Sunday, 9 August 2015
Back in the 19th century there was a craze for building out over the sea. Brighton's west Pier was but one of those constructions, opened in 1866. There's not much of it left now; indeed, even less than in this photograph, which I took four years ago tomorrow. Nowadays the craze seems to have turned through ninety degrees and construction is upwards. Portsmouth has its Spinnaker Tower and Brighton is shortly to have the i360, a 531-foot tower constructed on the sea front close to the one-time entrance to the West Pier. According to the Wiki: "When complete it will be Britain's highest observation tower, with a viewing platform at 138 metres (453 feet), and views along the coast, across the South Downs and across the English Channel.", provided by "an ascending and descending circular viewing platform with a capacity for 200 people."
I have to confess to a slight unease concerning the financing of this project, desirable though it is. The total cost is said to be £46 million, but the city council has lent to developers £36 million, having borrowed that sum themselves from the government.
The tower is not due to open until next year but is already the highest building in Sussex with more to go. I have yet to see it on site, but it is seen easily from the Roman Camp, dwarfing the Metropole Heights and Theobald House blocks of flats