Wellington Pier at night
|Official name||Wellington Pier|
|Total length||700 feet (210 m)|
|Opening date||31 October 1853|
The Pier was opened on the 31st October 1853 and the 700 feet (210 m) wooden structure had cost £6,776 to build. The pier was designed by P. Ashcroft. In its first year open the pier was a huge success and made an impressive profit for then, of £581. Five years later a second pier was built close to the Wellington which had a very large financial effect on the profitability of the pier. By 1899 Great Yarmouth Corporation bailed out the failing business for the sum of £1,250 and had plans to improve the entertainment and amusement of the pier. On 13 July 1903 a new Pavilion was opened and a failed Winter gardens was bought from Torquay and was incorporated into the design of the pier.
In the early 1970s, the pier was substantial strengthened with major steelwork renovations taking place. It was leased from the local council by Jim Davidson in 1996 and he soon found out how hard it was to repair. He invested around £750,000 of his own money, this was spent on the inside, but the outside was left as the lottery or local projects did not fund it. So it stood empty till is was demolished in 2005. By 2005 the front part of the pier has been totally re-developed as an amusement arcade.
Since taking over the lease from Jim Davidson, Family Amusements now run the entire Wellington and Wintergardens complex, along with the Britannia Pier further North on the seafront. The Winter Gardens is now a large children's indoor play area, with cafe and bar. Oddly, the aluminium trussing installed by Jim Davidson as part of the Wintergardens nightclub has been retained - as it looks very futuristic, all curves and strange shapes. By September 2008 the old theatre at the end of the pier has become a large bowling alley and bars. The original Steel, iron work has been restored and returned to the new building. The 100 year old original girders are now on show, and are visually interesting to see - having been originally hidden in the theatre roof space. The 'new' building is so similar to the (demolished) old theatre, that many visitors do not realise it is a new building. The ten lane full-size bowling alley takes up most of the space in what was the old auditorium and stage space. A stained glass picture which is 80 feet long and was found during the removal of the original Wellington pier theatre structure, has been restored and will be the centre piece of the entrance to the new complex. It depicts ships sailing into the port of Great Yarmouth.
- OS Explorer Map OL40, 2005, The Broads, ISBN 0-319-23769-9