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Eastbourne Pier
Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK
Eastbourne Pier
associated engineer
Eugenius Birch
date  18th April 1866 - 1872
era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  TV617988
ICE reference number  HEW 431
photo  Trevor Page
The high standard of ironwork finish makes Eastbourne a most attractive pier. It is often considered to be Birch's second finest, after Brighton's West Pier, which is sadly beyond repair.
Construction began on 18th April 1866, when the first pile was driven, by contractor J.E. Dowson but was completed after his death by Head Wrightson & Co. in 1872. It was opened by Lord Cavendish on 13th June 1870.
The pier is 1,000ft long, with a neck width of 27ft. A fairly typical Birch design, it is built on cast iron screw piles with 12in diameter cast iron columns. Wrought iron ties carry lattice girders, originally supporting a timber deck.
An unusual feature is the specially made cups that support the piles, which rest on bedrock below the sand. This allows some movement of the pier structure during bad weather. There were originally six kiosks and a pair of tollbooths at the entrance.
The landward end was destroyed in a storm on New Years Day 1877 and rebuilt to a higher level, connected to the remainder by a sloping ramp.
A pierhead measuring 310ft x 40ft with a domed 400 seat theatre was built in 1888. A landing stage was added in 1893 and a second 1,000 seat theatre and camera obscura were built in 1899-1901. Two games saloons were also added midway along the pier in 1901.
In 1912, the pier was extended and new entrance buildings were erected. A 900 seat pavilion was constructed in 1922.
The timber deck was removed during World War II and a concrete replacement laid in 1945. The entrance was remodelled in 1951 and again in 1991.
Eastbourne Pier is a Grade II Listed Building. It was named 'Pier of the Year 1997' by the National Piers Society. The camera obscura was restored and re-opened in 2003.
Contractor: J.E. Dowson (commencement)
Contractor: Head Wrightson & Co (completion)
Research: PD
reference sources   SurvSP

Eastbourne Pier