Save the pier.

The old Pier at Burnham-on Sea Somerset must be saved this structure is in my view one of the best looking piers in the uk.

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Birnbeck Island was at one time linked to the main land by a spit of land this over time was eroded away. Today the island with its old lifeboat house  is linked by a rusting pier. A second pier runs from the island into the sea and was once used by pleasure ships taking day trippers out for the day.

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In 1845, a suspension bridge out to the island was started. The project’s engineer went into bankruptcy and the project had to be abandoned.

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Following a campaign to raise £20,000 in 1864, a foundation stone for a pier was finally laid, The pier was opened on 5th June 1867 Some 120,000 people visited during the first three months. All went well for many years but on Boxing Day 1897, most of the structures on the island were destroyed by a fire. A replacements were designed by Hans Price, who was responsible for many of Weston’s most notable buildings, and these were completed in just eight months.

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During World War II the pier was taken over by the Admiralty and closed to the public  with the fairground and all amusement rides dismantled and removed, before being commissioned as HMS Birnbeck, a secret facility for weapons testing. Serious damage was caused to the island when a Wellington Bomber, operating out of nearby RAF Locking, inadvertently released a mine on the pier. When hostilities were over, the pier was handed back to its owners and, whilst the steamer service was resumed, Birnbeck became a much less popular place, with just a refreshment room and no amusements.
The pier then passed through several owners’ hands, and in decline the pier suffered extensive storm damage and in  1994 was closed to the public by the local authority. Today, the Pier is deteriorating rapidly. The only  structural work of note carried out in recent years took place in March 2010, when a  English Heritage Lottery grant funded work to the cast iron trestles that were in most need of remedial work. Today the Friends of the Old Pier Society has been formed and It is hoped that this group will be able to put together a viable business plan in save the pier.

 

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