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Southend-on-Sea Pier
Southend-On-Sea, Essex
associated engineer
Sir James William Brunlees
Sir John Wolfe Barry
date  1887 - 1888
era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  TQ884847
ICE reference number  HEW 79
At 7,080ft or 1.34 miles, this is the longest pleasure pier in the world. Even the timber pier that it replaced broke records when it was extended in 1846 and became the longest in Europe.
The pier we can seen today, Brunlees' iron pier of 1887-88, was 6,400ft long when built. It has cast iron screw piles, cross-braced cast iron columns, individually spaced timber boarding running lengthwise and three simple handrails. The extra handrail divides the pier railway (now electric) from the main area of the deck.
A new pierhead was added in 1898. An upper deck in 1908. The pier was extended in 1927 and in 1929, with a concrete jetty making up its record-breaking length.
The pierhead is partly three-tiered. It accomodates coastguard and lifeboat stations, a solarium and sundeck, amusements and a pavilion.
Ship collision destroyed the lifeboat station in 1986 and a temporary was provided. A new one designed by the architects Bond Design Associates, and constructed by Dean & Dyball, was built in 2000-01. It features a glazed watchtower.
The timber pier that this one replaced was built in 1829-30. It was 1,500ft long and only the third seaside pier built in Britain. It was extended in 1835 (c. 2,600ft) and again in 1846 to a European record length of nearly 7,000ft. The first 600ft were 20ft wide and the rest 8ft wide. Its pierhead was designed by J. Simpson. A horse tramway ran along it and an entrance tollhouse was built in 1885.
This pier was demolished to make way for the new.
Contractor (1887-88): Arrol Brothers, Glasgow
Contractor (1898): Murdock & Cameron
Contractor (1929): Peter Lind & Co Ltd
Research: PD
reference sources   CEH E&CSurvSP

Southend-on-Sea Pier