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What Worthing Pier has to offer modern visitors

PUBLISHED: 16:23 14 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:23 14 November 2016

Glass artist Siobhan Jones

Glass artist Siobhan Jones

Archant

Generations of tourists and residents have enjoyed visiting Worthing Pier over the years. Writer and photographer Kate Eastman visited to see what the pier has to offer modern visitors

It was the 13th pier to be built in England at a cost of £6,500 by the Worthing Pier Company. Designed by Sir Robert Rawlinson, the pier officially opened on 12 April 1862.

The Pavilion Theatre has a unique position on the promenade at the entrance to the pier and hosts a variety of theatre, dance, music and comedy as well as craft fairs, children’s workshops and corporate events. Comedian Tim Vine has performed at the Pavilion Theatre. “I’ve played here a few times before,” he says. “There’s something really nice about playing right next to the sea, because I’m from somewhere land-locked, Cheam, it’s nice to perform on the coast. I have been on the slot machines, I’m a big fan of amusement arcades!”

Harry Williams is the youth mayor of Worthing. “My role involves shadowing the mayor of Worthing and attending events to ensure that the youth of Worthing get a voice,” explains Harry. “W3PF stands for Worthing Pier Past Present and Future. It is all about capturing the past, recording the present and discovering the future of our pier. We have received money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Young Roots, to complete this project after the Youth Council decided they wanted to get involved. We asked the local young people to concentrate on what the pier looked like in the past, what it looks like now and what they think it will look like in the future.”

The Worthing Youth Council decided to plant a time capsule under the decking at the most southerly end of the pier.

“There are pictures, poems, songs and pieces of writing inside, including a short video of a tour of the pier,” says Harry. “The time capsule will be opened in 25 years’ time.”

The Denton Bar and Restaurant is adjacent to the Pavilion Theatre and offers fantastic views of the pier and the sea. Courtney Troullos started working at The Denton in May 2014. “I love working in such a beautiful location,” she says. “One of the most memorable days working here was the day we had the London taxi drivers and war veterans down. There were 400 to 500 war veterans who were driven down by London cabbies. We decorated the Pavilion in red, white and blue tablecloths with Union Jack napkins. It was just a nice day for them all to come here for fish and chips and lots of wine!”

At the end of Worthing Pier is the Grade II listed Southern Pavilion which has been refurbished to its original Art Deco style with beautiful chandeliers, sweeping oak floors and lots of natural light. Events manager Andrea Moores says: “The pier attracts around 700 to 1,000 visitors a day. Hopefully this will only continue to grow. It is amazing how the autumn months attract visitors enjoying the atmospheric stormy weather.”

“We have a great mixture of customers throughout the day,” adds manager Gina Bardley. “Walkers and joggers in the morning, families meeting for lunch, day trippers of all ages. It’s a privilege to work in such a beautifully restored building with breath-taking views every day.”

Andrea looks after the live music at the venue: “My most memorable story to date is being asked up on to the stage by Sly Stone’s daughter! I was on the side of the stage ensuring they had enough water and towels when I was suddenly asked to come up on stage and have a sing-along – it was so much fun!”

Glass artist Siobhan Jones has been creating fabulous pieces of fused glass for the ‘Windows on the Pier’ initiative. The idea is to create a cathedral-like gallery of stunning multi-coloured glass on Worthing Pier that represents local societies, people and projects. So far she has created 16 glass windows, with another 18 in process.

“There are hundreds of windows to fill,” she says. “Once complete it will be quite a spectacle and attraction for Worthing.”

Individuals, local charities, schools, community groups and societies can commission their own window by contact Siobhan on 01903 216425.

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