Southwold Pier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Southwold Pier
Southwold Pier3 KevinScottNL 2005.jpg
Southwold Pier
Official nameSouthwold Pier
TypePleasure Pier
SpansNorth Sea
DesignW Jeffrey
OwnerGough Hotels
Total length623 feet (190 m)
Opening date1900

Southwold Pier is a pier in the coastal town of Southwold in the English county of Suffolk. It is on the northern edge of the town and extends 190 metres (620 ft) into the North Sea.

Whilst many English seaside piers are in decline, Southwold Pier is enjoying renewed popularity.[1] It includes a collection of modern coin-operated novelty machines designed and constructed by the inventor Tim Hunkin.


The pier was built in 1900 as a landing stage for steamships that brought tourists from London[2] Clacton and Great Yarmouth until the 1930s.[3] It was 270 yards (250 m) in length and finished with a T-shaped end.

The ownership of the pier transferred from that of the Coast Development Company following its winding up in 1906, to The Amusement Equipment Company.[3]

The landing stage of the pier was destroyed during a storm in 1934, with the T-shaped end being swept away.[2] An addition to the pier of a concert hall and amusement arcade was made during 1937 at the shore end of the pier.[2]

During the Second World War the pier had a section removed due to the fear of its use during an invasion. Further damage occurred from an impact with a mine. The pier was rebuilt after the war at a cost of £30000.

Further damage caused by storms in October 1955[3] and February 1979[3] left the length of the pier at 20 yards (18 m).[2]

In 1960, a part of the pier pavilion was transformed into the Neptune Bar public house.[3]

Parts of the pier were further restored during 1987 where additional work was carried out to both the theatre and function room. After the reconstruction the pier then reopened in December 1988.[3]


The pier was bought by Chris Iredale in 1987 and he first spent five years turning the pavilion into a profit-making business.[4] A major refurbishment program was started in 1999 in order to rebuild the pier. This was completed to a design by Brian Haward ARIBA AABC Architect of The Rope House Southwold and constructed by Nick Haward [Southwold] Limited in 2001 almost 100 years after it was first opened.[2] In 2002 a new T-Shaped end was added,[2] bringing the pier to a total length of 208 yards (190 m). This additional length now allows the pier to accommodate visits by Britain's only surviving sea-going steam passenger ship, the PS Waverley paddle steamer and its running mate the MV Balmoral.


The pier is home to several shops and attractions including traditional souvenir shops,[5] cafés, restaurants [6] and amusement arcades.[7]

The Under The Pier Show[edit]

Since 2001 the pier has hosted an arcade with a range of automata, machines and games designed by Tim Hunkin.[8] Tim originally approached the owner of the pier after his original location for one of his arcade games drew local complaints[9]




  1. ^ "A Million people can't be wrong". ITV News. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Ten facts about Southwold Pier". Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "National Piers Society". National Piers Society. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Gamble on a near-ruin pays off after 15 years", The Independent, Saturday, 11 January 2003. Retrieved 2010-10-10.
  5. ^ "Treasure Chest". Southwold Pier. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Restaurants and Dining on Southwold Pier". Southwold Pier. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  7. ^ "House Of Games". Southwold Pier. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Under The Pier Show". Southwold Pier. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  9. ^ "The Under The Pier Show". Under the pier. Retrieved 31 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°19′44″N 1°41′06″E / 52.329°N 1.685°E / 52.329; 1.685