This has to be one of the most unlikely of invasion landing spots but in 1940 the pier at Brighton was considered a potential point of arrival for a Nazi landing force.
Situated in Brighton on the south coast of England, the pier is formally known as the Brighton Marine Palace and Pier. The structure was informally renamed by its owners in 2000 as Brighton Pier. It is the only ‘intact’ pier in Brighton as the West Pier closed in 1975 and was subsequently burnt down in a fire.
The first Brighton pier was the ‘Royal Suspension Chain Pier,’ built in 1823 and was designed by Captain Samuel Brown of the Royal Navy. He was an early pioneer in the use of chain and in the design and construction of suspension bridges. His bridge coexisted with the ‘West Pier’ but before the Palace Pier could be built the builders had to agree to the dismantling of the Royal Suspension Chain Pier. This was agreed but before any work could start it was preceded by a storm in 1896, which did the job for them.
The Brighton pier we see today was opened in May 1899 at a cost of £27,000 with a spectacular display of illuminated arches lit up by 3,000 light bulbs. It is still lit up today but now with 67,000 lights. However, things have changed since it was opened in 1899 and now most of the bulbs are designated as ‘environmentally friendly.’
This is a ‘pleasure pier’ unlike the chain structure it replaced which was used for the landing of boats. It entertains millions of visitors during the height of the summer season with its arcades, cafes and restaurants.
Its modern attractions are very different to more sober times such as in 1905 when machines such as, the Lady Palmist and Punch Ball existed.
There used to be a bandstand, theatre and Winter Gardens all of which have now gone or been turned into other attractions.
The pier used to have ‘Piermasters,’ with Captain Weeks being the longest serving person holding this august post. He served from 1928 – 1955 and wore a gold braded uniform with three rings on the sleeve and a row of war ribbons on his chest. He led a team of men known as his ‘crew.’ Their jobs were to keep the pier neat and tidy. Today Brighton Pier employs over 500 people to do the work but without the ‘grandeur’ of Captain Weeks.
In 1940, the pier was closed as the War Office saw it as a place where a ‘seaborne invasion’ could potentially take place. To prevent anything like this happening they ordered part of the pier to be dismantled and the rest to be put under continual guard day and night.
It is open daily but is subject to closure in severe weather. The pier is one of the most photographed and filmed locations for TV and cinema appearing in dramas, commercials and films.
Brighton Pier is a popular destination for people down from London on a day out and offers fun for all the family.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Goldsmith Recreation Ground, Eridge Road, Crowborough
East Sussex, England, TN6 2TN
+44 (0)1892 664 827
- Address: 3 Madeira Drive, Brighton, The City of Brighton and Hove BN2 1PS, UK
- GPS: 50.8194374385284,-0.1362996216095098
- Phone: 0044 (0)1273 609 361
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: BN2 1TW
- Entrance Fees: Free Access (to the pier)
- Disabled Access: Good
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Jacqueline Abromeit