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Report - Birnbeck Pier, Weston Super Mare, Somerset. Oct 2011

Discussion in 'Other Sites' started by Collingwood, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Collingwood

    Collingwood The quiet one..
    Regular User

    Feb 25, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Birnbeck Pier, Weston Super Mare, Somerset, October 2011.

    What better way to spend a sunny, Sunday afternoon, than racing against a rising tide on an abandoned and rapidly decaying Victorian pier!
    This was enormous fun, and a really enjoyable afternoon, much to the amusement of the onlookers on the shore. If you do plan on visiting, be VERY careful of the tide times, the causeway which disappears at an alarming rate is the only way to get to the Island and Pier. (I think a fellow explorer got caught out last year!!) Many thanks to my usual partner in crime Urbanity for a great afternoon.

    Some pier history blatantly stolen from www.piers.org.uk (great site if you like you Victorian land to sea protrusions!)

    ‘The foundation stone of this Birch-designed pier was laid in 1864. It opened on 5th June 1867 and consisted of a 1040 foot cantilever construction to Birnbeck Island and a short jetty extending westwards from the island.
    1872 improvements included the 250 foot wooden north jetty. A lifeboat station was added in 1881 (the boathouse was built in 1889), and a pavilion in 1884. A tramway transported baggage from the steamers.

    A fire damaged the main buildings on Boxing Day 1897, but the switchback escaped. The new pavilion and low water jetty opened in 1898. In 1902, a new lifeboat station was built. In 1903, the pier was closed after a gale damaged both jetties. The north jetty was rebuilt in steel to 300 foot and re-opened in 1904 but the low-water jetty remained closed until 1910 and lasted until 1932.

    The opening of the Grand Pier's funfair caused the abandonment of Birnbeck Island amusements in 1933. The Admiralty took over the pier from 1941 to 1946 when it became known as 'HMS Birnbeck'. P&A Campbell ran the pier from 1962-1972, selling it to John Critchley a year after regular passenger steamer services ceased to call.
    On 14th August 2009, the North Somerset Times reported that Birnbeck Pier was being sold to a mystery bidder. Urban Splash was reported as having accepted an offer from another party and was entering into legal issues. However, despite early encouraging signs, Urban Splash later said it was not in a position to redevelop the pier due to the recession.
    The pier has been closed to the public since 1994 and is included on English Heritage's "buildings at risk" register. It continues to deteriorate and its future is still unclear.'

    A few pics, (not up to my usual standard as we were a bit pushed for time, what with the tide coming in and all that!!)

    A general overview of what’s left..


    Wouldn’t want it any other way..







    The main structure is completely empty, and the sea air is slowly taking it’s toll...




    Victorian detailing, from when they knew how to build things that were made to last!



    The former steamer jetty, which would bring passengers from Penarth, Clevedon and many other ports up and down the Bristol Channel.
    In it’s heyday..


    and now...



    Found this beautiful old organ in the back corner of the main building..



    Current user’s of the pier are RNLI..



    And then the access was gone........



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