urban75 blog

Bognor Regis, East Sussex – street shots, Terry’s donuts and the run-down pier

When I visited Bognor Regis earlier this year, I was blasted with a monsoon-like rain and a howling gale that made taking photos near-impossible, so it was great to return over the weekend under crisp November sunshine.

I was in Bognor to see my football team, Dulwich Hamlet, finally defeat the town’s team in an exciting, bread pudding-fuelled 3-2 contest. Bognor is about an hour and 45 mins from London but if you’re travelling on the weekend here’s a tip: get the £19 Day Saver!

Bognor Regis has been connected to the railway network since 1846, but things got off to a shaky start with the station suffering two disasters in the 1890s, when it was first blown down in a gale in 1897, and then burned down in 1899. 

The current, well restored, building dates from 1902, with the station still employing steam age semaphore signals, so you can hear the satisfying clanking of levers accompanying arrivals and departures.

1964 view of the station © showing how little has changed in 50 years – although the Candy Shop in the foreground has been cleared away.

Butlins advert inside the station.

Billy Butlin first opened a holiday camp in Bognor Regis in 1932 and the town still hosts one of just three Butlins left in the UK.

The attraction now enoys 385,000 visitors per year with 300,000 being resident and 85,000 visiting for the day. []

Station cafe with attractive curved window.

Reynolds & Co Furniture Depository.

Fish & Chips by the station.

En Ravers.

Couple with dog.

The pedestrianised main shopping area.

Terry’s Fresh Hot Do’nuts street stall, serving four doughnuts for £1.50.

I had a quick chat with Terry. Lovely bloke!

Kebab Express and Lock Centre Security.

Striking Georgian architecture.

Six letterboxes on Sidlaw Terrace.

Bandstand.

Intricate roof detail.

On the beach at low tide. It was cold and mighty windy but it was a lovely seaside walk.

It was a beautiful November afternoon.

I pondered whether I could get around this breakwater without getting my feet wet. I made it – just!

Jelly thing on the beach.

More views of the beach.

Seagulls against a low late autumn sky.

Bognor’s Grade II listed pier is a pale shadow of its former Victorian glory. Read more about its history here: Bognor Regis Pier. Run-down Grade II listed pier on the south coast.

Underneath the pier.

Barnacles on the pier supports.

Entangled fishing nets.

The old pier theatre.

Looking west from the pier.

The pier used to stretch further into the sea, with a large pavilion at the end. It collapsed into the sea during the fierce storms of 1964-5.  More here.

The long lost pavilion.

Curtailed pier railing.

Looking east from the end of the pier.

Warning light at the end of the pier.

Remaining buildings on the pier.

Pier buildings.

Mystery lock.

Part of the former pier theatre is now an amusement arcade.

 

Bognor still has a small active fishing fleet.

Beach restaurant.

Given the near-zero temperatures, it wasn’t surprising that there were no takers for the mini golf.

The Victorian-built Royal Hotel.

Waiting for the bus in a chilly sea breeze.

The legendary Tony Hancock stayed in Bognor while filming the bitter-sweet Punch & Judy Man.

The Royal Norfolk Hotel was built in 1830 in the west end of Bognor Regis and offers an uninterrupted view of the sea.

The architecturally striking White Tower in Bognor is an eccentric folly constructed in 1898 for John Hawes, the architect.

Now Grade ll listed, Hawes built the tower to be tall enough to allow him a view of the sea over the seafront hotels.