NOSTALGIA: Special milestone for Eastbourne landmark

A photograph of the very first pier shows the structure stretching out to sea
A photograph of the very first pier shows the structure stretching out to sea

As the 150th anniversary of Eastbourne Pier approaches this month, Nicholas Howell from the town’s Heritage Centre continues his look back at the history of the seafront landmark and promotes a new exhibition.

He takes up the story in 1925 when the shoreward end of the pier was widened for the construction of a Music Pavilion seating 900 people and from that date summer concerts and shows were put on.

He writes, “This was superseded with ballroom dancing in 1946, boasting ‘the best sprung floor in Eastbourne’ but in the 1960s it was converted into an amusement arcade with slot machines, bingo and, later, a soft play area and remained so until 2015 when it was destroyed by a major fire.

“In World War Two, a Bofors anti-aircraft gun was stationed on the pier and a large piece of decking was removed to prevent enemy troops landing and coming ashore, which after the war was replaced with concrete.

“The pier has had a number of different entrance buildings, the first two kiosks were replaced in 1912 and again in 1951 with a kidney-shaped roof structure reflecting the then fashionable Festival of Britain style. Lastly, in 1991 the present entrance was built to reflect the Victorian style of the pier.

“150 years of Eastbourne Pier is on now at the Heritage Centre at 2 Carlisle Road. It is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 2-5pm, Friday 10am-1pm, Saturday 10am-4pm. Entry to the exhibition is included in the admission to the centre.”

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