The seaside piers around the coast of Britain stand as a powerful reminder of the achievements of Victorian engineers and entrepreneurs. However, of the 100 piers that once graced our coastline, only half survive, and several of these face an uncertain future.

The National Piers Society is a non-profit making registered charity which was founded in 1979 under Sir John Betjeman, at a time when some of the finest piers were threatened with demolition. Over the years the National Piers Society has grown steadily and has become well established as the leading authority on seaside piers. Through the Society’s efforts several piers, that would otherwise have vanished, remain for the enjoyment of everyone.

The Society’s aim is to promote and sustain interest in the preservation, building and continued enjoyment of seaside piers.

The National Piers Society advises heritage bodies, local authorities, pier owners, national government, and the media on pier-related matters. The Society maintains links with the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions (representing pier owners) and the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, whose vessels operate excursions from pier landing stages.

National Piers Society members (see the Membership page for further details) receive the quarterly journal ‘PIERS’ which is published by the Society and features all the latest pier news and events, historical features and richly illustrated articles which are of interest to pier lovers everywhere. The Society’s members choose a Pier Of The Year every spring and a triennial award for engineering achievement in pier restoration (The Peter Mason Award) is made by an advisory panel of experts. The Society also organises  visits and talks and holds its Annual General Meeting in a different pier resort each year. In the longer term the Society wishes to establish a network of regional branches and a National Piers Museum.

The National Piers Society is run by a small number of volunteers. For more information about the Executive Committee members please see below. If you would like to contribute to the Society or join the Executive Committee then please do get in touch.

We’d like to receive any feedback you may have about the website or our society, please contact us.

Tim Wardley : Chairman

I have always enjoyed mixing a career in the rail industry and freelance documentary producer at the BBC with my passion for entertainment and the seaside. Following ill health retirement I have been able to focus on my love of theatre, performing arts and the seaside for the past three decades. Serving nearly 20 years as Chairman of the London Branch of the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society, who own PS Waverley my interest naturally gravitated to seaside piers through the relationship with piers and steamers. After almost 30 years membership of the NPS I have held several officer positions and currently serve as Chairman, exploiting every opportunity to support and promote our seaside piers as a vital element of our coastal tourism economy and seaside heritage.

Away from piers and ships I restore cinema organs and steam engines, and assist the Rye Wurlitzer Academy, the only Charity of its kind in the world to offer music and stagecraft education to underprivileged youngsters aged 4-24 free at the point of delivery.

Chris Wyatt : Honorary Secretary and Website Manager

My interest in piers really began when my wife and I moved in 2004 from central Cardiff to a flat on Penarth Esplanade immediately opposite Penarth Pier. The beautiful art deco pavilion on the pier was then a complete wreck and had been closed to the public for many years. The pier itself, however, was in excellent condition and my curiosity regarding seaside piers was aroused. I eventually joined NPS in February 2008 and, when the Society. held its AGM in Penarth in 2009, I foolishly asked if the Executive Committee contained any Welsh members, which resulted in a vacancy being filled by a new Welsh member, ie. me.
During my tenure on the Executive Committee, I designed and managed the previous incarnation of our website and, following the departure of the creator and manager of our current site, I have taken over the website manager role.
I am currently also a volunteer at the National Trust’s Dyffryn Gardens where I drive the visitors 6-seater electric buggy and work in the Shop and on the Reception desk in the Visitor Centre (VR).

Max Shepherd : Hon.Treasurer

I was born and raised in a small town near Southend on Sea and I have always lived close to the coast.

As a child, I was often taken for walks along the piers and would often fish for crabs along the way. I was regularly taken to Southend, Clacton and Walton piers where we would spend many happy hours on the pier and also on the beach looking for fossils. I still regularly visit these local piers with my children, nieces and nephews.

Aside from piers, I am a practising chartered certified accountant and my main interest is playing and watching sport, especially football.

Neil Thomas-Childs : Membership Secretary

I was born and raised in Hertfordshire and family holidays were always taken to the East Anglian seaside towns of Great Yarmouth and Clacton-on-Sea, before later moving inland to the nearby Norfolk Broads. These holidays instilled a love of all things seaside in me, especially the Snails at Joyland in Great Yarmouth which I will always ride on any return visits many years later.
As a family, we would often visit the piers and I can remember many nights at the Great Yarmouth Britannia Pier Theatre seeing the comedians of the day – Cannon and Ball, Russ Abbot, etc. – and hours spent feeding the 2p or ‘nudge’ arcade machines. One vivid memory from a holiday in the 80s is of seeing Cannon and Ball and, on returning home, repeating ‘You little liar’, with a pretend pull of my braces (one of Bobby’s catchphrases) to my uncle and receiving a clip round the ear from my mum for being ‘so rude’! Why take me somewhere if you don’t want me to repeat things in, what I thought was a comedic way? Obviously, I haven’t become comedian as my delivery was most probably very wrong!
We still holiday a lot around the UK, as there is so much to see and explore in our wonderful country and, although we now live in a Devon seaside town, you’ll still find us exploring a seaside town or pier somewhere whilst we’re travelling.
Volunteering is also in my blood, having volunteered in many different places and settings for 30 years plus now, and so I am happy to provide some of my free time volunteering as an NPS Trustee and the Membership Secretary; both greatly supporting the work of the NPS.

Frances White : NPS Sales

I was born in Bolton in 1946 and spent many family holidays on the Northwest coast with its abundance of piers – Blackpool, St. Anne’s, Morecambe, Fleetwood, Southport. My husband, John, and I worked in Swansea for a few years enjoying visits to Mumbles pier and walking on the Gower peninsula.  Later, after five years working abroad, we returned to the UK and owned a pharmacy business on the Wirral for 23 years, retiring to Farndon, just south of Chester.

An article in New Scientist in 1982 encouraged me to join the National Piers Society.  In 1993, I was elected to the committee and took over as Treasurer a year later.  After nine years I relinquished this post  to concentrate on Book Sales – the Piers Kiosk feature in the “Piers” journal and the NPS Shop section of the website keep me busy.

Apart from piers, my other interests include redundant churches, my 35 year old Land Rover, scuba diving (only in tropical waters!), tolling the bells in the village church and playing the recorder in a local band.

David Spooner : General Enquiries Manager

My career has been entirely in the construction industry, the first part being with contractors, and latterly as a project manager. In 2013 I was very fortunate to be appointed to the position to manage the restoration of Hastings Pier. Three years on, the construction is complete and the Pier is now open.

Since childhood, I have always had a liking for piers; growing up in North East London, we spent many happy days visiting Southend and Clacton Piers; this interest has followed throughout my life and I joined the NPS many years ago.

I haven’t yet visited all of the piers around our coast but I am gradually ticking them off. Living in Hastings, we have quite a few surviving examples of Victorian excellence.

Having now retired, I have the time and am very much looking forward to actively serving on the committee and contributing as much as I can to our great Society.

Michael Wooldridge : PIERS Editor

Having been born and raised in the Brighton area, it was always normal for me to be visiting the Piers. I am old enough to remember spending time on the much-missed West Pier when I was very small, though the Palace Pier always seemed the more exciting of them to me at that time. Daytrips
by rail, often with my grandmother, were taken to Hastings, Eastbourne, Southsea and the Isle of Wight, all with their piers to enjoy, and, further afield, Bournemouth, Weston-Super-Mare and, of course, as a theatre organist, family holidays to Blackpool.
My career has been very varied but has mostly been around the world of music, playing concerts throughout the UK, as well as work trips to appear in Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, and Dubai. I have been featured on radio, television, and I have even played for HRH Prince Charles.
Having a passion for musicals, I have been delighted to Produce and work as Musical Director on hundreds of shows. With my then business partner, I was responsible for the re-opening of Blackpool’s North Pier Theatre after some five years dark, and also, just away from the pier, saving the West Cliff Theatre Clacton’s summer season; from the restart we gave them, both are still
running, which is wonderful. We also staged a season on the pier at Bournemouth but, sadly, that theatre was nearing its close at the time.
I am looking forward to my tenure as editor of PIERS magazine. For many years I have published and edited the Keyboard Cavalcade magazine, a national subscription magazine for those interested in home keyboards, home organs and digital pianos.

Caroline Buttolph : Committee Member & Peter Mason Awards Manager

I have had family involvement with the NPS since I was a small child.  My father was chairman of NPS and  a well know engineer, in fact President of the Institute of Structural Engineers – that is why  the NPS has the Peter Mason award in his memory.  My mother was NPS membership secretary for years.

I was born in Brighton – hence my attachment to the West Pier.  Educated in London I have had a variety of careers – my last twenty years working for the NHS as an occupational therapist specialising in mental health and old age psychiatry.  I love cats, boating , writing and travelling.  I currently live in Oxford with my husband William and son James.

Oliver Mills : Weekly Newsletter Editor

Living in what is argued to be the furthest place from the British coast, whilst deeply ironic and inconvenient for an NPS member, is likely what provoked my embrace of the seaside pier establishment initially. In no other place than these foreign aquatic lands would aerial iron platforms run, simply for the pleasure of visitors. The ornamental architecture, of Bangor Pier specifically, was sufficiently vivid to remain imprinted in the mind of a 6 year old, and naturally this impression became deeper the more piers I saw. I had become unconsciously obsessed with the subject by age 12; by age 16 I had learnt of the NPS’ existence and became a member immediately; and now at age 22, after years of waiting for such obstructions as A-levels and University to end, I joined the Committee in 2022. As a committee member, I am hoping to assist in the construction of a digital online archive of pier-related material; my experience in the architecture/conservation workplace may also be applied in my tenure. Passions of photography, classical pipe organs, cartography and vintage electrical appliances run in parallel to that of Seaside Piers.

Peter Wheeler : Pier Engineering Officer

Peter Wheeler is a Royal Engineer and now lectures in Mechanical and Structural Engineering.

He has worldwide hands-on experience with marine structures, piers, bridges and pontoons.

He has supervised and undertaken engineering and consultancy for several UK Piers and hopes to swim
around each UK Pier.

Martin Easdown : Archivist

Martin is recognized as one of the leading authorities on the history of the seaside pleasure Pier and has been a member of the National Piers Society since 1988, and its archivist since 1994.

He is also a prolific writer on piers as well as other seaside attractions and is a well-respected local historian who has been researching and Publishing books on Folkstone, Hythe, and other areas of Kent for nearly 30 years.

Tim Mickleburgh : Hon. Vice-President

I suppose I am the “elder statesmen” of the NPS these days, having produced my first “Guide to British Piers” back in 1978 which led me to be involved in the setting up of our society a year later.

I have held various roles over the years, including being Chairman from 1995 to 2003. Highlights of this time include 1996’s “Year of the Pier”, speaking in front of 8000 people at the re-opening of Southwold Pier and writing books for both Ian Allan and Frances Frith.

Since then I’ve been the society’s first Hon Vice President, and continue to represent us largely behind the scenes including providing a chapter for our “British Seaside Piers” volume and helping promote my local pier at Cleethorpes.

Incidentally I became interested in piers back in 1971, and took advantage of a student railcard while at College to visit most structures around our coast. My favourites are probably Southend (for sheer size!) and Llandudno (location), while I like pier history rather than shows. But each to his or her own!