A seaside pier built to the designs of P. Munroe in 1903/4, by contractors Mayoh & Haley, extended in 1905, and with later alterations. The superstructure is of early-C21 date.
Reasons for Designation
Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare, is designated at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: pre-1914 seaside piers are rare and this example retains a significant proportion of its early substructure;
* Architectural interest: the cast-iron substructure retains its distinctive appearance with openwork girders and columns on an impressive scale;
* Historic interest: Grand Pier remains a significant historic feature of the Weston-Super-Mare seafront, and is redolent of the resort's early-C20 heyday, which is an important period of seaside development nationally.
Seaside resorts first emerged in the C18 as rival to inland spas, and became increasingly accessible to greater volumes of visitors after the coming of the railways in the mid-C19. The seaside's most characteristic buildings were piers, established from the beginning of the C19 to provide landings for steam ferries. They soon became used for strolling, or promenading, and later examples were built on a larger scale to accommodate entertainment buildings. Grand Pier, Weston-Super-Mare belongs to the latter category and was first built in 1903/4 to the designs of P. Munroe, engineer. The pier was extended in 1905 to provide a passenger steamer landing stage, although following a lack of use it was reduced in scale. The pier was altered and embellished at regular intervals in the C20, often responding to the changing tastes of the seaside-going public, or to replace structural damaged caused by the coastal elements. Notably, a fire in 1930 destroyed the theatre at the pier end, and a new pavilion was constructed three years later.
The pier continued to evolve through the C20 and early-C21, until a serious fire destroyed much of the superstructure in 2008. The deck and buildings were rebuilt with planning consents, and the substructure repaired and reinforced. The pier reopened in 2010.
MATERIALS: the pier is constructed of cast-iron, attached via concrete beams to a rubble stone abutment at the shore end. Additional fabric, including steel reinforcement, and the superstructure including the timber deck, have been added in the C21.
PLAN: the pier extends approximately 370m from the land, with the remains of a landing stage standing beyond the pavilion end. The shore end is 18 metres wide. The promenade and landing stage are 12m wide. The pavilion end is 64m wide.
EXTERIOR: the shore end comprises a stone abutment with concrete reinforcement. There are modern shops and entrance façade above. The abutment is lined by rubble stone walls with cobbled slipways that lead down to the beach. The walls and hard standings have been repaired or replaced. The pier deck stands on a cast-iron substructure of openwork girders, which are supported by cast-iron columns set in screw piles. The tubular columns have capitals and plinths and are progressively taller as the land falls away to the sea. They are arranged in groups of 8 or 10 with cross-braces under the lattice girder framework. A number of C21 steel piles have been inserted between with bracing. The bays toward the sea end have lateral bracing at lower level. The pavilion end is supported by a 10 x 10 column arrangement with cross-bracing and lateral bracing at lower level. Further support is provided by tubular steel piles inserted in the C21. These columns have no capitals and have been extended up to the C21 metal substructure beneath the pavilion deck. The landing stage is contiguous with the pavilion end and has a lattice girder substructure. Beyond, 12 tubular columns in a circular arrangement rise approximately one metre above ground level. The pavilion end/ landing stage substructure was raised in height and strengthened in the 2009 rebuild.
The deck, railings and buildings are not of special interest.