Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier

Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier

Pier_name=Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare

caption=The Grand Pier, August 2007
official_name=Grand Pier
locale=Weston-super-Mare, England
type= Pleasure Pier
construction= P. Munroe
owner= Michelle & Kerry Michael
length= convert|400|m|ft
width= Promenade convert|13|m|ft|abbr=on
Pavilion convert|65|m|ft|abbr=on
open= June 1904


Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier is a pier in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, England. It is situated on the Bristol Channel approximately convert|18|mi|km|0|lk=on south west of Bristol.

The privately-owned Grand Pier is one of three piers in the town together with Birnbeck Pier, which now stands derelict awaiting possible restoration and the much shorter SeaQuarium aquarium built towards the south end of the seafront.

The Grand Pier is convert|400|m|ft long. It has been damaged by fire on two occasions in 1930 and 2008.cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7528165.stm|title=Huge fire destroys historic pier |publisher=BBC News|date= 28 July 2008|accessdate=2008-07-31]


The pier was started, with P. Munroe acting as the engineer, in November 1903 and opened in June 1904.cite web|url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/Details/Default.aspx?id=33217|title=Grand Pier|work=Images of England|publisher=English Heritage|accessdate=2008-08-03] It is supported by 600 iron piles.

The pier was the winner of the 2001 National Piers Society "Pier of the Year" award, and has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II listed building.

1930 fire

On January 13 1930, the 2,000 seat theatre at the end of the pier, used for opera, music hall, stage plays and ballet, was destroyed by fire.cite news | url= http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2464422/Weston-super-Mare-Grand-Pier-fire-wreaks-havoc.html | publisher= The Daily Telegraph | title= Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier fire wreaks havoc | last= Savill | first= Richard | date= 28 July 2008 | accessdate= 2008-08-11] The remains of the pier were purchased by Leonard Guy, who re-built and opened it three years later.cite news | publisher= The Times | url= http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4415505.ece | title= Grand Pier at Weston-super-Mare 'will be rebuilt' | last= de Bruxelles | first= Simon | date= 29 July 2008 | accessdate= 2008-08-11] The new pavilion was rebuilt as a funfair rather than a theatre. Guy's part in the pier's history was finally recognised in 2008, when "Leonards's Bar" was opened on the pier.

Following the Second World War, Leonard sold the pier in 1946 to Mr A Brenner. Brenner vastly improved the pier's facilities, adding new shops and amusements to the pavilion in the early 1970s. As a result of the extra investment, the pier became a Grade II listed building in 1974.

1993 saw the addition of a two-storey "Crazy House" on the pavilion's south wall, as well as a bowling alley and an indoor ferris wheel.

Brenner continued his ownership of the pier until February 2008, when it was sold to brother and sister duo Kerry and Michelle Michael. The pier immediatly underwent a multi-million-pound revamp, with a new branding scheme. £1 million was spent installing a new go-kart track, a fully licenced bar, and a climbing wall into the pavilion.

2008 fire

At 01:35 BST on 28 July 2008 the fire alarm was triggered within the Grand Pier pavilion building.cite web | url= http://www.avonfire.gov.uk/Avon/News/Weston+pier+destroyed+by+fire.htm | publisher= Avon Fire and Rescue Service | title= Weston pier destroyed by fire | accessdate= 2008-07-30] However it was not until 06:46 BST that fire officers were notified of the fire. Avon Fire and Rescue Service immediately deployed 13 fire engines, special appliances, and more than 85 firefighters to tackle the blaze, which broke out at the foot of the north tower on the shoreward (eastern) end of the pavilion. Preliminary investigations suggested that the fire started due to a number of deep fat fryers which had been located within the area inwhich it is believed the fire first started. However after further investigation this was later ruled out. Fire Investigators later ruled out an arson attack, however investigators remain at the scene and are yet to conclude a final report.

Eyewitnesses and news reports stated that smoke could be seen anything from convert|10|mi|km and convert|60|mi|km, or as far away as Taunton and Shaftesbury, Bristol and the Somerset/Devon border. Witnesses claim that the flames were reaching convert|100|ft|m in the air. The fire service experienced extreme difficulty getting enough water to the fire to dampen the flames as the pier is a quarter mile (400 m) out to sea and the tide was out at the time the pier caught fire. A water barrier between the structure and the esplanade was later established to prevent the fire spreading. The fire was left to burn itself out and within two hours the pavilion had been completly destroyed, although there were no casualties. Despite warnings from the police, hundreds gathered along the seafront and on the beach to get a view of the structure.Fact|date=July 2008 Employee Robert Tinker of the Grand Pier were later praised by the fire service as he braved the extreme intensity of the heat from the flames to rush around the side of the building to remove gas canisters which had been stored within the premises, had these not been removed the fire service claim that the fire could have been much, much worse and with the possibility of evacuation of local residents and traders. [cite news | url= http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/content/twm/flatfiles/grandpierfire/tinker.aspx | publisher= The Weston Mercury | title= Weston Grand Pier - Close up images from employee Robert Tinker | accessdate= 2008-09-01]

The pier itself is structularly intact, fortunately the fire did not cause the pier to collapse however investigations are currently under way in conjunction with the current pier owners who are hoping that the metal framework is strong enough for the pavilion to be rebuilt. A preliminary investigation saw a team of experts fly above the pier, from which they suggested the structure of the support appeared safe. Further investigation is to be carried out as to whether this is definitely the case. [cite news|url=http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Weston-pier-latest-structure-remains-8216-sound-8217/article-241736-detail/article.html|title=Weston Pier Latest|publisher=Bristol Evening Post|date= 29 July 2008|accessdate=2008-07-29] In the meantime, the front shops were re-opened on 31 July for trading and most of the walkway is also accessible. [cite news | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/somerset/7532623.stm | title= Parts of stricken pier to re-open | publisher= BBC News | date= 31 July 2008 | accessdate= 2008-07-31] The Red Arrows air display went ahead, as planned, on 27 August 2008, as did Freewheelers EVS motorcycle show. [cite web| url=http://www.freewheelers.org.uk/news.shtml | title= It'll be Grand! | work= Freewheelers EVS News | publisher= Freewheelers EVS | date= 6 August 2008 | accessdate= 2008-08-06]

ee also

*List of piers


External links

* [http://www.grandpierwsm.co.uk/ Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier official website]
* [http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/webcam.aspx Webcam showing the work on the remains of the Pavilion (updated every two seconds)]
* [http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/content/twm/flatfiles/pierfire/index.aspx/ Grand Pier microsite by the Weston & Somerset Mercury]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/somerset/weston_pier_destroyed/ Grand Pier microsite by the BBC]
* [http://www.itvlocal.com/west/newsextra/?player=WST_NewsExtra_15&void=216686 Fire destroys iconic pier - ITV West]
* [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2464422/Weston-super-Mare-Grand-Pier-fire-wreaks-havoc.html Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier fire wreaks havoc - Daily Telegraph]
*Youtube|53isEJEunNA|Short video showing the pier fire and the emergency services vehicles that attended

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