Gallery "Derelict West Pier "
The Victorian era West Pier at Brighton was closed and inaccessible for twenty five years after being deemed unsafe. Cut off from land, it was abandoned to the elements and in the last two and a half decades its only visitors were the pigeons and sea birds that made it their home. In the winter months they were joined by some fifty thousand starlings and their flocks became a local feature. (more -->)
I still have memories of being taken on the pier in my childhood and I have watched its slow decline with sadness. I was granted access to photograph the very unsafe pier, until it collapsed into the sea. The remaining structure was subsequently burned down by boat-borne arsonists, whilst it was awaiting Heritage funds for restoration.
These images are not intended to be primarily documentary in nature. Although aspects of the now lost interiors have been documented in this work, this was secondary to my objective, which was to portray the emotions evoked by revisiting this one time icon of my childhood.
Inside, the pier showed ample evidence of its current residents (notably ankle deep guano) alongside fading memorabilia of bygone times and pastimes. The birds feature prominently in many of my images, not only because they had taken over residency of the pier, but also because on accessing this derelict and rather spooky structure I had instant flashbacks to Alfred Hitchcock's ˜The Birds", which I had seen as a youngster in an adjacent seafront cinema in 1963.