Lithograph published by R Paine, 9 North Street, Brighton, 1 July 1824. The large waterwheel had been put in place the previous year. Robert Paine was probably the original artist. Unfortunately all four margins have been cut, but this print illustrates how similar an uncoloured lithograph can look to a pencil drawing. This scene was republished as an aquatint by George Hunt, probably in the same year but in a smaller size.
The waterwheel was a treadmill, built in May 1823 for the Chain Pier Company, probably under the guidance of the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline. Presumably the idea was for local prisoners to raise water for washing down the pier promenade, which would undoubtedly have become dirty from the seabirds. Whether it was ever used is difficult to know. By November 1824 the Brighton Gazette reported that rough seas had broken the wheel into pieces and that the Town Commissioners intended to replace it with a horizontal model operated by horse and capstan. While this original wheel appears in several engravings of the Chain Pier, its replacement does not, although a capstan can occasionally be seen in front of the pier entrance.
See all images of the Chain Pier and read more about its history on the Chain Pier Gallery page