22 BRITISH SEASIDE PIERS
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG 2nd August 2019
22 British Seaside Piers.
- The Palace Pier in Brighton, East Sussex
Arguably the most iconic of the UK’s seaside piers, the Palace Pier in Brighton, was opened in 1899 after the previous 1823 Old Chain Pier was destroyed by storms in 1889. Its owners claim it was the first pier in the country to introduce the new concept of arcade games, which replaced early 20th century amusements in the 1980s. While visitors were charged to visit the pier soon after 1823, entry has been free since 1984. It is now illuminated by around 67,000 lights.
- Clevedon Pier, Somerset
Being the only surviving Grade I-listed pier in the UK makes Clevedon Pier particularly special. It was voted Pier of the Year 2013 by the National Piers Society and is eight miles from Weston-Super-Mare by road. The pier opened in 1869 and was partly constructed from discarded railway track used by Isambard Kingdom Brunel on the Great Western Railway track.
- Penarth Pier, Glamorgan
Members of the National Piers Society recently voted Penarth Pier of the Year 2014. Like many piers built in Victorian times, it attracted many steamers offering holidaymakers trips to various locations – in Penarth’s case Ilfracombe, Lundy Island, Lynmouth, Westward Ho! and Minehead. A recent £4million revamp saw it reopen with a gallery, cinema, observatory and community workspace in December 2013.
- Southend Pier, Essex
The 2,156 metre (7,080 ft) length of the pleasure pier in Southend-on-Sea makes it the longest in the world. Sir John Betjeman, who was the poet laureate of the UK from 1972 until his death in 1984, once said “the pier is Southend, Southend is the pier”. It has its own railway and lifeboat station.
- Central Pier, Blackpool
Blackpool has three iconic piers, including the Central Pier which is dubbed ‘the fun one’. It includes an iconic Ferris wheel and the Legends show bar where various tribute acts play. It is about 500 metres south of the famous Blackpool Tower.
- Southport Pier, Merseyside
Southport Pier, at 1,112 metres (3,648ft), is the second longest in the UK. The Grade II-listed structure has its own tram service as well as traditional slot machines and a café. In recent years it has been modernised and repaired with a wider redevelopment project including the £23million Ocean Plaza shopping centre.
- Cromer Pier, Norfolk
The original 1822 structure in Cromer lasted 24 years before it was destroyed in a storm and its replacement wooden jetty was smashed by a coal boat in 1897. It was sold for £40. The current pier opened to the public in 1902. It was used as a filming location for the 2013 film Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.
- Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset
Soon after the original pier was built by Somerset Central Railway, a steamer service to Wales was introduced but was never commercially successful. It ended 1888, 20 years after the pier was built. A second pier constructed between 1911 and 1914 is claimed to be the shortest pier in Britain after plans to extend it failed to materialise.
- Clacton Pier, Essex
Clacton’s original pier like many others in the late 19th century was made of wood. It was built for steamships to drop off goods and passengers. It was lengthened to 360 metres (1,180ft) in 1893 and new buyers in 1994 successfully revamped it to ensure its success. It has rides and attractions including a helter-skelter built in 1949, which features in a 2008 M&S TV ad.
- Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare
Dubbed ‘Britain’s unluckiest pier’ by BBC’s Countryfile magazine, the Grand Pier has been destroyed by fire twice. It was first damaged by a blaze in 1930 before a fire destroyed the pavilion in 2008. The pier reopened in October 2010 after a £39million revamp.
Southwold Pier was constructed in 1900, following the passing of the Southwold Pier Order in 1899. 810ft long, it was built to the design of W. Jeffrey. The Amusement Equipment Company Ltd, took over the pier in July 1906, after the Coast Development Company was wound up. In 1934, the T-shaped head was destroyed by storms. Two years later, a new pavilion was built at the shoreward end, replacing existing buildings. ‘Belle’ steamers called from London, Clacton and Great Yarmouth but this service ended in the 1930s. The pier was sectioned as a war precaution in 1940 and was damaged by a mine. It was rebuilt in 1948 at a cost of £30,000. A gale, in October 1955, isolated the seaward end, which washed away. Another storm, in February 1979, reduced the length to 150ft. Southwold Pier is now a privately owned pier. It is a family run business, catering for the large number of visitors Southwold receives each year.
Designed by W. Sutcliffe Marsh, the 835ft pier opened on May 10th 1898. The cost of the pier was £10,000. It was the terminus for the Swansea and Mumbles Railway, the promoter being John Jones Jenkins of the Rhondda And Swansea Bay Raiilway. Amusement Equipment Company Ltd. ( AMECO ) gained a licence to operate the pier from 1st October 1937, later taking out a lease. They acquired the freehold in 1957. Sectioned in 1940, the pier was extensively reconstructed in the 1950s, and a landing jetty was added. It officially re-opened on 9th June 1956. A new arcade was built on the pier`s frontage in 1966. AMECO spent between £25,000 and £30,000 per annum on the maintenance and replacement of the steelwork between 1975 and 1985. The pier was closed on 1st October 1987 but re-opened on Good Friday 1988, after £40,000 had been spent during the winter on renewing steelwork near to the entrance. AMECO have been running the pier for over sixty years.
- Ryde Pier – the oldest pier
The Isle of Wight’s Ryde Pier is renowned as the oldest in Britain, opening in July 1814. The pier still maintains regular ferries to and from Portsmouth Harbour.
- Margate Pier, Kent, 1855
Margate claims a number of firsts for its once magnificent Victorian pier. It was the first pier from the famous pier designer Eugenius Birch, the first iron pier, and had been an 1100 foot wooden jetty called “Jarvis Landing Stage” since 1824—long before the reign of pleasure piers.
A drifting vessel and storm damage ultimately led to the pier’s demise, with some relics to be found in Margate Museum.
- Great Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier, Norfolk, 1858
Originally measuring 700ft, the wooden structure was used for evening band performances and open air concert parties.
As Great Yarmouth grew in prominence as a holiday destination, the wooden structure was replaced by a steel construction, housing a 2000-seat pavillion.
- Worthing Pier, West Sussex, England, 1895
Blackpool North Pier, Lancashire, 1863
Intended only as a promenade, the popularity of Blackpool as a major tourist resort forced the oldest and longest of its three piers to offer other attractions including theatres and bars.
While Blackpool’s other piers entertained the working classes with penny arcades and open air dancing, North Pier attracted an upper-class clientele with orchestral concerts and respectable comedians.
Designed by Eugenius Birch, it is the oldest remaining of his fourteen piers.
- Saltburn Pier, North Yorkshire, 1869
Arriving in Saltburn in 1861, the Stockton and Darlington Railway prompted a growth in tourism that spurred the construction of a 1500 ft pier with a steamship landing stage and a Cliff Hoist to provide access from the town via the steep cliff.
- Eastbourne Pier, East Sussex, 1870
Opened by Lord Edward Cavendish, son of the 7th Duke of Devonshire, Eastbourne pier was 1000 ft long and with its bands and theatre, only offered the highest class of entertainment.
At the seaward end was a 400-seat domed pavilion, which was later replaced by a 1000-seat theatre, bar, camera obscura and office suite. Midway along the pier were two saloons.
Designed by Eugenius Birch, it was built on stilts resting on cups on the seabed so that the whole structure could move during rough weather
- Hastings Pier, East Sussex, 1872
Designed by Eugenius Birch—famous for the West Pier at Brighton and Eastbourne’s Pier—Hastings Pier was opened on the first ever August Bank Holiday in 1872.
After a tumultuous history of storm damage, fires, and failed attempts to salvage the pier, it closed in 2008. National Lottery funding in 2012 eventually kickstarted a major redevelopment plan with the pier opening again on 27 April 2016.
- Rhyl Pier, Wales, 1872
Damaged by ships and storms and eventually demolished in 1972, Rhyl Pier once reached out 2,355 ft into the sea in North Wales and included a pier railway.
Beside it stood the five-domed ornate Pavillion Theatre, once a famous Rhyl landmark.
- Llandudno Pier, Wales, 1877
At 2295 ft, Llandudno Pier is the longest pier in Wales and is often chosen for Victorian and Edwardian seaside filming locations.
A 2,000-seat Pavillion Theater opened in 1886 with three stories and a flamboyant cast-iron veranda running the entire seaward façade. It burned down in 1994 and was not replaced.
- Skegness Pier, Lincolnshire, 1881
At the time of its opening, the Skegness Pier, at 1,842 ft, was the fourth longest in England.
Featuring a saloon and concert hall at the pier head, it was damaged by a drifting ship in 1919 and today is only 387 ft long.
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
”A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Happiness is…a UK seaside town at the height of Summer Holidays
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
I poured Spot remover on my dog. Now he’s gone.
Love is…what brings you to life
TRACK OF THE DAY
Feels Like I’m In Love – Kelly Marie
Highest Chart Position: No.1 13th September 1980
WHAT DAY IS IT?
Friday 2nd August 2019
International Beer Day
Ice Cream Sandwich Day
Colouring Book Day
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