The Royal Suspension Chain Pier, commonly known as the Chain Pier, was the first pier built in Brighton.
The Chain Pier was designed by Captain Samuel Brown RN and built in 1823. The pier was primarily intended as a landing stage for packet boats to Dieppe, but it also featured a small number of attractions including (initially) a camera obscura. A toll-booth controlled access to the pier.
J M Turner and John Constable both made paintings of the pier, King William IV landed on it, and it was even the subject of a song.
The Chain Pier co-existed with the later West Pier (1866), but a condition to build the Palace Pier (1899) was that the builders would dismantle the Chain Pier. Fate intervened and they were saved this task by a storm which destroyed the already closed and rather decrepit pier on 4 December 1896.
The remains of some of the pier's iron piles, sunk ten feet into bedrock, can still be seen at extreme low tides.
The National Piers Society, founded in 1979 by Sir John Betjeman, is dedicated to promoting and sustaining interest in the preservation and continued enjoyment of seaside piers.