£1.7 million restoration and revitalization for historic Swanage Pier in Dorset, UK

Draft plans for the regeneration of Swanage Pier have been unveiled to the public.

It marks the next step towards providing Swanage Pier with a sustainable future. Over 125,000 people visit the attraction each year.

The trust has provisionally been allocated just over £800,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund but has until November 2016 to raise an additional £900,000 to release the funding, which will enable the charity to restore and regenerate the pier.

The original Swanage Pier was constructed in 1859/60 by James Walton of London for the Swanage Pier and Tramway Company and opened by John Mowlem. The Pier was built primarily for shipping stone. Horses were used to pull carts along the narrow gauge tramway which ran along the Pier and seafront. This was intended as a track to link Swanage and Langton Matravers quarries with the Pier, but local opposition caused the track to finish at the `Bankers` (now known as the Parade) where some of the original track can still be seen.

When George Burt started a steamer service between Swanage, Poole and Bournemouth in 1874, the Pier was being used for day-trippers as well as stone cargo, it soon became clear that the Pier was unable to cope with the ever increasing traffic and it was decided a new and longer Pier was needed.

The first pile of the new Pier was driven on November 30th 1895 and the pier opened to traffic on March 29th 1897. The first steamer, the P.S. Lord Elgin landed people on May 1st 1896. The last was the P.S. Embassy on August 24th 1966.

In 1940 the landward end of the Pier was blown up as an anti invasion precaution. Following the war,steamer traffic was temporarily revived in 1948 but with the Embassy`s departure in August 1966 the Pier deteriorated for almost 30 years.

In 1994, the Swanage Pier Trust acquired control of the Pier Company, with the aim of keeping the Pier open to residents and visitors and providing for its eventual total restoration. Already over £1,100.000 has been spent on restoring the timber structure, the renovations were financed by funding from the Lottery & English Heritage, plus other grants of £100,400.

See full article.

See Swanage Pier website & photo credit.

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