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Southwold Pier
Southwold, Suffolk
Southwold Pier
associated engineer
W. Jeffrey
date  original 1900, rebuilt 1999-2001
era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  TM510767
photo  Peter Cross-Rudkin
These days, the town of Southwold, famed for its beach huts, once again offers seaside entertainment on its pier. Reduced to only 150ft long by storms over the years, Jeffrey's 1900 design was fully restored in 1999-2001.
Jeffrey's pier, built entirely of timber, was originally 810ft long, ending in a T-shaped pierhead. It was built for the Coast Development Company, who operated paddle steamers. Its main structure consists of diagonally braced timber trestles supporting the deck.
Ownership passed to the Amusement Equipment Company in 1906 and the steamers continued to operate until the 1930s.
The pierhead was swept away in a 1934 storm and not replaced. A two-storey timber amusement arcade was built at the landward end in 1936. Because of invasion fears, the deck was sectioned in 1940 and then resinstated in 1948 at a cost of 30,000.
The seaward end of the pier was again washed away in 1955 and its length reduced to 370ft — this shortened deck being devoid of accessories. In yet another disaster, a 1979 storm reduced the length to only 150ft.
The pier was in poor condition when it was taken over by new owners in 1987. However, restoration did not begin until 1999, when a new T-shaped pierhead brought its length up to 623ft. Four single-storey buildings were constructed at a cost of 1m. The refurbished pier was opened by the Duke of Gloucester on 3rd July 2001.
Southwold was named Pier of the Year 2002 by the National Piers Society. In 2004 you could get married on the pier, play locally-built slot machines, watch Punch & Judy or take a trip on the Waverley— the world's last seagoing paddle steamer.
Original contractor: A.Fasey, London
Supervising engineer (1999-2001): Nick Hayward
Specialist contractor (1999-2001): Bob Banks (piling)
Research: PD
reference sources   SPSurv

Southwold Pier