Summer is over, and here at Thai Terre we’re digging out our winter coats, enjoying warming soups, and turning our thoughts to Christmas. But there’s still nothing like a walk along Eastbourne seafront in the crisp autumn air, taking in the smell of the sea, and listening to the seabirds calling to each other. And no walk through Eastbourne would be complete without pausing to admire its iconic pier.
Work began on the pier in 1866 and took six years to complete. Later, in 1888, its domed pavilion was added, shortly followed by a 1000-seat theatre, two saloons, and a tower topped with a camera obscura.
The pier played its part in World War 2, when machine guns and an anti-aircraft gun were mounted on it, and camouflage net around its base was used to conceal a flotilla of small vessels, including assault landing craft.
It seems that a run of misfortune has affected the pier, though: in 1877 a portion of it was washed away in a storm; in World War 2 a mine exploded at its base, causing considerable damage; a fire in 1970 destroyed the theatre; and more recently, in 2014, another fire destroyed a large part of the pier, and for a little while its future was uncertain.
In 2015, the pier was bought by hotelier Sheikh Abid Gulzar, who has done much to restore it to its former glory, adding several uncovered areas with seating and beginning work to restore the theatre and camera obscura, which have been derelict since the fire of 1970. The pier now boasts a bar, Victorian tea room, conference/events rooms, shops, arcades, and a nightclub. It’s also the perfect setting to enjoy stunning views of the beautiful area we live in.