Our lovely piers are so vulnerable to fire – Telegraph Blogs

Eastbourne Pier before…. (Photo: Martin Pope)

The latest news about poor Eastbourne Pier, ravaged by fire yesterday, is that it was probably a victim of an electrical fault.

Tragic as it is, that’s better than the normal reason for burnt piers – bored seaside thugs looking for a prominent local landmark to torch.  Hastings Pier was set on fire in 2010 – thank God for the local enthusiasts who are determined to save it.

The sad irony about piers is that, although they’re rooted in water, they’re appallingly vulnerable to fire. Not only does their isolated beauty make them a prominent target. But they are also often neglected and empty, meaning they are easily vandalised and that a small fire gets very big before it’s noticed.

All that lovely Victorian timber, often rendered bone dry by salty winds, doesn’t help, either. And those sea winds can soon whip up a small flame into an enormous one.

It is little consolation that, even in ruin, piers retain their faded seaside charm. The skeleton of Brighton’s West Pier, deserted since 1975, and also a victim of fire, is a thing of great beauty – a skeletal wreck heightened in its melancholy charm in the winter when starlings do their evening murmurations in their thousands.

There is some consolation in the fact that two thirds of Eastbourne Pier survived the fire. The destroyed third must rise again.

 

 

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31 July 2014 | 5:39 pm – Source: telegraph.co.uk

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