I’ve been having fun searching the British Newspaper Archive and came up with this snippet about the Brighton Chain Pier, originally from the Brighton Guardian, but reproduced in the Kentish Gazette of Tuesday 10 September 1867.
A “Sensation” Diver in Jeopardy.—A certain “Professor” Worthington, a young man who announces himself as a “sensation” and “star” diver, has recently been making “terrific plunges” from the head of the Brighton Chain Pier. He jumps from a height of between 100 and 130 feet, and, turning completely over as he falls, enters the water (professedly) head first. But those who have seen the “professor” aver that he does not always do so; and, of course, the shock of falling flat on the water from such a height would be of the most severe character. The correspondent of a contemporary alleges that on one occasion the “professor’s” face was swollen and discoloured from contact with the water,—no doubt, from the diver having entered the sea in a manner which did not give him the protection of his arms as a “cutwater.” On Saturday week he, oddly enough, advertised his “last sensation dive,” and an immense concourse of people assembled to witness it. The hour for the jump to be made was fixed for six, but it was three-quarters of an hour later before the “professor” was ready. It was then nearly dead low water of spring-tides, and it is said that because this was the case the “professor” determined to throw himself full length on the water. Either excessive ignorance or rashness must have dictated such a resolve, and the result was what might have been expected. Almost before he seemed lost to sight in the eddy of the plunge the diver appeared again floating “like a log” in the water, his head underneath. The boat which is always in attendance at once rowed to him, and on being pulled in he was found to be thoroughly insensible. He was treated as well as the circumstances would allow, and on being put upon the pier soon recovered sufficient strength to be able to walk with assistance. We have heard that his face was again injured. The water at the pier head, when his jump was made, was only about seven feet deep; but we cannot say whether “Professor” Worthington received his injuries from the concussion with the surface or from striking the bottom. In either case he could not apparently discern the evident danger.—Brighton Guardian