The Brighton Chain Pier after the storm of 4 December 1896.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The pier at high and low tide, from photographs by Thomas Donovan and E Pannell. The pier was built in 1823 as an embarkation point for cros-channel traffic. In 1824 a storm swept away the toll-house, and in 1833 it was struck by lightning causing a serious fire. It was repaired following public subscription, but the pier's inevitable decline started with the opening of the railway to Newhaven in 1847, and the new Aquarium and West Pier attracted customers away. A great storm on 4 December 1896 completely destroyed the pier, and wreckage damaged the Palace Pier, then under construction and seen to the right of the top photograph. Illustration from 'The Brighton chain pier' by John George Bishop, published in Brighton in 1897.