British Seaside Piers – History from 1391

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As an Island race and surrounded by water I thought as English Seaside Piers are popular with us Brits I thought I would tell the history of Piers and list all the English Piers with dates of construction. There have been very few piers built since the First World War. However, due to the precarious nature of piers – they are often prey to fires, collisions, and storm damage. Today several piers have been completely changed in the period from the thirties to the present day.

The oldest Pier in England is in Cramer where there has been a pier or jetty in Cromer, Norfolk, England since 1391. Letters granting the right to levy duties for repairs suggest that attempts at maintenance seem to have gone on until 1580. In 1582, Queen Elizabeth I granted the right to the inhabitants of Cromer to export wheat, barley and malt for the maintenance of their town and towards the rebuilding of the pier.

The oldest cast iron pier in the world is Gravesend Town Pier in Kent which opened in 1834. However, it is not recognised by the National Piers Society as being a seaside pier.

There are still a significant number of piers of architectural merit still standing, although some have been lost.

The most well known piers are perhaps the two at Brighton in East Sussex and the three at Blackpool in Lancashire.

Two piers, Brighton’s now derelict West Pier and Clevedon Pier were Grade 1 listed: Brighton West lost its status after a series of fires and storms. The Birnbeck Pier in Weston-Super-Mare is the only pier in the world that is linked to an island.

The National Piers Society gives a figure of 55 surviving seaside piers in England and Wales.

England

Herne Bay Pier

Blackpool Pier

Bognor Regis Pier

Boscombe Pier

Bournemouth Pier

Brighton Pier

Burnham-on-Sea Pier

Clacton Pier

Clarence Pier

Cleethorpes Pier

Clevedon Pier

Cromer Pier

Deal Pier

Eastbourne Pier

Felixstowe Pier

Fleetwood Pier

Great Yarmouth Pier

Harwich Pier

Hastings Pier

Herne Bay Pier

Hythe Pier

Lowestoft Pier

Lytham St Annes Pier

New Brighton Pier

Paignton Pier

Portsmouth Pier

Ryde Pier

Saltburn-by-the-Sea Pier

Sandown Pier

Southend-on-Sea Pier

Southport Pier

South Parade Pier

Southsea Pier

Southwold Pier

Swanage Pier

Teignmouth

Totland, Isle of Wight Pier

Walton on the Naze Pier

Weston-super-Mare Pier

Weymouth Pier

Whitby Pier

Wigan Pier

Worthing Pier

Yarmouth Pier

Wales

Aberystwyth Pier

Bangor Pier

Beaumaris Pier

Colwyn Bay Pier

Llandudno Pier

Mumbles Pier

Penarth Pier

Isle Of Man

Ramsey Pier

In their heyday, there were many pleasure piers across England. These were found in most fashionable seaside resorts during the Victorian era.

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Copyright © 2010 Paul Hussey. All Rights Reserved.

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