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Swanage Pier
Swanage, Dorset, UK
associated engineer
Not known
date  1895 - 1896
era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  SZ035789
ICE reference number  HEW 1634
Swanage Pier is unusual in that it is crescent-shaped and started life as a jetty, used for exporting stone. It was extended and later made into a pleasure pier after quarrying went into recession.
The mainstay of the local economy, Purbeck limestone, used to be loaded onto shallow craft and transferred to ships anchored offshore. In 1859, a 750ft-long jetty was built for direct loading. The landward end was of stone and the seaward greenheart timber. It was extended in 1881 after the failure of some landward timber piles. After quarrying died down, the jetty was left to decay.
In an effort to revive the economy, a new pier was built to the west in 1895-96. Designed for paddle steamers, it was 642ft long, crescent-shaped and used greenheart timber piles. These were cross braced and connected by transoms, supporting longitudinal joists and transverse deck planks. Cast iron handrail panels and lampposts adorned the deck. There was a divided two-tier pierhead, with two shelters and a three-level landing stage.
The pier was extensively repaired in 1928, when many piles were encased in concrete. Some 85ft of the landward end of the neck was demolished during World War II, later replaced with reinforced concrete columns and deck. The pier re-opened in 1948, when the old jetty was demolished. Steamer traffic ceased in 1966. It has only basic facilities at the entrance and no amusements.
Grade 2 listed status was awarded in 1976.
It was closed after storms in 1981, partly re-opened in 1986. Further repairs in 1987 included construction of two berthing dolphins. More repairs 1996-98 for the Swanage Pier Trust comprised extraction and replacement of a quarter of the 170 greenheart timber piles. The pier won the National Pier Society's Peter Mason Award in 1999.
Main contractor: Branford Civil & Marine (1996-98 repairs)
Contractor: Macbar Construction Ltd (1986 repairs)
reference sources   SPSurv

Swanage Pier