In The Area: Southend Pier
“The Pier is Southend, Southend is the Pier”.
At least, that was the thinking of celebrated English poet Sir John Betjeman.
Southend Pier is the town’s most feted landmark. A historical icon, the 1.34m Pier is the world’s longest pleasure pier, stretching far out over the Thames Estuary.
As visitors flocked to the seaside in the early 19th century, the popularity of Southend, former fishing post, boomed.
Unfortunately for Southend, the area lacked the docking facilities seen in the likes of nearby Margate, meaning the influx of tourists keen to board the pleasure boats could not depart from the area.
The Pier was designed to counter this trend, as well as providing a wealth of entertainment and retail options.
As Southend’s popularity increased, so too did the Pier, with many extensions and additions added to the original build in the early 20th century.
The final addition, The Prince George Extension, opened in 1929, bringing the Pier to its current length of 1.34 miles, a new World Record.
Nowadays, the Pier remains a highlight of the town and the premier attraction. Offering wonderful views of the surrounding seascape, the Pier is a popular spot for taking holiday snaps.
A new Museum has been built onsite dedicated to the Pier’s history, as well as a glass-fronted RNLI lifeboat station. The strikingly modern Pier Pavilion soon followed as a centre for theatre and art exhibitions, transforming the jutting walkway into the beating heart of Southend’s cultural scene.
The Pier is now a destination attraction in and of itself; its charming past attracting tourists from across the UK.
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