Saturday, February 10

Photo hunters - broken

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.


Sacred Suzie said...

Amazing how something so broken can also be so beautiful, turned to a stained glass skeleton against the bright-coloured sky. Beautiful post, I am so glad that I saw it.

Waspgoddess said...

Suzie, thank you for that. She is still beautiful, isn't she? And speaking of beauty, your new look is great :)

Edvard Moonke said...

this is so strange... I've just come back from Brighton this weekend and took a photo from that very same position (the sky didn't look that good though).

tnchick said...

Beautiful. It doesn't really look broken if you didn't know what it was... The skeleton of it is still beautiful.

Ryan Velting said...

well welcome to photo hunters! (I have only done it twice i think).

Beautiful shot!! Love the color!

Have a great week.


Waspgoddess said...

EM: that is a weird coincidence. Are you going to tell us all a wicked tale of your adventures here..? Look forward to it :)

tnchick and ryan: thanks for visiting, it's lovely to "see" new people :)

Edvard Moonke said...

believe it or not, I was going to write about the West Pier and have that picture (taken on Saturday!)... ah well, never mind.

I was surprised to read on the sign that the wreck is considered a 'blot on the town's civic pride'.

kris said...

a gorgeous first, i love it!

Waspgoddess said...

EM: please write about the pier anyway, I'd love to see your pictures and read your take on it (well Brighton in general).

Kris: hello, and welcome. Thanks for your sweet comment :)

Desert Diva said...

Welcome to the Photo Hunt. Sometimes "broken" can be beautiful, the silhouette of the pier against the sunset is incredible. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!