There are few symbols more redolent of the great age of the British seaside holiday than the sinuous lines of the pier stretching into the water. For generations of holidaymakers, piers at many of the country's leading seaside resorts provided an extension of the promenade and a focus for a variety of entertainments. Time and fortune, however, have not been favourable to many of these piers; salt water is an excellent means of causing corrosion to the iron structures whilst high winds and seas have also wrought destruction. Even those piers which have survived into the supposedly more enlightened 1990s are by no means certain of continued support as the recent demolition of Morecambe Central pier has demonstrated.Not all is gloom, however, as a recent grant will enable Brighton West to be restored to its former glory and elsewhere dedicated owners and groups battle against the elements to ensure that these surviving piers will bring pleasure to countless new generations.
The apogee of the seaside pier was, without doubt, the period from the late 19th century through to the 1930s; seaside holidays at home were the norm - only the very rich could afford overseas travel - and resorts like Scarborough and Blackpool played host to many millions annually. This book, draws upon the extensive collection of aerial photographs of seaside piers taken by the Aerofilms company since 1919 to record the changing face of the British seaside over the years. The authors are the Librarian at Aerofilms and the current editor of the National Pier Society's newsletter respectively.