Saturday, 2 August 2014

Conflagration – Eastbourne Pier …


Fire engulfed our iconic Pier on Wednesday … smoke billowed upwards, the flames took hold and a great deal of the Grade II listed building was reduced to a shell …


… thankfully, as had not happened with Brighton West Pier and Hastings Pier, the fire was contained around the original ballroom – that in recent years housed gaming machines …



… so we have lost the middle third of the pier – but the fire-fighters did an amazing job at saving both of the ends … as piers usually burn along their length.


The Royal National Lifeboat Association sent lifeboats from various towns to help with the operation … as too the police, the coastguards and emergency services – it appears everyone was evacuated safely.



The Government has promised £2 million towards the restoration, while the Council are promising to get the repairs up and running as soon as the structure has passed its assessment.


Businesses face a major loss of trade at the start of the busiest month of the year for the pier and town … a benevolent fund has been set up, the Council is seeing how it can facilitate the traders, while the town seems to be rallying round.  Obviously it’s early days yet.
 
1900s photo

Eastbourne Pier was opened in 1870 … work had begun in April 1865 … on New Year’s Day 1877 the landward half was swept away in a storm – nothing changes then!



There was a concert hall and main pavilion – the structure that was reduced to a pile of metal work this week – date from 1888; another pavilion was added in 1925.


In 1899 a large building (what – is not disclosed!) was removed from the pier and taken, probably by train – but possibly by sea and then up the River Ouse, to Lewes (our (East Sussex) county town) for use as a cattle shed.


Camera Obscura tower

In 1901, Neil Ridley’s camera obscura (an early precursor of the camera) was housed in a new building on the pier.  It was the largest in the country and is thought to be the only one on a pier in the world: a rare surviving example of a once popular attraction.



During WWII there was an order to blow up piers … however it was spared with gun platforms being installed in the theatre to fend off invasion.  The majority of the wooden decking was, at this time, also removed – concrete slabs replaced these later on.

Gattina's pictures: top two taken on Monday,
bottom two taken on Thursday, day after the fire

In 1945 the bandstand, erected in 1903, was removed.


The camera obscura fell into disuse in the 1960s but was restored in 2003 with a new stairway to provide access – fortunately this has not been damaged.


Eugenius Birch designed Eastbourne’s 1,000 foot long and 52 feet wide pier – he was a distinguished civil engineer, who designed 14 of the best piers in the country … including the two mentioned above.

 
Early 1900s showing the bandstand and pier

Paddle steamers operated from the pier along the coast, and even over to Boulogne, from 1906 until the outbreak of the second World War.




At the end of the pier various traditional theatres were built over the years – but after a fire in 1970 the latest was replaced by a nightclub and bar – which remain to this day.


Fishing licences operated from the end of the pier … and it was a strategic place to be to watch the Airborne Show, which happens in August each year …


Red Arrows flying past Eastbourne pier during
one of the August Airborne shows
The pier, one of the best in the country, has had an interesting history, full of changing fortunes … and in 2009 was upgraded from a Grade II to a Grade II* listed building, following a review by English Heritage.





The pier and seafront have been used in numerous films, tv programmes and adverts … including the remake of Brighton Rock, a 2010 crime film loosely based on Graham Greene’s 1938 novel.


Social media has come to the fore in the call out to see if the perpetrators can be found from the many photographs and videos that people will have filmed during the day, and particularly just before the fire started to the evacuation of the building … behavioural scientists may find some clues …

 
Eastbourne Pier entrance

My Wednesday started out quite quietly and continued on that way … with a trip out to Batemans (Rudyard Kipling’s home) with Gattina, who has been over from Belgium … she has great friends down here, so has a once a year visit.


Gattina and I at Batemans - a 'collage'

We’d met last year so had a comfortable day together ... chatting and wandering around Kipling’s gardens, estate and house.


We had coffee out there, then an early lunch!  Wandered around the magnificent orchard, admiring the flower borders, checking out the rose garden around the pond, and on to the working mill (2 afternoons a week) … but up to the mill stream, the oast houses …


Rose Garden leading to pond and on up to house

Then tea and a tour of the house but I returned on Thursday to check out the WW1 exhibition based around John, Kipling’s son, who was killed two days after the Irish Guards were deployed at Loos, France … and other pertinent letters, treasures or reminders …




We then after a warm day in beautiful surroundings thought we’d better get back to Eastbourne … only to be greeted by Anne, Gattina’s friend, with “Eastbourne Pier’s burning”!!!!


Another collage by Gattina

Gattina went in for supper and a glue to the tv – while I wandered home to be greeted by “Eastbourne Pier’s burning” from my neighbours … and another pair of ears and eyes, after a dash up the stairs, were glued to the tv …


These photos are from Gattina – thank you … and for an enjoyable day … with the information coming from the National Archives …


A day in the life of an Eastbourne blogger?!

A day in the life of a Belgian blogger in Eastbourne ... thanks Gattina!


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

60 comments:

Eddie Bluelights said...

How sad Hilary to see yet another pier struck with fire, albeit partially rescued.
A few years ago our's at Weston-Super-Mare was completely destroyed (for the second time) and is now rebuilt. :) Eddie

Janie Junebug said...

I'm so sorry about the pier, but I appreciate the excellent history you provided. I have been interested in Kipling's son since I saw "My Boy Jack" on Masterpiece Theater. Daniel Radcliffe played Jack. It was such a good, though sad, show. The unintentionally amusing part was that Kim Catrall played Kipling's American wife. Catrall is fairly tall and very robust looking. She towered over Daniel Radcliffe as if she were a giraffe.

Love,
Janie

Annalisa Crawford said...

Such a shame to see the pier up in flames like that.

Mike Goad said...

How unfortunate. Such a rich and interesting history!

Terra said...

How shocking to lose a bit of history in that way, at least much of the pier was saved. We have a pier where I live, we call it a wharf. I would like to visit Kipling's home.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

So sad about the fire, do they know what caused it? Meanwhile, you and your friend were having a lovely, interesting day of relaxation in a beautiful setting.

bazza said...

All of the UK's Victorian and Edwardian piers seem to be at great risk from fire and storm. They are such an integral part of most seaside towns and of childhood nostalgia. I remember being taken to Southend Pier and walking the mile-and-a quarter length and getting the train back! I think it's the world's longest pier.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Inger said...

It's so upsetting, isn't it, when old, historical buildings and, in this case, your pier, go up in flames. I am glad you had a nice and peaceful day before that. And,as usual,I enjoyed the background information about the pier and its buildings.

Diana Wilder said...

Wow! I hope they catch the arsonists! What a day! (The history of the pier and its parts was fascinating. I thought the Camera Obscura was interesting.

And I love the photo of you and Gattina at Batemans. They made a TV movie about Kipling and his son, 'My Son Jack'.

Sue Travers said...

We lost our wonderful Princes Pier to arsonists some years ago. I still miss the graceful lines which are so different to the modern bland piers. I have so many memories of throwing streamers to relatives visiting from England! So sad to hear that people in other parts of the world feel compelled to destroy these old structures.
Hope all is otherwise well in your part of the world Hilary.
cheers
Sue

Cecilia said...

It is interesting to see how much a place has had impact on our lives when the threat of its imminent demise may remove it from us. The history of a pier, the minds behind its design and the use made of it spanning well over a century is a fascinating journey to look back on and you certainly did a terrific job of telling us about it and sharing those photographs. Thank you Hilary, I continue to enjoy learning about the places you visit. Kipling's garden may have to go on my 'to see' list.

Suzanne Furness said...

Such a terrible shame that the pier has been partly destroyed. I hope they can repair it to it's full glory in time. Must be a huge loss for the business along the pier at such a busy and important time of year for them.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I'm also sorry about the pier. I hope they're able to restore this historical landmark. I enjoyed seeing the lovely grounds at Kipling's home.

Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Eddie - it certainly was a shock and I remember your Weston-Super-Mare being restored and given new life .. I'm sure that will happen here ... just something we'd have rather not have happened.

@ Janie - Glad you enjoyed the history of the pier. How fantastic to have seen Daniel Radcliffe play Jack or perhaps Kipling, after your comment about Catrall. Such a sad story ..

@ Annalisa - it's been a big shock for the town ...

@ Mike - good to see you - it does have an interesting history ...

@ Terra - it was great work by the fire service that they were able to stop the fire spreading along the pier, or backwards to the entrance ...

Our wharves are where ships are loaded up with cargo ... but the name has evolved in the last few centuries and in different countries ... as too pier ...

@ Karen - they are suspecting arson .. but it's too early yet. It was fun seeing Gattina again and being able to spend the day at Batemans ... it was gorgeous out there.

@ Bazza - sadly piers are structures - almost ready made for some disaster to strike.

Exactly they are an integral part of our childhoods, and particularly in seaside towns ... Southend Pier is an incredible structure - and I'd get the train back too! There must be amazing views from the end ... We went to Hastings as kids for a few years ...

@ Inger - it's devastating for the town - but there does seem to be an incredible amount of community spirit ... and I'm sure much will be done for the small traders ...

Glad you enjoyed the background history of the pier ...

@ Diana - yes I hope somewhere along their investigations the perpetrators are found ... it may have been a prank, which went terribly wrong.

Thankfully Gattina put the photos together ... and you're right there's been a tv programme about Kipling's son, John: called "My Son Jack".

@ Sue - how good to see you again .. the Victorians knew how to design. I'm sorry to read about your pier going too - arson and destruction for no reason are just so stupid ...

Fascinating that you remember throwing streamers to the visiting relatives off the ships arriving in Australia ...

All well here and I'll be over to say 'hi'!

@ Cecilia - the piers we have around the coasts are a feature of times past .. and historically relevant to those particular seaside towns. I'm just glad you enjoyed the history of ours ...

The photos - Gattina put together and the few I added just make the story stand out some more ..

Batemans, Kipling's home, is well worth a visit ..


Thanks everyone ... it's been a sad week for Eastbourne - but looks like the pier was saved and will be restored in due time. Hilary



Murees Dupé said...

Sorry to hear about the pier burning. I am just happy nobody got hurt. Stay safe.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad they were able to save most of the pier - and that really old camera obscura.

Mason Canyon said...

Hilary, the shots of Kipling’s garden are beautiful. So sad about the pier, but glad that no one was killed and they were able to save some of it.

Milo James Fowler said...

Holy cow, that's awful -- incredible photos, though. I read Kipling's story "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" with my students every year. So cool that you visited his home.

cleemckenzie said...

That was such a beautiful structure. How sad to lose it. It seems your firefighters did a wonderful job putting out those flames and at least saving the two ends of the pier.

The Kipling estate is lovely. It looks as if you had a glorious day with the exception of that fire.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

So glad they were able to save the pier. What a relief. Hilary, our son leaves for LarkHill on Wednesday. I see it's a long way's from Brighton. Still I hope to see as much as I can when I visit next year. My maternal Grandmother was from Bath.

Gattina said...

It is so sad now sitting at the seafront and see this black shell. But still Eastbourne was lucky because not all the pier burnt down ! Thanks again of having taken me to R. Kipling's house, I had a wonderful afternoon !

Denise Covey said...

It is always distressing to see a landmark engulfed in flames. I've been to the Brighton Pier, but not Eastbourne. How sad, but good to see that money is allocated to rebuild.

I just read last night that the very glorious Chartres Cathedral in France has been gutted by fire five times! I knew it had been once, as when I visited you could see some black posts, but five times! But it has risen from the ashes again and again.

Cheers, Hilary. Great post as always.

Denise

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Murees - it was fortunate about that no-one was injured or killed.

@ Alex - yes I think everyone is glad that a great deal of the pier is safe, especially the camera obscura.

@ Mason - Batemans is a wonderful house and garden ... while the pier will at least be restored - just an unnecessary incident.

@ Milo - thanks to Gattina for the photos ... and it is very sad.

The Kipling stories are all good and Rikki-Tikki-Tavi is an especially good one - bet the students enjoy that lesson. Batemans is quite near and always has interesting things going on ...

@ Lee - the Pier was an icon, so we were lucky that the damage wasn't worse and the emergency organisations certainly clicked into place saving much of it.

Kipling's home and gardens, then the other acres of land .. all quite delightful and we were so lucky with the weather ..

@ Joylene - it was very lucky the fire services saved much of the pier and stopped it spreading.

LarkHill is in Wiltshire I think - it's not far .. but cross country and far enough! Lovely part of the world though.

That's great you'll be visiting next year - Bath is a stunning town and has amazing history .. you'll enjoy checking on where your maternal grandmother used to live .. wonderful part of the world and something special to look forward to ...

@ Gattina - I'm sure it must have been a shock to see the 'burnt shell' - especially when you'd been there two days before enjoying Eastbourne seafront - its gardens and that pier ...

The Batemans visit was fun wasn't it ... and am delighted you enjoyed the look around ...

@ Denise - I agree it has been distressing for the town but looks like things are being put in place to repair and then rebuild it as soon as possible ...

Interesting to know about Chartres Cathedral - I've never seen it ... something I should rectify! Most ancient buildings get severely damaged by fire or war don't they ...

Interesting to note they've kept the black posts exposed for all to see and be reminded of the structure's history ... and it has risen from the ashes - thankfully .. it looks stunning ..


Thanks everyone - I'm going down to the seafront today - so I'll see for myself ... the seafront will look different ... cheers Hilary

@ Lee

MorningAJ said...

I always think it's tragic when one of the coast's piers is wrecked in any way. I'm so pleased they have managed to rescue at least part of yours, and I hope it will soon be restored to glory.

They still have a place in today's world and it would be a shame to lose them all.

Nilanjana Bose said...

How ghastly to lose so much history, but glad that no-one was hurt, and that rebuilding is on the cards. The photos are amazing!

Best,
Nila.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

So glad they were able to preserve most of the pier, but so sorry to hear about the fire! I've been there, circa 1992, and thought the area so lovely.

Kipling had a beautiful home. Happy that you had a nice visit with Gattina.

Bish Denham said...

So sad. Yet it sounds like people and the government are already making plans to rebuild. I hope there were no injuries.

I love to see Kipling's home!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I am sorry you lost a large portion of a historic pier, but what a relief to have everyone evacuated safely. Suspected arson, huh? You have to wonder: vandals or someone out for the insurance money? Either way, deliberately setting a fire like this is a shocking sign of amorality and antisocial psychopathy.

Julie Flanders said...

I'm sorry to hear about the fire. Loved reading the history of the pier and especially loved the 1900s photo with the bandstand.

Glad you and Gattina had a nice visit together. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Anne - having been down today it's probably not as bad as it could be - there's quite a lot left. I sincerely hope they'll restore it to its former and perhaps better glory - than the slot machines or arcade machines that were there?!

You're right the piers are part of the town's history .. as we've found out after the two fires that ripped through Hastings Pier and Brighton West Pier ..

@ Nila - it is sad to lose the building, but I hope they'll restore and perhaps, as it's the 21st century, leave it in better shape.

Gattina took some good photos and made some collages up ...

@ Elizabeth - I remember you said you'd be down here - the countryside is very pretty ... unique with its chalk Downs ...

Kipling's home is even better on a warm sunny day! Gattina and I had a good time ...

@ Bish - thankfully no injuries ... and the Council are sorting things out with the owners ... it'll take time, but I'm sure it will be repaired.

You'd love Kipling's home and estate and the memorabilia.

@ Dianne - thankfully it was only a portion and everyone got out safely ...

Well they're not sure if it's arson, or just sheer stupidity - could be that (bearing in mind the hot dry weather, and the fact that a quiet fag behind a slot machine could have set something off) - but I'm guessing for now ...

Sadly vandalism is all around, why people can't appreciate and value others' properties - I fail to understand.

I don't think it was an insurance job - in fact I'm sure it wasn't ...

But it could have been accident rather than malicious intent ... my feelings bend in this direction .. but I agree with your thoughts ... just dreadful

@ Julie - I was shocked .. and I'm glad you enjoyed the history - I was happy to write it up ... and the old photos are amazing and it's just great we can find them.

Gattina and I had a happy time - worked out well ...

Cheers to you all - Hilary

Teresa Powell Coltrin said...

Oh no! How beautiful it is and now how sad. I hate it when landmarks are destroyed.

Kipling's home? Really? You lucky girl.

Vagabonde said...

What a terrible fire. If it was caused by an arsonist I hope they will find him or her. At least it did not burn totally but still this is a huge damage to an ancient and historic structure. When an old building, or in this case a pier, is close to our home it holds a sentimental value and it hurts to see it damaged. I hope they can rebuild it quickly.

loverofwords said...

Kipling is such an interesting writer and that movie about him on Masterpiece Theater was well done, I thought. Everyone enjoys piers, something about walking on those boards and smelling the sea air and the great food smells that waft from the restaurants that make wonderful summer memories for those lucky enough to be able to visit a pier. So glad it was not completely destroyed.

Christine Rains said...

I'm happy to hear they were able to save most of the pier. It looks like such a frightening sight on fire. Thank you for sharing this story with us. Have a lovely week.

Lynn said...

And what a day that was! For both of you. So sorry about your lovely pier - I would have been glued, too.

How nice that you and Gattina had such a nice day - I'd love to see that Kipling estate. Thanks for sharing that.

mail4rosey said...

I have a strong pull towards the piers I grew up with.

Piers do have so much history. I think it would be very sad to see one burning. I am glad they were able to save the ends of it.

The history offered here is nice. I like that camera obscura tower.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Teresa - I hope it'll be restored to its original beautiful building ... preferably without the slot machines inside!!

We had the most incredible day for visiting Kipling's home, Batemans ...

@ Vagabonde - it's early for forensics to have done their bit - but I see the traders are being allowed back onto the pier to collect their stock ...

I'm sure it will be repaired - and let's hope by next summer ..

@ Nat - I haven't seen the Masterpiece Theatre film ... but am checking out their pages. Batemans, his home, brings that era all to life ...

Sadly our pier probably had typical booth fast-food ... and perhaps that will be one of the advantages of the pier rising from the ashes - decent restaurants ... so perhaps our pier will emulate your ideas ...

Yes - the fact the fire was contained has been extremely fortunate .. it's bad, but not nearly as bad as I thought ..

@ Christine - I wasn't down on the front, but have heard from people who were there .. and how quickly it took hold ...

@ Lynn - Gattina and I had a lovely day - somewhat shocked to be told on our return about the Pier. I'm always amazed how quickly journalists/tv people turn up to events like this .. almost before the emergency services ...

It's a beautiful place - tranquil and away from the bustling crowd ... lovely serenity ...

@ Rosey - we used to visit Hastings pier once a year for a couple of years ... but I don't remember much of those distant years!

Still it's the centre point of the town and the photos etc ... I was glad to find out more about the history of the pier, which I hadn't researched before ..

Thanks everyone - we have a new tourist attraction: a burnt out shell! Sad, but true ... cheers Hilary

Susanne Drazic said...

So sorry to hear about the fire. Glad to hear everyone was evacuated safely.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hilary,

It's so sad when structures from a glorious past are damaged and lost.

I love the beauty of old architecture and the amazing designs of a bi-gone era. Thankfully not all was lost!

What a fun excursion. I enjoy reading about your many trips and learn so much about Britain's grand history that most of us Americans don't learn in school....

Margie said...

Sad news about the pier.
But sounds like you had a wonderful day with your friend
Always enjoy my visits here ...
Smiles

Brian Miller said...

ah what a cool trip to kiplings house and gardens..bet that would be inspiring...

and sad on the fire...what a history it has...avoiding destruction in the war and all....

Lena Lawson said...

Aw Hilary this is tragic news! Especially after such a wonderful day with your friend and for the pier itself - so soon after being upgraded to a Grade II listing! Well I hope the perps will be caught (come on social media - don't let us down!!).

M Pax said...

I hope they can save that beautiful tower. I live in the west, land of fire, so I know how devestating fire can be.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's always such a shame whenever a piece of history is destroyed, but it's especially disheartening to think the fire may have been deliberately set. How horrid.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susanne - yes, thankfully everyone was safely evacuated - it is very sad.

@ Michael - it is a landmark .. fortunately we still have a great deal of the original - because as you say the beauty of old architecture is quite amazing.

Visiting Kipling's home that day was great .. such a beautiful day.

@ Margie - we had a lovely day and then came home to some 'news' - thankfully not as bad as it might have been ... good to see you.

@ Brian - it's always inspiring to visit Kipling's home - he achieved so much, experienced so much .. and we can learn from it all.

The fire was dreadful to see - but at least I read up on its history, and as you say it avoided War damage ...

@ Lena - very sad news - an icon on the beach-front partially burnt .. I hope they can find out how and by whom the fire was set.

It was fun spending time with Gattina at Batemans - glorious countryside and weather!

@ Mary - the tower is safe I'm pleased to say ... and the rest is being cleared ready for architectural works to be looked into - what's needed etc.

You are in the land of fire on the west coast ... land fires are frightening ..

@ Susan - it's so much worse when it's not an accident and was caused by people. Disheartening is a good word ...


Thanks everyone - latest update:

They are letting the traders in to clear their goods and then are closing the pier down until refurbishment/repairs are surveyed and carried out.

Cheers - we now have some wonderful soggy rain! Hilary

Suze said...

I'm so sorry to learn of this fire! It's good that the camera was not damaged but I am sorry for the businesses going into a busy season having to deal with this.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
So sad, and some one started it. I don't know why your post inspire me to share interesting facts but they do.

In Colorado we have or perhaps I should say, had, an iconic amusement park named Elitch Gardens. When we first moved here my mother was so excited to go to Elitches because as a girl she listened to the Big Band music that was broadcast from Elitches. They had beautiful gardens as well as rides and boasted the tallest roller coaster in the US. You could take a picnic lunch with you and spend the day having fun. In recent years Elitch Gardens was sold. They moved to just outside of the city of Denver next to Clear Creek. In 1965 Clear Creek flooded, so one of these days I'm expecting this amusement park to be under water. The price to go is outrageous. You can't take your own food. So the friendly family atmosphere is gone.

Thanks for visiting my blog.
Nancy

Crystal Collier said...

Such a shame about the pier. Then again, I think sometimes an ending is just a great opportunity for a new beginning. =)

Karen Lange said...

Sorry to hear about the pier; that is a shame. I agree with Crystal, perhaps an opportunity comes with a new beginning.

Thanks so much for sharing about the gardens - it looks delightful! I'd love to visit and roam around. :) What a treat that would be.

Have a good week!

Lisa said...

Oh dear, what a loss, but so glad it wasn't the entire pier. Great photos of it, both historical and the great burning. I hope it wasn't arson. That would add insult to injury. Thanks for the history of it as well Hilary!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

Fires are scary and devastating.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Suze - it was very lucky that the pier fire was contained and so the camera obscura is safe. The traders have been a dealt a blow - as it really comes at the peak of their seasonal trade .. difficult times for them.

@ Nancy - good to see you - I'm glad to hear interesting snippets from anyone who visits .. delighted you want to share.

Those early days for Elitch Gardens sound just what people in the town would need - and obviously your mother and her family delighted in them.

I see they needed to move to enlarge the park .. and they had arson at their old site.

New 'amusement parks' are very costly as are the rides ... it seems they've been quite innovative in the area - as has Denver town ...

Taking a picnic, enjoying the gardens, listening to the music - must have been just lovely .. those simple pleasures can make up so much of our lives ... just sorry that Elitch now excludes that sort of thing.

@ Crystal - yes obviously the refurbishment and return to Grade II listed status will give the planners an opportunity to renew the building and I hope what's inside ... preferably not arcade machines - but I suspect that's what we'll get.

@ Karen - thanks and yes as Crystal says an opportunity for a new beginning and rethink ...

Kipling's house and grounds are just lovely .. especially when the weather is particularly kind!

@ Lisa - I think we're all grateful it wasn't the whole pier - I'm not sure it was arson per se .. more likely kids playing fire-games rather than malicious .. but as yet we don't know.

It was interesting to be able to check out the history .. now I know more about my town!

@ Holly - this apparently went up very quickly - I had friends watching ... once a fire goes - it goes doesn't it .. very scary ...

Cheers to you all - many thanks .. cheers Hilary

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Hilary. Great to see you again! It's fun to be gearing up the blogging again and getting out and saying hello.

Sorry to hear of the pier. These iconic landmarks are sacred to the locals and tourists as they've stood for so long and offered entertainment and memories for those who visit them.

But glad to hear the damage can be repaired and it appears as if its contained to just the structures on the top and not the actual pier.

Sara said...

Fire is always devastating, but especially when so much history goes up in flames. However, it sounded like no one was injured in the fire, which is something to be grateful for.

One thing I know about the British is they come to aid of those in need. I hope the pier is restored. I loved the 1900's photo you posted as well as Gattina's photos...little did she know when she took the first set. The difference of a day, right?

Speaking of Gattina, it's nice she visited again. You both seem to enjoy each other company and the visit to various historical sites. It was a nice picture of the two of you in front of Bateman's. What a pretty home it is! The garden also looks lovely:~)

Trisha F said...

Oh my gosh - such horrible destruction! :( It's painful to hear news about iconic monuments/buildings going up in smoke, or being destroyed by earthquakes, or what have you. So sad!

Madeleine Sara said...

Heaven's it hits the pit of your stomach when you see images like that. How sad to see the pier in flames. I have been rathr out of touch with the news lately so had not realised. It seems quite a unique culture in itself asociated with piers and the people whose lives are closely linked with them.
Lovely to see the image of you enjoying an outing with your friend.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, how sad! I'm glad the firefighters got on the scene quickly.
And Kipling's house! I've never been to Eastbourne, only Dawlish and Penzance and Land's End. Have got to see more of the west!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Stephen - glad you're getting on with your books and publishing and thanks for calling in here.

The pier is an iconic structure within the town .. but looks like all will be well with it in due course.

@ Sara - yes thankfully no-one was injured. The town seems to be picking up the pieces and the pier will rise again.

Those old photos .. as well as the ones the day before the fire and then those of the fire and aftermath are poignant of times gone by ..

It was good to see Gattina and be able to share a day with her .. she enjoys visiting her friends down here and being by the seaside. Batemans is a beautiful home especially in the sunshine!

@ Trisha - it is very sad .. and seeing the shell was a shock.

@ Madeleine - how lovely to see you and I know you have plenty going on ... I hope all is well.

The town, as many seaside ones, are based around the pier and its seafront - but expect it will come back to life next year when it's refurbished and repaired.

It was fun meeting up with Gattina again ..

@ Deniz - the emergency services did seem to get to the site very quickly and enlisted the Royal Navy Lifeboats ..

Devon and Cornwall are beautiful counties (in the west), while here we are in the south east next to Kent ... (my Mum used to live in Penzance!) ...

Cheers to you all .. and thanks for your thoughts about our pier and its rise from the ashes sometime next year. Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

How alarming, and what caused the fire? How full of history the pier is, and how like you Hilary to find it all out.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Juliet - thankfully no-one was injured ... though we don't know how it happened yet - I'm sure forensics will tell us.

Glad you enjoyed the history - it just seemed right to write it up here .. cheers Hilary