Piers

On this walk I decided I would walk to the end of every pier around the coast. That idea was pretty quickly shot down when St Anne’s pier was closed, as was two of Blackpool’s. Apparently, there is a National Piers Society for people who are far more obsessed with them than me. I’m not going to rush out to subscribe, but I will go as far as to show all the ones I’ve visited, either by walking past them (the closed ones), or walking to the end of them.

Click on the pictures of each one for more info on each one. The number in the caption is the relevant blog entry.


Southport

Southport pier (3)

Opened in August 1860, it is the oldest iron pier in the country. Its length of 1108m makes it the second-longest in Great Britain, after Southend. It was originally 1340m but a succession of storms and fires during the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw to that!

St Anne’s

St Anne’s pier (8)

St Anne’s pier was built in 1885. It was originally intended to be a sedate promenading venue for the resort’s visitors, but attractions were later added to compete with the tackiness of Blackpool presumably.

Changes made to the estuary channels to improve access to Preston Dock left the pier on dry land – does that still make it a pier? – and ended its steamer services to Blackpool and Liverpool.

Apparently it’s only open from 11am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, which was annoying for me.

Blackpool south

Blackpool south pier (9)

The Blackpool South Shore Pier & Pavilion Co. Ltd. began to build the pier in 1892. It was constructed, at a total cost of £50,000. It opened, with a choir, two brass bands and an orchestra on Good Friday 1893, after which the entertainment rapidly went downhill to what we have today.

Blackpool Central

Blackpool central pier (9)

The Blackpool South Jetty Company started building the central pier in 1864. When the pier was opened in 1868 it was 503 yards in length, 131 yards of which was a landing jetty for use at low tide. From the start, the new pier’s emphasis was on fun rather than the genteel relaxation provided at North Pier.

In the early days fun was provided mainly by dancing facilities, then roller skating, fairground rides and amusement machines were introduced in the 20th Century to match the general decline of Blackpool.

It was closed when I visited. I wasn’t devastated.

Blackpool north

Blackpool north pier (9)

Built in the 1860s, it is also the oldest and longest of the three Blackpool piers. Although originally intended only as a promenade, competition forced the pier to widen its attractions to include theatres and bars.

Unlike Blackpool’s other piers, which attracted the working classes with open air dancing and amusements, North Pier catered for the “better-class” market, with orchestra concerts and respectable comedians, but has since reverted to type.

Appropriately, therefore, it was closed when I visited.

Morecambe

Morecambe stone jetty (13)

More a jetty than a pier really – what is the difference? This one doesn’t sit on stilts but is built up solidly, maybe that’s the difference. Anyway, it was built by the North Western Railway in 1853 as a wharf and rail terminal for both passenger and cargo transport on steamers to the Isle Of Man and Ireland. The former station building with adjoining lighthouse still stand on the jetty. I walked to the end of this one.

It has statues of guillemots on the railings, which I think is cool.

Prior to the Jetty was an 1850 wooden pier which served the railway and steamers.

Arnside

Arnside pier (15)

The building of the railway viaduct across the River Kent at Arnside meant that ships could no longer reach Milnthorpe – which until then had been known as Kendal’s port. Because of this, a pier was built at Arnside for ships to dock at. The wooden remains of this original pier can still be seen on the foreshore adjacent to the current pier.

I didn’t walk to the end of this one because I was busy chatting, and missed it.

Askam-in-Furness

Askam jetty (20)

OK, I’m really stretching the definition of a pier here, but what the hell. Askam jetty was made from the slag left over from the substantial ironworks in the area in the 19th century, which makes it so beautiful.

A satellite photo shows just how grim this one is. I certainly didn’t walk to the end of it.

Maryport

Maryport pier (27)

In 1833 an Act of Parliament granted permission for a dock to be built at Maryport together with a new pier and lighthouse, which were in place by 1846.

It’s a pretty shit pier really, and is a bit neglected, but nowhere near as bad as the jetty at Askam-in-Furness.

Silloth

Silloth pier (28)

This pier was built around 1857 with a wooden lighthouse at the end. Unfortunately it had to be abandoned when the far end began to subside into the mud during the early 1900’s. A replacement light was erected near the end of the stable section of the pier, but as it gradually deteriorated, the light had to be moved nearer the land. And I thought Maryport’s pier was bad!

Older pictures of the pier can be found in the section on Silloth Pierhead Lighthouse here.