The pier separates the east of the town from the west and this distinction was very apparent in Victorian and Edwardian Eastbourne. The grand designs of the Duke of Devonshire lay to the west, with its large villas and wide avenues. This was in great contrast to the harsh living conditions to the east of the pier.
The pier is 1000 feet long (330m) and was opened in 1870. But a great storm on New Years Day 1877 swept away the landward half and it had to be rebuilt. The new deck was raised by 6 feet (1.8m) to avoid heavy waves crashing on the underside. The slope in the middle can still be seen. In its early days it was little more than a walk above the waves, but over time a theatre, ballroom and games saloons were added.
In 1997, Eastbourne Pier was awarded 'Pier of the Year' by the National Piers Society.
The Pier suffered a devastating Fire on July 30, 2014 that ripped through the domed building that previously hosted an amusement arcade. The flooring of this section was then relayed and re-opened to the public.
Currently, the Pier is undergoing vast refurbishments but remains very much open to the public, with a Cafe and nightclub at the far end.