Thursday, 8 October 2015


England may not have any abandoned temples in windswept deserts, “vast and trunkless legs of stone” and the misplaced pride of Ozymandias, but it still has its epic follies: places where grand ambition had free rein, at least for a while.

Visit them today, and you can see the high-water mark, the glorious moment followed by inevitable decline. Weston is one such place: its Grand Pier is awash with wrought-iron latticework, towers, and domes. The wonders of the world were to be gathered here, for Weston to delight in them, and they in Weston. Today, it is almost empty, an abandoned palace floating above the mud.
From Seaside Gothic by Edmund Richardson.

This reminded me of an photo I took many years ago, not in Weston, but on one of Brighton's piers. Three gulls perch on top of one of the pier's slightly rusty buildings, its windows reflecting the setting sun. I've always thought that the picture captured the faded, melancholy beauty of many an English seaside town and Richardson's article brought the feeling back perfectly.

Anyway, here's the picture in question (so old it was taken on 35mm and scanned):