Black Rock is a derelict area of land at the far eastern end of Madeira Drive, and next to Brighton Marina.
There was once an open air swimming pool here. It was opened in 1936, had a pool 160 feet by 60 feet, and had an attractive cafe and changing rooms in a 'seaside modern' / art deco style. Unfortunately the decline of British seaside resorts and the flight (literally) of British tourists to the beaches of Spain in the 60s and 70s undermined its financial viability, and it was closed, and then demolished in 1978.
Since then the site has remained derelict, a haunt of graffiti. Even so, it has been a venue from time to time. Two years running, 2005 and 2006, it was used by the World Sand Sculpture Festival, a very impressive, themed collection of massive figurative works in sand. The Sand Sculpture Festival returned in 2014 and may still be there in 2015.
However, a new future is planned for the site. For many years the site has been allocated for the new Brighton International Arena, a multi-functional venue which was to have two Olympic ice pads, fixed seating of 7,500, and when the ice pad is covered a maximum seating capacity of 11,000.
But, sadly, the Credit Crunch etc. destroyed these dreams, as with so many, and the project for a new international arena plus world class ice arena has been abandoned by the City Council. There still is a flash website, like some sort of ghost in cyberspace.
However, hope springs eternal, and in December 2014 the City Council agreed new plans, similar to the old ones, but revamped. The Olympic ice pads are gone but there are still plans for a 10,000 capacity exhibition and live performance venue at Black Rock, and for new homes and new transport links. The proposals are part of a larger £540 million plan for the renovation of Brighton's seafront, including the Brighton Conference Centre and the Churchill Square shopping centre.