks, get a load of these lighthouses.
posted by plep at 6:14 AM on March 28, 2003

The National Piers Society has some good stuff...
posted by plep at 6:18 AM on March 28, 2003

The word in Brighton now is that we got hit by a stray US missile...
posted by i_cola at 8:12 AM on March 28, 2003

"Pick a day, any day; I slam my door, throw myself headlong onto my bed and split a vast Brueghelian scream over the silent semi. It shatters and cascades like a Methuselah of bad champagne over the house in a Bristol suburb where I live with my parents and the dog. My parents look at each other quickly, each pretending not to have heard it. The dog whimpers in its sleep; it's having a bad dream. So am I. It's called LIVING IN FUCKING BRISTOL."

Ah, anyone remember Julie Burchill, before she actually could start giving real grief to Brighton Council?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:22 AM on March 28, 2003

i_cola, whatever reason, saddam will pay!
posted by arf at 8:35 AM on March 28, 2003

Update: The wind seems to have changed direction & the whole of central Brighton looks very fuzzy & smells smokey.

No more sunshine for us...
posted by i_cola at 8:58 AM on March 28, 2003

New Walkers crisps flavour - Smokey Brighton..
posted by twine42 at 9:30 AM on March 28, 2003

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