The Fall and Rise of the Pier

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Batumi Pier Announcement

You might remember that as many of our piers as possible were encouraged to hold parties last March, to celebrate British Tourism Week. Coming on top of the disastrous fire on Hastings Pier, it helped to remind us of the role piers have played in our seaside past. In fact many people would say that piers are things of the past and have no place in our modern theme-park loving world.

 

The owners of the rebuilt pier in Weston-super-Mare put that lie to rest with their successful re-opening. Now Redcar is planning a pier, while Weymouth is going to have a viewing tower. More money is also going to be spent on Southend’s pier. Elsewhere the fund to rebuild the pier in Hastings is progressing along nicely and both interest and visitor numbers have increased, all of which begs the question:

Why?
Is it a longing for past childhood memories, a realisation that it piers are quintessentially British or perhaps it’s that the pier been updated to offer than amusements, candy floss and kiss-me-quick hats?

Whatever it is, the appeal is not only in this country. Batumi in Georgia has unveiled plans to build a pier which will zigzag out into the Black Sea, and play host to an array of restaurants and other attractions. In San Francisco, some old piers have been turned into restaurants and in Chicago; Navy pier has been turned into an amusement area. At Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, I think there are seven wooden structures that you can go on to fish or just visit the cafes there.

But are they like our piers? And should they be? Certainly the new Batumi pier (opening next year) will be the most modern and purposely designed pier. Many have been converted from military or commercial uses. Our piers were designed and built for visitor entertainment. So when Redcar opens, it will be interesting to see how their interpretation of a modern pier matches that of Batumi’s.

 

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