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Banjo Pier
River Looe, East Looe, Cornwall
Banjo Pier
associated engineer
Joseph Thomas
date  1897
era  Victorian  |  category  Breakwater  |  reference  SX256530
photo  photo: E.C.P. Knowles
The stone structure now known as Banjo Pier borders the eastern side of the River Looe as it enters the sea, separating the river from the East Looe beach. It acts as a seawall, preventing the shallow river from silting up.
The structure started life a long groyne with a slight curve, orientated northwest to southeast. This configuration did not prevent silt from blocking the river, causing problems for vessels trying to get to the towns' harbour and quays from the open sea.
Local engineer Joseph Thomas (1838-1901) decided that the solution would be to shorten the length of the wall and to add a circular hub at its seaward end, thus giving it its distinctive “banjo” shape.
Thomas was so confident of the outcome that he offered to bear the expense of the works if it didn’t solve the problem but if it did, the Harbour Board would pay the costs. Fortunately, it was a success and the Board paid up!
Joseph Thomas also engineered the Liskeard Junction Railway, linking the Looe Valley line to the Great Western line.
Research: ECPK
“The Book of Looe - Tourism, Trawlers & Trade”
by Mark Camp and Barbara Birchwood Harper
Halsgrove, Wellington, Somerset, 2007

Banjo Pier