The results of Brighton photographer Simon Roberts’ three-year quest to document all of Britain’s remaining pleasure piers will be exhibited together for the first time at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery from October.
Here he explains why the seaside structures are so important to Britian’s economic and social history.
“I’m interested in the fact that the pleasure pier follows the story of Britain’s relationship to the seaside, from the early links with the Romantics, to the engineering feats and technical advancement of the Industrial Revolution.
They bear witness to the growth of the coast as a pleasure destination for a monied elite, as well as the working class’ enthusiasm for the seaside brought on by the development of the railways and the bank holiday ruling. Britain’s piers trace our changing economic fortunes too, from post-war boom to economic downturn, and now a slow re-awakening of our appreciation of these cultural and historic landmarks.
I think we will continue to have a tenuous relationship with these fragile structures. As local councils become more stretched financially it will be left to private companies and individuals to maintain or even rescue our piers. There’s no doubt they can be a costly burden, and making them profitable is a challenge. We need to find new, innovative ways to resurrect those that have been abandoned.”
See how many piers you can name…Read the full story »
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