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Last chance to catch Pierdom photo exhibition

Hastings Pier, East Sussex, March 2011

Now that Brighton Museum charges for non residents, if you’re not part of the BN1-3 /41 massive you can’t just stroll in to drool over the gorgeous Art Nouveau furniture and you’ll be wanting an exhibition to stretch your fiver.

Pierdom, which is on for a couple more weeks, is the result of a labour of love from Brighton-based photographer Simon Roberts, who has documented Britain’s 58 remaining piers.

Promotional, Pierdom

I visited earlier in its run and it’s certainly worth a look. Not every pier makes it into the exhibition but Sussex’s Brighton, Eastbourne, Worthing (photographed in a snow storm) and Hastings piers are all present. Don’t expect arty close-ups of people having their chips raided by seagulls; the photos are mostly stark long shots concentrating on the architecture.

Worthing Pier, West Sussex, January 2013

Worthing Pier, West Sussex, January 2013

The huge size of several of the prints is pleasing and they make you think about our coastal heritage – particularly in the second room which also contains shots of empty of stretches of sea that mark the location of ‘lost’ piers. There’s also a real-time video of Brighton’s post-arson West Pier.

Brighton West Pier, East Sussex, April 2011

Brighton West Pier, East Sussex, April 2011

When I visited, a frankly libelous comment on the responsibility for that pier’s fate was among the notes responding to the exhibition that people had stuck on one wall. You’re encouraged to jot down pier-based memories so tales of gigs, engagements, and dumpings are among the contributions. I shared seeing my first real life jellyfish while looking off the end of Bournemouth pier (a monster of a thing it was too). My husband went the comedy route:

Pierdom IMG-20151011-00810
It’s a simple exhibition that won’t take long to look around but I recommend watching the accompanying six minute film (not least because Simon Roberts turns out to be rather easy on the eye!).  Simon explains how he used an old fashioned plate camera, “Victorian style equipment to record Victorian structures,” while the modern technology of Street View helped him to plan vantage points in advance.

Pierdom, promotional

Simon Roberts

Pierdom runs until February 21. There’s a small discount for booking museum tickets online in advance. If you’ve got school age children with you and you haven’t been in before, make sure you don’t miss the museum’s small but good Egyptology area at the back of the ground floor.

Pierdom IMG-20151121-00998

If you can’t get to the exhibition you can check out some of the images, add your own pier memories and read others’ at More on the exhibition and that video are here:


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