Walton Pier – An appearance in Great Coastal Railway Journeys
Michael Portillo visits Essex in a railway journey from Canvey Island to Wrabness. Walton-on-the-Naze is reached along the journey and Walton Pier is visited with reference to its angling community. It can be noted during this segment that the seaward half of the pier is still barricaded, certainly a disappointing sight which highlights the difficulties in running a pier of this nature. The RNLI abandoned the lifeboat berth at the pier head in 2023 due to “infrastructure issues”. In areas where the deck is open to the public, it would seem that some re-decking has taken place.
The BBC programme is accessible below and the Walton segment begins at 16:07.
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Brighton Palace Pier – Entry Fee to be Reintroduced
Management at Brighton Palace Pier have announced that a £1 entry fee will be in force from the 25th May onwards. Brighton residents will be exempted. Historically, the pier operated for most of its life as a paid-admission attraction, only becoming free following its purchase by the Noble Organisation in 1984.
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Llandudno Pier – “Attraction of the Year” in Innovation Awards
Following its second place in the National Piers Society’s Pier of the Year 2024, Llandudno Pier has won the “Attraction of the Year” category of Corporate Livewire’s Innovation & Excellence Awards. The criteria emphasises steps taken to improve the financial sustainability of such enterprises, as well as to improve offerings for the user.
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Southend Pier – “The Big Bank Holiday Weekend” Passes Mostly with Success
Generous visitor numbers were greeted to the advertised Bank Holiday events on the pier over Saturday and Sunday, highlighting a most appealing function for the generously-sized pier head, something which will hopefully be repeated throughout the Summer season. The event was cancelled on the Monday due to rain.
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Southport Pier – Trespassers?
The security barricades at the pier entrance were found breached on Sunday and led to 40 people finding themselves on the pier before being removed by police. Whether this circumstance of trespassing was genuinely illicit or a simple misunderstanding remains unclear. In any case, it seems likely that the pier will remain closed to the public for a number of years.
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Ramsey Queen’s Pier (Isle of Man) – First Public Opening of the Season
The pier will be opening to the public every Sunday afternoon starting on Sunday 12th May. The linked photograph shows the present prospect; of eight completed bays, the pier train in-situ (presently a static exhibit) and many hundreds of plank dedication plaques.
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Southport Pier – Final Structural Report Released
The structural inspection report of Southport Pier, commissioned to A E Yates and subcontacted to Thomasons Partnership, has been released. Its findings do not vary dramatically from previously-reported suspicions as to the pier’s condition, and solidify the belief that much of the pier’s present structural problems derived from latent issues in the 1998-2002 restoration work. The report is available to view on Sefton Council’s website.
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Ramsey Queen’s Pier (Isle of Man) – Steel Delivery Imminent
The steel for bays 7-8 have arrived at Glasson Dock, Lancashire and are shortly to be shipped to Ramsey for installation at the pier over the Summer. The pier opened to the public for the first time this year last Sunday; it will be open every Sunday afternoon through the Summer.
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Helensburgh Pier and P.S Waverley – Sea Trials
Helensburgh Pier has been closed to landings since 2018, but recently intentions have been expressed for the restoration of the landing stage. Part of the pier can now be used for small vessels, but while the main landing stage is being restored, P.S Waverley arrived to conduct trial sailings in the navigable channels surrounding the pier. Numerous approach routes were tested to assess their viability in landing manoevres, and even though the Waverley did not physically land at the pier in this instance, it is a promising display which proves the commitment in resuming Waverley callings at Helensburgh.
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Old Colwyn – New Fishing Pier
As part of the coastal defence works at Old Colwyn, a short public pier has opened which will officially operate as a fishing pier. For Council work of this nature, the public response has been remarkably positive and the pier is proving to be an appealing addition to the coastline for both walkers and anglers. It will, however, not be eligible for listing on the National Piers Society’s directory of piers.
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Southend Pier – Gift Shop is Open
The Mayor of Southend has opened a new pier gift shop, which forms part of the entrance foyer to the pier. Collectively, this foyer forms a convenient centre for the pier’s amenities, including the ticket office for admissions, the Pier Museum and the the railway platforms, so the gift shop seems to be a suitably prominent feature for visitors. Many of the items are custom-made graphical objects (bags, mugs, notebooks etc.) with a most appealing and successful series of graphic designs. Apparently the work of an in-house member of Southend Council, they are to be congratulated for their design prowess!
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NATIONAL PIERS SOCIETY’S 2024 AGM
The National Piers Society’s AGM has taken place this last weekend and, as usual, it is a highlight for the NPS’ calendar. It was further brightened by beautiful weather and very fine hospitality from all involved. Aside from the below summary, an official account of the weekend and the AGM minutes will be reproduced in the Summer 2024 edition of PIERS.
This year’s AGM took place in Bangor, the first time the city has hosted the event. Over the weekend, 17-19th May, Colwyn Bay (AGM 1996) and Llandudno (AGM 2012) were also visited and enthusiastic representations from each’s respective operators were enjoyed. The AGM itself was held in the Penrhyn Hall, part of Bangor City Council’s facilities. A very fine Saturday meal was provided at Bangor University’s Management Centre and Sunday was devoted to a bus trip to Colwyn Bay and Llandudno. At the latter, the remarkable hospitality of manager Adam Williams and his staff came to members as a pleasant topping off of the day. At Bangor Pier, a tour on the Saturday revealed the remarkable work of the Friends of Bangor Garth Pier in reviving the sense of social purpose the pier has to Bangor, where only a few years ago it might have been described as functionally lost. The Bangor Pier Festival on Sunday (described below) was enjoyed by a few members who were not constrained to returning to their places of origin that afternoon, and it appears to have been a remarkable success for those involved.
It has been established that the 2025 AGM will be held in Great Yarmouth. The town last hosted the AGM in 1992 and this particular event included a visit to Lowestoft’s Claremont Pier, whose seaward end had already been closed for 10 years and with no hope of re-opening. Today, the circumstance is quite different and to see the partially-redecked pier and possibly even a new entrance building to Great Yarmouth Britannia Pier should be exciting highlights for the 2025 AGM.
Images from the AGM Weekend

Bangor Pier Festival
Although the event has not yet been recorded in news coverage, the Friends of Bangor Garth Pier have reflected on what has been a remarkably successful event on their Facebook account. The event took place on Sunday 19th May, concurrent with the AGM, with the specific intention of celebrating the pier’s 128th birthday (a delayed event intended for its 125th). The weather was perfect and a number of bands performed on an outdoor stage in the pier car park throughout the day. Unfortunately time constraints prevented a visit to the festival from being incorporated into the AGM schedule, but a number of NPS members managed to visit during the late afternoon. The Friends of Bangor Garth Pier’s Facebook group has also reported that the Eastern pier-head shelter is presently in the process of reconstruction in-situ, having been absent since 2018. (Photo: Robin Cooper)
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Great Yarmouth Britannia Pier – Proposed New Entrance Building
Following previous reports of proposals for a replacement entrance building, loosely in the style of Wellington Pier and Felixstowe Pier’s pavilions, these initial proposals have since been criticised by the local planning committee and conservation officers. The revised proposals depart from the previous formulaic facade, and whilst less dramatic in scale, were judged by the committee to be acceptable and were approved. In our modern era, it seems that everything from the car to the refrigerator now needs a bright colour screen of some sort, and indeed the entrance building will feature such a device. This will come in useful for advertising the array of functions taking place in the Pier Theatre, instead of the memorably busy advertisement panels at present. The end of the article features several highly valuable mid-20th Century photographs of the pier and current entrance building (completed in the mid-1960s).
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Clacton Pier – New Staff Facilities
After considerable work in organising a dense programme of visitor attractions and events in recent years, much investment is taking place to expand the pier’s staffing, maintenance and recruitment facilities. Several new buildings have been erected on the pier’s mid-section, and for what could easily have been a collection of container offices lodged behind the rides, the architectural effort is most commendable. With a playful mish-mash of materials and a heap of beachhut-style gables rising against the roller coasters, they certainly enliven the architectural setting of the pier, as well as undoubtedly enriching the staff’s working conditions.
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Brighton Palace Pier – An Offer for Brighton Residents
After imposing a £1 admission fee, Brighton Palace Pier have reversed this charge for Brighton residents, who will receive free entry upon application of a valid resident card. Unlimited rides will be offered to residents on Fridays between 16:00 and 20:00, at the cost of £10.
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Shotley Pier – Planning Application for New Gates
News at Shotley Pier has been quiet for the last several years, with progress towards restoration somewhat thwarted by planning difficulties, but the first section of the pier appears to be restored and open to the public. The current construction fencing panel, positioned across the entrance during closed periods, is to be replaced by permanent gates of an ornamental character. The planning application offers a pencil sketch which reveals the basic character of what is proposed; almost certainly to prove an inviting visual feature to the pier once it is installed. A planning decision is expected by mid-July.
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Southport Pier – Several Features
The ongoing closure of Southport Pier is again emphasised in the first of the articles below, whilst setting out a wider history to the pier that shows the extent of its resilience to damage and neglect. Attached to the article is a gallery of nine historic photographs dating to various parts of the 20th Century; all presenting equally dismal prospects. That the pier remains today following the various pictured damage certainly proves its resilience.
The overall saga is brought together in the BBC article, with a particular emphasis on the effects of the closure on the wider town. It is a well-written and detailed article – a good introduction to the present situation.
The Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust recently hosted a competition of poetry and photography, and the winning entry for the photography category was a fine evening photograph of Southport Pier. (Image: Vilma Jureviciute)
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Recent Bank Holiday Events
Clacton Pier enjoyed good weather during the Bank Holiday weekend, and as usual many extra entertainments were offered during this period – as set out in this rather brief article. The Pier’s popular fireworks display also took place and will next repeat on the 27th July. Over the Half Term week, the Pier’s “Jurassic Pier” attraction will be presented as a “Jurassic Half Term” event; thusly the presence of dinosaurs across the pier will be rather more profound than normal!
Southend Pier is also hosting Bank Holiday events and these will continue until next Sunday. The detailed article reveals the numerous ways the pier is being used for these special events, which is an encouraging sign of the pier’s flexibility in operation.
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London Piers – Proposed Developments
Transport for London have expressed intentions to undertake redevelopment works at the Festival Pier and Greenwich Pier, in order to widen their user base and encourage further footfall. The development of these proposals is still at an early stage, but TfL has emphasised that the piers will remain foremost as passenger facilities.
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Brighton Palace Pier – Third “Most Popular” Amusement Arcade
The online gambling guide “VegasSlotsOnline” noted that the amusement arcade on Brighton Palace Pier has reached third place in their study of the most popular amusement arcades in the country, carefully calculated after taking into account numerous statistical factors. The amusement arcades in the top two positions are not in a seaside context, but rather newly-established “super-arcades” in the cities.
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Southend Pier – Party Politics at the Pier
The deputy leader of the Labour Party, Angela Raynor, visited Southend Pier with several other political candidates to survey the situation in coastal communities. As well as making several political pledges, the pier was made full use of in taking a generous series of publicity photographs! (Image: Elliott Deady)
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Hastings Pier – Retrospective Planning Application and Structural Repairs
“Retrospective Planning” is a subject which appears occasionally in the recent histories of Hastings and Eastbourne Pier. A newly-submitted planning application concerns various recently-completed structural and cosmetic works to Hastings Pier; specifically the replacement of a steel structural girder, protective works to an iron column, and the installation of “Victorian-style” lamp posts along the pier.
To see the completion of girder replacements is an undeniably positive development and the new girder appears to be at least superficially well-matched to those surrounding it. The completed column repair appears to be photographed in the Heritage Statement and, involving a steel collar filled with concrete around the column (a treatment already completed with many other columns), seems rather more primitive in execution.
The lamp posts are of a superficially Victorian style and cover the entire perimeter of the pier. Several objections have been expressed regarding their quality and stylistic compatibility with the dRMM-designed pier regeneration. Planning officers, however, are recommending approval of the application. The committee report also notes that there remain numerous unauthorised structures on the pier which are subject to a separate enforcement notice. Such a notice is shown to have been originally served in 2020.
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Read More (Planning application)