Llandudno Pier

Llandudno Pier

Llandudno Pier

Date

15 March 2015
Location

Llandudno

SH 78557 83183; 53.33156°N, 3.82509°W

Information

Llandudno’s first pier – a 74m timber-built industrial jetty – was completed in 1858. It was, however, badly damaged in the 1859 ‘Royal Charter’ storm and was later superseded by the current Victorian pleasure pier built by the Llandudno Pier Company, established in 1875. The pleasure pier was designed by architect Charles Henry Driver (1832-1900) and civil engineers James William Brunlees (1816-1892), who served as President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1883, and Alexander McKerrow (1837-1920).

With a wooden planked deck and steel superstructure supported by cast-iron piles, the pier was fabricated by Glasgow iron foundry Walter Macfarlane & Co and was completed in two stages. The first, 376m in length, with its entrance at the stone lodge on Happy Valley Road, opened in 1877. An extension spur, running parallel to the shore by the Baths Hotel, which was rebuilt and re-opened as the Grand Hotel in 1902, was added in 1884. This provided a second entrance to the pier from The Parade.

The iron-and-glass Pier Pavilion, which burned down in 1994, was built close to the second pier entrance next to the Baths Hotel and was completed in 1886. A small orchestra, formed when the pier first opened, originally performed at a bandstand at the pier head but later took up residence in the Pier Pavilion.

A deep-water landing stage was added at the pier head in 1891 allowing steam ships to dock there. In addition to local pleasure cruises, services also ran from the pier to Liverpool and the Isle of Man. The landing stage was rebuilt in concrete and steel in 1969 and was eventually closed on safety grounds owing to its deteriorating condition in 2005. In June 2012, however, it was announced that more than £330,000 was being invested in a new landing stage to allow cruise ships to return to the town. £200,000 of the funding was awarded from the tourism fund set up by the owners of Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm.

On 12 March 2015, Cuerden Leisure, the pier’s current owner, announced that it was selling the pier together with Blackpool’s South and Central piers with a collective asking price of £12.6 million, the individual guide price for Llandudno Pier being £4.5 million.

Llandudno Pier is a Grade II* listed structure and with an overall length of 700m is the longest pier in Wales.

Further Reading

Now and Then V: Llandudno

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Beaumaris Pier

Beaumaris Pier

Beaumaris Pier

Date

28 February 2015
Location

Beaumaris, Anglesey

SH 60575 76001; 53.26261°N, 4.09178°W

Information

Designed by Frederick Foster and constructed from limestone blocks, Beaumaris Pier originally opened in 1846. After being damaged in a storm it was rebuilt in 1872. The original masonry causeway was extended with a wooden-planked deck on iron girders supported by timber piles. Further alterations were made in 1895 when a T-shaped landing stage and a pavilion were added to the pier head. A narrow-gauge railway, carrying hand trucks to convey passengers’ luggage along the length of the pier, was also added at that time.

The Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company operated both local cruises and services to Liverpool from the pier. Following the decline in the popularity of pleasure cruises during the 1950s, however, the pier fell into disrepair and the cross pier head was subsequently demolished. Various repairs were carried out from the 1960s to the 80s, with ownership of the pier passing to Anglesey Borough Council in 1974.

More recently, as its condition had been allowed to deteriorate over the years, Anglesey County Council oversaw a major refurbishment programme as part of the £5.6 million Anglesey Coastal Environment Project with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and the Welsh Assembly Government. Work on the £2 million upgrade started in March 2011 and the pier was officially re-opened in June 2012. The project involved the following: strengthening the lumber supports with stainless-steel plates; replacing the wooden deck and restoring it to its full original width; renovating the pier-head shelter and the gift kiosk at the entrance; building a new connecting bridge and floating landing stage for use by the local angling and pleasure-cruise vessels that dock at the pier.

The new pontoon was damaged in December 2012 by a storm and high tides and was repaired in March 2013. By August 2013 concerns were being raised over the lack of general maintenance with the County Council not allocating any funds in its budget for the upkeep of the pier. Calls were also made for any money raised by the pier through docking fees to be ring fenced for its ongoing maintenance.

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Bangor Pier (1)

Bangor Pier

Bangor Pier

Date

22 February 2015
Location

Garth, Bangor

SH 58451 73224; 53.23710°N, 4.12236°W

Information

Bangor Pier was built not only as a promenade pier but also to take advantage of the popularity in the late 19th century for pleasure-boat trips. The Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company – which was established in 1890 as the New North Wales Steamship Company and which changed its name the following year after taking over the competing Liverpool, Llandudno and Welsh Coast Steam Boat Company – operated services between the new pier and Liverpool, Fleetwood near Blackpool, and Douglas in the Isle of Man. Following the decline in local pleasure cruising during the 1950s the company was wound up in 1962.

The pier, which was opened in 1896 by the 2nd Baron Penrhyn, was designed by Lancashire-born civil engineer John James Webster (1845-1914) and was constructed from steel girders supported by cast-iron columns and had a pontoon landing stage at the end. The structure, in the Garth district of Bangor, originally projected 1550 ft (472 m) into the Menai Strait. Currently 1500 ft (457 m) long, it is now the second longest surviving pier in Wales (the longest, Llandudno Pier, is 700 m long).

There are a number of kiosks along the length of pier and a 14-sided pavilion at the end, whose café originally served steam-boat passengers. There was also originally a narrow-gauge railway running the length of the pier to convey passengers’ luggage. Unlike many other piers, the one in Bangor has never hosted typical seaside amusement facilities.

The structure was seriously damaged in 1914 when the 130 ft vessel SS Christiana, which was incidentally built in the same year as the pier was completed, slipped it moorings at the pontoon and struck the pier. A temporary gangway was put in place to bridge the gap in the pier caused by the accident. The three-foot gauge railway was also removed when this repair work was undertaken. Permanent remedial work was, however, not carried out until 1921.

Following the demise of the pleasure-cruise services, the pier fell into into disrepair during the 1960s and was closed on safety grounds in 1971. It was acquired in 1974 by Arfon Borough Council, who decided to demolish it. Bangor City Council, however, managed to prevent this by obtaining a preservation order which led to its being granted listed status. Ownership passed to the City Council, which subsequently secured the funding necessary for its renovation. Restoration work carried out by contractor Alfred McAlpine commenced in 1982 with financial backing from the Welsh Development Agency, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Historic Buildings Council for Wales and the Manpower Services Commission. The pier, which is now a Grade II* listed structure, re-opened to the public in 1988.

The pier is currently in need of essential repair work and the City Council is faced with a major shortfall in the funds necessary for this. In 2011 it was announced that although over the past 25 years the council had been putting money aside for its maintenance amounting to £1 million, the costs involved in treating corrosion and painting the metalwork were likely to exceed £2 million. At the end of 2014 the council appointed consultants to assist with an application to be submitted this year to the Heritage Lottery Fund for financial support to develop more detailed renovation plans.

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Rehoboth Chapel, Nant Peris

Rehoboth Chapel

Rehoboth Chapel

Date

21 February 2015
Location

Nant Peris

SH 60551 58433; 53.10479°N, 4.08447°W

Information

The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists built a chapel in Nant Peris in 1833, which was rebuilt by Porthmadog architect Owen Morris Roberts in 1876. The name chosen for the chapel is a biblical placename from the Hebrew rehovot, meaning broad places. Capel Rehoboth received a Grade II listing in 1999 and is still used for Welsh-language services. It belongs to the Arfon Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Wales, the name officially adopted in 1928 by the nonconformist Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, who split from the Church of England in 1811.

Further Reading

Capel Rehoboth (British Listed Buildings)

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