We had a Palace Pier. That’s how Brightonians will always refer to it. That’s how the cast refer to the pier in the film Brighton Rock. The “Palace Pier” is still (for how much longer?) the way the local newspaper, The Argus, refers to it, too. But that’s not what’s on the big sign any more. “Brighton Pier” the neon announces, as if there is only one, has only ever been one and only ever will be one.
That’s not true. There was a Chain Pier, once, until it blew away in storms many years ago. There was a West Pier once (further to the west, obviously) until it succumbed to neglect, the waves and arson. Then there was the Palace Pier, right in the middle. The thing is, owners of “Brighton Pier”, we remember.
You used to get a ticket when you won a game on the pier. This example is from the Dolphin Derby. (Still going. Very exciting.) You could save your tickets and points for bigger and better prizes at the Redemption Kiosk. You can’t do that any more. There is no scheme, no kiosk, no saving up for the largest fluffy toy. I could post here a lecture about the benefits of teaching children the virtue of saving points as opposed to the instant gratification of a one-time win but I won’t. I’m simply celebrating the heady days when we just had a Palace Pier and the opportunity to save up for a Giant Dolphin.
The drawing-pin scar is because my children really did pin this ticket to our house notice-board in the hope of saving up for bigger and better prizes. (They got the lecture.) Worthless now, obviously. A lesson in itself.