Title ID 4359Collection ID1349
TitleWest Pier
CollectionMark Collington
Genre/TypeProfessionalTelevision companyNon-fictionNewsreel/News
KeywordsBeaches Piers Piers [West Pier, Brighton]
RegionalBrighton and Hove East Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionMark Collington
FormatColour Sound
Duration4 min. 45 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An animated short illustrating Brighton’s West Pier’s past and present with spoken narrative.


The artist uses charcoal, chalks, acrylics and watercolour to create a portrait of Brighton’s West Pier; its history and demise. The images of the pier are complemented with sounds recorded at the site and musical nuances.

Mark Collington writes: “This animated short is primarily a personal reflection on the history of Brighton's famous West Pier, whose once glorious form, blighted by numerous restoration attempts and disasters now lies ruined, little more than a grade one listed rusty skeleton.”


West Pier (2001)

Contextual information

This is one of an increasing number of artists’ films in Screen Archive South East’s collection. The artist’s personal statement best describes his work:

“Over several years I sketched and photographed [the pier], even lucky enough to go on it to sketch several times in the late 1990s. The more I did so the more I researched into its history, finding out not only about the pier itself, but also about the local and social history that surrounded it. Consequently a story started building up in my head, embellished with fantasy inspired by its many Tim Burton, Karl Blossfeld and Ukiyo-e ‘Floating World’ resemblances. The animation was finally produced as my graduation piece at the Royal College of Art in 2001. It was mainly hand drawn on various papers and cell, using charcoal, chalks, acrylics and water colour. Many of the images in the film are actually from my original observational sketches made of the pier. The whole thing was shot onto 16mm film, incorporating several elaborate rostrum camera moves. Film was chosen over video or computer to give the piece an authentic and historical feel. Lifted with actual seaside musical nuances and sounds which I recorded in situ, the piece owes its coherence to the score. This was written by a contemporary of mine at the Royal College of Music, using real musicians. The piece was narrated by my father who retired from the BBC in 1994, and introduced with a specially written folk song, performed by the late Bob Copper – of the internationally known folk singing family from Sussex.” (Mark Collington)

In South Eastern England (1968) tourists and locals are filmed on the West Pier less than a decade before it was closed to the public.

Related titles

Related resources


Gray, Fred. Walking on Water - The West Pier Story. n.p.: The West Pier Trust, 1998

This illustrated book tells the story of West Pier.

Other Resources

Television Interviews with ITV Meridian Tonight and BBC South Today

Screen Archive South East holds viewing copies of two television interviews with Mark Collington talking about West Pier. The interviews were filmed in July and August 2001.

Illustration taken from the film

A still image of an illustration taken from the film can be viewed via the link below.