The skeleton of what once was the glorious West Pier
This is my very first photo hunter challenge. I'm looking forward to having a weekly theme to work with, which I'm sure will really help get the creativity flowing, and make me look at my surroundings in a different light.
Broken... one of the first things that popped into my mind was the once beautiful West Pier in Brighton (where I live). I see what is left of her nearly every day when I walk along the seafront, and as this photo shows she is still magnificent in a way, but her spirit seems broken and she has also come to represent the broken dreams of those who have tried to restore it.
The pier first opened in 1866 and in her heyday she played host to over 2 million visitors every year. The pier became a cultural destination, sporting both a theatre and a concert hall. The famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova even performed here. In a way she became the perfect representation of Edwardian England.
The pier was forced to close during World War II, and when it reopened it had been transformed into an amusement pier, complete with ghost trains and a games hall. Her popularity faded over the years and was closed for good in 1975. In 1985 she was purchased for £100 by the Brighton West Pier Trust, and they had grand plans to restore her to her former glory. In 1989 the restoration project ground to a halt after the pier was badly damaged following the severe storms of 1987 and 1988. After finally receiving a grant in the late nineties things looked up, but it was not to be. In December 2002 the pier was again badly battered by another storm and partly collapsed into the sea. Only four months later, in March 2003 a fire ravaged what was left of it.
And now only the skeleton of her former glorious self remains. She plays host only to the tens of thousands of starlings that nest there and every night put on a dazzling aerobatic display as they cartwheel in perfect unison across the sky (if you look carefully you can see them in the photo just above the pier). But if I sit quietly on the water's edge on a calm night, it's not difficult to imagine that I can still hear the laughter, the music, the singing echoing across the water.