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Southport Pier
Southport, Merseyside, UK
Southport Pier
associated engineer
Sir James William Brunlees
date  1859 - 1860
UK era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  SD326180
ICE reference number  HEW 831
photo  donation
The first seaside pier in the UK to be founded on cast iron jetted piles, a technique that uses pressurised water, pioneered in France. When it opened in 1860, it was the longest pier in the country at 3,600ft.
Rows of three cast iron piles were installed using mains water pressure. These support cast iron circular columns in rows of three at 50ft centres braced diagonally with wrought iron tie bars, the outer columns raking. Wrought iron lattice girders, braced at their ends and centres by diagonal angle irons and T purlins, carry the timber deck.
To protect the structure from rust, the piles and columns were boiled for one hour in a mixture of tar and asphalte. The cast iron handrails and wrought ironwork were painted with red lead after fabrication, then two coats of paint after erection.
The pier was lengthened in 1864 and again in 1868 until it reached a total of 4,380ft. It was also widened. Its three rows of piles were increased to four. The piles were sunk 15-20ft into the sandy sea bed at a rate of about one every 25 minutes.
Renovation work was carried out in 2000-02 and there is now a modern pierhead pavilion and a bird watching area. There is also a new central tramway, replacing the one installed in 1864 on the widened western portion of the deck.
The pier's length has been reduced to 3,650ft because of repeated storm damage, half of this length being over the land. The National Pier Society chose it as 'Pier of the Year' in 2003.
Contractor: W. & J. Galloway, Manchester
research: PD
"Description of the Pier at Southport, Lancashire "
H. Hooper
Minutes of the Proceedings of the ICE, Volume 20
London, 1861
reference sources   CEH NorthSurvSPSPd

Southport Pier