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Mumbles Pier
The Mumbles, Swansea, Wales, UK
Mumbles Pier
associated engineer
William Sutcliffe Marsh
date  1897 - 10th May 1898, 1956
era  Victorian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  SS631875
ICE reference number  HEW 2693
The pier at the Welsh headland known as the Mumbles, at the west end of Swansea Bay, is a simple late Victorian steel and cast iron structure built for the Mumbles Railway & Pier Company as the terminus of the line from Swansea. It is one of only six surviving iron piers in Wales, and is Grade II listed.
In 1865, the Llanelly Railway obtained permission to build a Mumbles branch line and pier but the project was not completed. However, Sir John Jones Jenkins (1835-1915), chairman of the Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway, successfully promoted the 1889 Act authorising its construction. As the terminus for the Swansea to Mumbles line, it was the start point for steamer trips to resorts in Wales, Devon and Somerset.
The 254.5m pier was designed by engineer William Sutcliffe Marsh (1852-1917). Its substructure consists of clusters of four circular hollow cast iron columns braced with steel rails below a planked timber deck of pitch pine carried on steel lattice girders. The deck has cast iron parapets with open foliage panels and a central row of fluted cast iron gas lamps.
Two simple timber kiosks stood at the pier entrance. On each side of the main deck are three refuges, the largest pair of which held pavilions and the others had seating. At the seaward end the pier broadens and originally carried a bandstand. A lower-level platform supported on timber piles was built at the end of the pierhead for steamer embarkation and disembarkation.
Construction began in 1897 and was completed the following year at a cost of £17,000. Mumbles Pier opened officially on 10th May 1898.
In 1916, an RNLI lifeboat station was added on the north side of the pier, accessed by a lattice girder walkway supported on concrete piles. The walkway sits perpendicular to the mid point of the main structure. It has a seaward slipway parallel to the pier. In 1922, a lifeboat house was constructed on the walkway.
In 1929, electric trams replaced the steam trains on the Swansea & Mumbles Railway. On 1st October 1937, the pier was taken over by current owners the Amusement Equipment Company of Wembley (AMECO Ltd) who operated it under licence.
In 1940, the pier was requisitioned by the War Department. It was breached deliberately — as were many British seaside piers — to prevent its strategic use by a possible enemy invasion force during World War II (1939-45). The breach was repaired in 1956. By that time, the present pier entrance had been installed to replace the original kiosks, the lifeboat station and slipway rebuilt and a new three-tier landing stage founded on steel piles constructed at the pierhead. On 9th June 1956, the pier re-opened to the public.
In 1957, AMECO acquired the freehold to Mumbles Pier. In January 1960, the Swansea & Mumbles Railway closed and buses took over the route.
In 1966, extensive refurbishment and reconstruction works were carried out, including the construction of a new arcade on shore together with a helter-skelter, a ballroom and the Pier Hotel. Between 1975 and 1985, steelwork repairs and ongoing maintenance costing £25,000-£30,000 each year were undertaken. In 1987-8, a further £40,000 was spent on refitting and structural repairs at the pier entrance.
In July 1991, the Mumbles Pier was Grade II listed. In 1998-9, a new pavilion was constructed to replace the 1966 amusement arcade.
The pier fell into disrepair and closed in July 2011. However, plans were announced for pier reconstruction, including new facilities such as a pavilion, hotel and apartments, and a new lifeboat house to accommodate the larger RNLI Tamar class lifeboat. In December 2011, planning consent was granted and construction began in early 2012. The pier re-opened in summer 2014. Phase one works were completed in 2015.
Contractor: Mayoh & Haley
Ironwork: Widnes Foundry Company
Gas lamps: Revo of Tipton
RCAHMW_NPRN 34268
Research: PD, ECPK
bibliography
"Piers of Wales" by Martin Easdown, Amberley Publishing Ltd, Stroud, 2013
http://cadw.wales.gov.uk
www.bbc.co.uk/news
www.coflein.gov.uk
www.ice.org.uk
www.mumbleshead.info
www.mumblespierproject.com
www.theheritagetrail.co.uk
reference sources   CEH WalesSPSurv
Location

Mumbles Pier