Clacton Pier in seaside resort town Clacton-on-Sea in Essex is now an impressive 146 years old… so it’s perhaps no surprise that concrete repairs are now necessary on the pier itself to ensure that it stands the test of time and lives for another 146 years at least!
According to the Clacton and Frinton Gazette, the pier is currently supported by over 3,000 concrete piles and a lot of these are actually over 90 years old. While some repair work has been done in the past, small parts of the outer concrete are now starting to crumble away to reveal the metal reinforcements and these will need to be cut out and replaced so that the pier will be able to handle the weight of future developments.
Billy Ball, pier director, explained that it should take about two years to finish the work, saying: “It was a bit of a daunting prospect when we started out as we believe that about 500 of the piles will need some repairs carried out so that they will hold good for another 100 years or so.
“It was important to ensure that everything was in order below deck for us to go ahead with our plans to make the pier a modern all-weather 52-week a year attraction.”
Clacton Pier itself first opened to the public on July 27th 1871 – and was just 160 yards long and four yards wide at the time. It was originally built to serve as a landing platform predominantly to support the flow of manufactured goods and products. The amount of footfall that arrived in the area as a result of the pier, however, showed the owners that it could do a lot for tourism in the region and that there was lots of cold hard cash to be made from holidaymakers attracted to the area.
All sorts of redevelopments have taken place over the years, with additions like a Children’s Theatre, a dance hall, an open air swimming pool and an open air stage all added in the 20s during the first world war. In the 80s, some local businessmen took ownership of the pier and added in a circus, ice rink and roller rink, a roller coaster and a water slide.
In 2000, The Clacton Pier Company started investing in the Pier to restore it to its former glory, with the Cockney Pride pub totally redeveloped as the Boardwalk Bar & Grill, the Casino Royal amusement hall upgraded to include all the latest slot machines, new guest rides introduced, new restaurants opened and a new adventure golf facility launched.
Interestingly, Clacton Pier has also been used numerous times as a filming location for high-profile TV shows like Eastenders and TV ads for brands like Marks and Spencer… so if you are looking for a coastal location for your next production, Clacton might be just what you’re after!