Pier Diary
Pier Timeline 1802. First small jetty built, at the western end of the path below the Shrubbery, for the convenience of those who made use of the pleasure boats. 1828. Meeting of local landowners called to discuss how to improve the amenities of Southend, one of the proposals was to construct a new pier and jetty or causeway from the shore to deep water where the flag will be hoisted and a light constantly burning at night, so passengers and goods may be landed at all times of the tide without delay, inconvenience and risk of accident. 1829, 14th May. The first Pier Act received Royal Assent. 1829, June. Building material for the wooden pier are washed out to sea during a gale. 1829, 25th July. Lord Mayor of London lays the foundation stone of the first section of the new structure. 1830, June. The first section of the wooden pier, which did not exceed 1,500 feet in length was opened. 1834. The loading pier called the “Lighthouse” or “The Mount” opened replacing Clarence the 100ft vessel moored in the deep channel. 1835. Plans to extend the pier again to the deep water channel in the estuary. 1835. The pier is first marked on the Admiralty chart, as the result of a survey in 1834-1835. 1835. Carts used on the pier. 1846. Extension completed, the pier runs from shore to the deep water channel. Southend claims to have the longest pier in Europe, length was now 1 mile and a quarter in length, with a tramway that runs the length, the car being drawn by two horses. 1846. Pier sold by the mortgagees to developers of Cliff Town for £17,000. 1846, September. Naval officer falls from the promenade into the sea, luckily he was rescued. For the next ~28 years the pier had various owners. c1874. Pier offered to the Southend Local Board for £12,000 eventually sold for £10,000. 1877. Southend Local Board vote to build new pier and is authorised by an Act of Parliament. 1877. First yacht race around the UK, starts and finishes at the pier. 1879. First lifeboat is stationed on the pier. 1881. January. Pier damaged during a great storm. 1881. The Barge West Kent owned by Messrs. Vandervord hits the pier, a large portion was carried away. 1881. Horse drawn tramway closed, horses kept putting hoofs through holes/gaps in planking. 1883, 30th July. Commercial maritime signalling for Lloyds of London set up on the pier head. 1885. New Pier Entrance Toll House erected. 1885. Construction starts on the new iron pier next to the original wooden pier. 1887. Pier extended by 150 yards. 1887, 29th March. Act of Parliament passed for new iron pier. 1887. 1st September. At the request of the General Post Office the signal station at the pier head commenced to function as a public telegraph office later being rehoused to a new signalling station on the new extension. 1888. Southend becomes a Borough the new Town Council faces gradual silting up of the channel at the pier Head. This problem was met with an extension of the new pier and new pier head costing £21,000. 1889. First section of the new iron pier is completed and opened to the public. This was the first pier in England to have an electric railway, the old Toast-Rack tram ran on a single track. 1890, May. The old pier was not to go without excitement. As its structure was made of wood It was not unusual for outbreaks of fire to occur. Up to this date they had all been easily dealt with a bucket or two of water. Some fifty yards of decking was destroyed on the last Sunday in May. The following Thursday the old pier was on fire again nearly a quarter of a mile of planking was destroyed. The efforts of the firemen was hampered because this section of the old pier was loaded with materials used for the building of the new pier structure. The reflection was seen for miles, and took some hours for the outbreak to be subdued. The fire created much alarm among the townspeople. 1890, 24th August. Newly constructed iron pier officially opens to the public although still incomplete. 1891. Pier train becomes popular, pier officials employ a plain clothes inspector to catch people making false accident claims against the pier operators. 1893. Six more cars added to fleet allowing two trains of six, one in service the other on stand by, passing loop installed. 1893. Work begins on erecting extra of piles along the east side of the pier. 1895, July. Pier sliced in two by a lighter barge owned by the Thames Lighterage Company during a gale. 1896-1897. Construction of pier extension starts due to silting up of the Thames. 1898. Formal opening of the new extension and pier head. 1898 Article from a Southend Guide on the new iron pier THE PIER has a wide platform, and visitors are charged one penny each for promenading upon it. A tramway also runs down one side. It is one of the favourite promenades of the place, and is usually well attended by pedestrians and anglers, who attach baited lines to the side rails and catch or attempt to catch many kinds of fish. CAPTAIN KELLY was elected Pier Master, March 1891. The Revenue from the Pier the year before his appointment was £5,250, but it was anticipated that, with good management, it would reach £7,000, but as a matter of fact it reached £9,340, and the year ending Lady Day, 1896, it was £13,579, which again was exceeded the following year and reached no less a sum than £14,300. His duties are great and he does them well. He has sole charge of the Pier and its approaches, the loading pier jetties, beach and foreshore, all plant, goods and properties, the proper conduct of trams, and he has to report on all applications for licenses, the collection of rents and tolls, and to check and certify all accounts. The Corporation has not, probably, a more hard working servant. Should he ever retire, it will be a difficult matter to fill his place. THE PAVILION is capable of seating 1,200 people, it has an excellent stage, and during the season performances are given daily, afternoon and evening. The electric light is used to illuminate the pier and Pavilion. About a quarter of a mile apart shelters have been erected for resting purposes, should rain or fatigue overtake one while strolling down. At the extreme are Lloyd’s offices and a flagstaff which is used for signalling purposes; there are also a refreshment room, lighthouse, cloakroom, etc. There is also a landing stage for the steamers which arrive daily form London, Sheerness, Chatham, and Rochester, during the summer months. THE NEW PIER EXTENSION was constructed in the years 1896-97 by the Corporation, at a cost of £20,000, for the purpose of giving greater facilities and safety to the Steamboat Passengers (numbering, landing and embarking, last season 211,000) and also to give sufficient water to the larger class of steamers now plying.

Southend Timeline Southend-on-Sea © 2009 - 2022 All Rights Reserved

Building the first wooden pier In the year 1814 the first passenger steamer completed a voyage from London to Margate on the River Thames. That day was an important one for the little Kent town for until then the only means of transport had been the stage coach or sailing boat. It would be twenty years or more before visitors could travel by railway and it was, therefore, not surprising that the steamboat service was an immediate success. So much so that in 1825, only 11 years later, steam vessels carried 50,000 people on the Margate run. People who were interested in developing Southend as a “watering place” became alarmed at the prosperity which the steamboat was bringing to Margate. Tidal conditions at Southend did not permit even a small steamer to disembark passengers close to the shore except at high water and it was evident that if Southend was to survive as a holiday resort the provision of better landing facilities was essential. There were local pleasure craft and barges, owned by Mr. Mayall, Mr. Cockerton, and Mr. Vandervord; however, apart from short jetties and ‘hards’, no pier existed for passengers and goods landing at low water. A group of local landowners, who could foresee the benefit of increased trade and traffic, met at the Royal Hotel, and proposed, among other things, that a pier should be erected. Therefore an Act of Parliament was to be sought, prompted by by Sir William Heygate, one of the local landowners, former resident of Royal Terrace, and former Lord Mayor of London. The scheme was to be financed through subscriptions and shares, and the money recouped through toll charges on goods and people. After some arguments, and various objections the pier would start at the foot of Royal Terrace ridge, with a toll house erected at its entrance. On the east side of the pier would be a harbour, consisting on little more than breakwater. The first section of the pier, some 1,500ft in length, was opened in 1830 and was built almost entirely of wood and eventually continued until it extended to about half a mile from the shore. As the tide receded beyond this point, passengers desiring to embark had to proceed from here on foot or by cart along a hard way of shingle for a further quarter of a mile where they were faced by a stretch of water over which they had to be ferried in small boats to the pier head in the deep water channel. This was at first an old vessel named “Clarence“ about 100ft in length, later replaced by a structure of piles called the “The Lighthouse” or “The Mount”. Nevertheless in spite of its inconvenience a daily service of steamboats from London was soon in operation and excursions were run to Herne Bay. The building of the pier was not only the project for which the Pier Company had received Parliamentary sanction, but included also the provision of a proper harbour for barges, etc., on the east side, the making up of Pier Hill, the construction of a road by the sea to Shoeburyness and also a road to Prittlewell. But by 1835 all the money had been spent, the pier was incomplete and no roads had been made. Further application to Parliament was necessary and as a condition of sanctioning the raising of further capital, the company were required to carry the pier to deep water. This was accomplished in 1846 and Southend could then claim to have the longest pier in Europe, the completed structure being a mile and a quarter in length. It was built entirely of wood, the first 600ft having a width of 20ft beyond which the promenade gradually diminished to a minimum width of 8ft. A tramway ran the length of the pier, the car being drawn by two horses driven tandem fashion. The pier head was 102ft in width, had three berthing places for steam and sailing vessels, which enabled passengers to land and embark at all states of tides.

1830 The Pier and Pier Hill

The original Pier with harbour

1898 The Iron Pier with entrance Toll House and Pavilion

The original Pier with harbour and octagon


The original Pier with covered octagon platform

1898, 10th December. Nearly 100ft of the pier is wrecked by the ketch Dolphin causing damage at a cost of over £1,000. 1899, 28th July. Passing loop opened. 1899. Passing loop extended, 2nd Generator installed on pier. 1900, March & December. Pier wrecked by vessels causing damage to the structure. 1902. Water chute opens left to the pier entrance, this was in built part of the old harbour only to be replaced quite soon afterwards by a boating pool. 1902. Dedicated Pier Generating Station built in London Road. 1902. Trains re-fitted with 18hp engines. 1902. Four more cars added to fleet total 16 cars making four trains of four cars. 1903. Proposals announced for a “sister” pier at Westcliff. 1907. Permission granted for extension of the railway & covering of pier head station. 1907, 14th December. Pier hit by the barge Robert, laden with hay causing a 60ft gap, damage was to the western promenade side near the old Pier head over twelve piles were broken. 1908. The Southend Fire Brigade carries out exercise on the pier and win the National Fire Brigade Championship. 1908, 25th July. Upper Promenade Deck pier extension opened by Mayor Alderman J. C. Ingram. 1908, 23rd November. Thames Conservancy hulk Marlborough broke from her moorings in a gale and was carried through the promenade between the old and new pier heads destroying 60ft of decking. 1909. Four more cars added to fleet (4 trains of five cars) all trains upgraded with BTH 27hp motors. 1909, 12th July. Barge Alzima hits the pier between third & fourth shelters with slight damage. 1909, 16th July. Home & Atlantic Fleets muster off the pier for the Grand Fleet Review. 1909, 17th July. Grand Fleet Review, the review consisted of 150 ships. 1910. Conductor rails replaced with 45lb/yard steel rails, train pick-ups replaced with iron ones. 1910. GE27 hp motors fitted to trains, more cars added to fleet total 28 four trains of five cars. 1913. Four more cars added total 32 four trains of seven cars, also added two petrol driven cars for winter use each holding 250 people, passenger numbers 844,460 people carried. 1914. Passenger Steamer traffic at 10 a day. 1914. Admiralty takes over the signal station pier head. 1914, November. Three prison ships moored off the pier holding German soldiers and civilians. Due to safety concerns in spring 1915 prisoners were moved away to other camps. 1915, March. Captured German U-boat exhibited at pier head. 1916, March. Zeppelin L15 shot down East of Pier. 1917, August. Plane crash lands on pier causing light damage. 1918, May. Diving demonstrations given from pier. 1919. Railway track found to be of poor condition, new running rails fitted along with new conductor rail, passenger numbers 1,524,120 people carried. 1919, 25th March. The first of the German Merchant Fleet arrives. The ships were to be surrounded to the allied forces in accordance with the armistice, it takes three weeks for the fleet to gather. 1919, 17th July. 1st & 2nd Battle Squadrons & Battle Cruiser Squadron of the Pacific Fleet muster off the pier for Grand Fleet review. 1919, 19th July. Grand Fleet Review. 1919, September, German Submarine “Deutschland” 10 day visit. 1921, 18th January. Pier broken in two when the concrete motor ship Violette went through the pier between the last shelter and the old pier head. Piles were broken for about 160ft, decking and tramway etc had to be replaced. 1921. Red lights installed along the length of the pier to warn sea craft of structure. 1921, 14th July. Pier reopens. King George V visits Southend for yachting week. 1923, Magnetic Breaking System fitted to one train for evaluation. 1924. Magnetic Breaking System abandoned, all trains have running wheels replaced with Bessemer Steel wheels. 1926, September. Steamer Boat Service tops 25 a day. 1927. Upper pier deck extended. 1928. Midway passing loop extended by 150 yards, new loops at North (shore) station and South (head) station installed. 1928, 20th September. Pier train crash. At around 4:00pm the shore bound train was passing the entrance to the midway loop when the last two cars were struck by the leading (drive) car on the head bound train. The two cars were both knocked off the rails being forced upon to the handrails separating the railway from the walkway, both cars received considerable damage to such an extent that they were both written off. A unique safety feature of Southend Pier was the Automatic Electricity cut off in event of an accident. In all, seven cars were damaged twenty feet of handrails needed replacing and the main water supply to the pier head was ruptured. An emergency rail service was up and running within three hours, there were no serious injures. 1929, 7th July. Prince George extension opens at the cost of £57,700. 1930. Improvements to railway track start. 1931. The old entrance toll house is demolished. 1931. Louis Tussauds waxworks opens next to entrance of the pier. 1931, 7th June, Mr. Ernest Turner fell from and was run over by one of the electric trams on the railway. He was killed instantly. Mr. Turner, who was 38 at the time, was one of a party of over 500 workers and family members on the annual works outing from Ansell's brewery in Birmingham, where he worked as a Brewer's Drayman. The party had arrived at the pier having travelled down the River Thames from Tower Pier in London where they had arrived earlier that day. It was whilst travelling from the pier head that the accident occurred. At the inquest, which was held two days later, the Southend-on-Sea Coroner, Mr. H. J. Jefferies, determined that there were no extenuating circumstances and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death. At the time of his death Mr. Turner was married to Elsie and was father to their daughter Ivy who was just 4 years old. 1931. Semi-automatic colour light signalling begins operation. 1932. Further extension work carried out the pier becomes the worlds longest at 1.49 Miles (2.4 kilometres). 1933, 17th March. Pier damaged by Matilda Upton barge in a gale, about 20 yards of the promenade deck was damaged costing £3,000 to repair. 1933, 16th April. Pier railway reopens as a two track system. 1935, January. First launch from the new lifeboat station. 1935, May. Home Fleet visit for King George V Silver Jubilee. 1935, 23rd July. The Pier’s centenary. Unveiling of a tablet on the boathouse and official opening of the slipway by the Chairman of the Port of London Authority Lord Ritchie of Dundee. The new lifeboat house was located on a raised platform on a spur to the east of the pier, the lifeboat was launched into the sea via a slipway. The lifeboat house would serve until 1986 when it was damaged beyond repair by the Kings Abbey accident. 1937. Man falls from pier train landing on sand below. 1937, May. Visit of the Home Fleet for the Coronation of King George IV. 1939, 25th August. Southend pier is taken over by the Royal Navy and becomes HMS Leigh. Southend becomes the headquarters of the Thames and Medway Control. The Army thought is was tempting to an invader. Two hundred Pioneers lived on it months. Pill boxes were built beyond the pavilion. Depth charges and chutes and U.P. rockets were installed on the pier head. A special upper deck was built on the Prince George Extension and mounted anti aircraft guns in concrete emplacements from which fine work was done against the Luftwaffe and flying bombs. 1939, 9th September. Pier closes to the public. 1939, 22nd November. Southend Pier and anchorage attacked from the air by the Germans. 1939-1945. V2 hits the pier pavilion, rocket went through the roof then the floor before embedding its self in the mud below, luckily it failed to detonate. 1940, August. Heinkel He111’s stick bomb the pier. Stick bombing was when the bombers flew in line-a-stern and dropped their bombs in one long line. 1941, February. Pier station hit by bomb slight damage. 1945, 17th May. After restoration to peace time condition, the full length of the pier is opened to the public. 1946. Passenger numbers reach 2,750,000. 1946, June—October, British & American battleships visit. 1947. Passenger numbers 3,310,922, trains in service for a solid 45 years. 1947, June—October. British & American battleships visit. 1949. End of life for Toast Rack carriages, it is reported they had travelled in excess of 3 million miles carrying 65 million people. 1949, March. New railway carriages delivered. 1949, April. Inauguration of the new pier electric trains by Lord Broadbridge, Lord Mayor of London. 1949/1950, Season. The pier sees some 4,713,000+ people use the train with a further 1million+ down the walkway. 1950. The Dolphin Restaurant is built. 1950, 20th May. Pier railway Jubilee Season. 1951, June. Swedish Naval Training Squadron visit. 1951, 10th—15th July. The Colossus class light fleet aircraft carrier HMS Vengeance visits the pier for the Festival of Britain over 15000 people visit the ship. HMS Vengeance was visited by more than 15000 people over the week-long stay, she was moored just off the pier. The Colossus class carrier was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy between 1952—1955 because of delays during the modifications to the Australian carrier HMAS Melbourne. Once the work on the Melbourne was completed, Vengeance was returned to the Royal Navy. Vengeance was sold to Brazil in 1956 becoming the “Minas Gerais,” in 2000 the new Brazilian carrier NAe Sao Paulo entered service the cost of operating two carriers and the fact that Vengeance could only accommodate 12 modern jet fighter saw the ageing Vengeance offered to the Argentine Navy, however, the cost of bringing the carrier up to standard to fly jets again was too high, she was converted into a helicopter support ship. Vengeance was finally decommissioned on 16th October 2001 bringing to an end the era of the Colossus class aircraft carrier. In 2002 Vengeance was auctioned off, the highest bid was from Hong Kong who wanted to anchor her in Zhoushan China and convert her into a floating museum, however, the deal fell through in October 2003, Vengeance was scrapped some time later. 1953. HMS Vanguard visits Southend. 1953. Pier entrance gets a special Royal Archway to celebrate the 1953 Coronation. 1959, October. The pier pavilion is destroyed by fire. 1963, September. Medway Queen paddle steamer makes her last visit. 1964. New bowling alley built on the site of the pavilion. 1969, 8th August. Fire in the Dolphin Restaurant, pier head. 1969. Steamboat service from the pier head is suspended. 1970. Californian Consortium offer to buy for £12.5 million and move the pier to the USA. 1971. A child falls through rotten decking prompting the start of a total rebuild of the deck. 1971, 11th August. Fire in storeroom & disused restaurant pier head. 1972. Mitchell Ropeways propose to replace the train with the Swiss designed Aerobus suspended monorail. The proposal would have seen pylons placed alongside the pier linked by a steel cable, the service would of run two 100seater “Aerobuses” hung from the cable like a cable car. 1973. The Save Southend Pier Action Group is set up. 1973, December. The pier becomes grade 2 listed. 1974. Pier railway goes back to single track operation. Mid 1970s. Pier railway crossovers & signalling removed. This saw two trains permanently dedicated to one track each cars 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7 operate on the East track (waterside) whilst cars 17, 22, 23, 24, 25, 28 (re-numbered 8-14) serve on the West track (walkway side). The two other seven car trains are permanently withdrawn from use these being Cars 8,9,10,11,12,13,14, and cars 15,16,18,19,20,21,26. Car 8 was re-built as a flat works wagon, whilst cars 11,14,15,20,21 were retired and placed in store at the Councils Camper Road Dept the rest were scrapped. The pier head facilities are leased out to a private leisure & catering firm. 1976, 25th March. RNLI lifeboat "Greater London" retired and all sea going lifeboat operations are ceased due to the silting up of the River Thames around the lifeboat slip-way. 1976, 29th July. Fire destroys the pier head. Fighting the fire saw some 50,000 gallons of water pumped on to the fire by two fire tugs, these were later joined by five more, Ladi Mormol dive bombed the pier with his crop spraying aircraft dumping 400 gallons of water at a time on the inferno swooping down to 100ft, the flames were at time leaping 100+ foot into the air, 500 people had to be rescued by the pier trains. From all the people on the pier at the time of the blaze only two fire-fighters were injured, this was when they jumped from a single sortie building to get out of the way of the rifle range bullets that were spontaneously going off in the heat. 1977. A number of ornamental railings are removed from the pier and sold to the owner of the original London bridge in the USA. 1977, May. Remaining pier head businesses reopen. 1977, May. The 100 passenger "James Cook" undertakes a daily service from Gravesend, Kent. 1977, May. The Belgian Shopper ferry service resumes on the Swanage Queen via Dagenham. 1977, July. Six day a week service from London Tower Pier starts. 1977, November. Fire in the roof of the bowling alley building. 1978, 1st October. Railway track found to be unsafe pier trains withdrawn from use. 1980, 31st July. Emergency budget meeting held by Southend Borough Council. The marathon session started in the early evening and concluded at 2:20am, the result of the vote saw the announcement that the pier would close with the loss of 11 jobs. The closure would be from the bowling alley, although this never happened. 1980. Lecorgne Amusements take over pier operations. 1984, November. Restoration project starts. 1985. Reconstruction of pier railway starts. 1986. Brent Walker take over running the pier. 1986, 11th & 12th March. New diesel powered pier trains are delivered. 1986, 2nd May. New pier train service runs again and is officially opened by HRH Princess Anne. 1986, 30th June. The sugar tanker Kings Abbey slices the pier in two and destroys the lifeboat house. Later a temporary boathouse station was set up. 1986. 11th August. Gap left by the Kings Abbey tanker collision bridged from the pier head to the main pier. 1987, 12th—18th August. HMS opportune visits Southend. HMS Opportune was a Oberon class submarine she was laid down on 26th October 1962 at the Scotts Greenock Yard, Scotland. She was launched on 14th February 1964 and entered service on 29th December 1964, The Opportune had a surfaced displacement of 2030tons with a submerged displacement of 2410tons, her length was 295ft 3in, with a beam of 26ft 6in. She remained in service until paid off on 2nd June 1993. The Opportune remained at the Pounds Scrapyard, Portsmouth for a number of years before it was finally scrapped. 1988. Brent Walker ceases running of the pier. 1989. Centenary of the iron pier. New pier Museum opens. 1991, 29th & 30th June, Southend Pier, Punch & Judy Festival. 1991, 17th 26th August. Dancing Waters. Dancing waters was a show set up at the pier head. A large water tank with a back wall at the back was built, the tank housed 2000 different jets of water illuminated by coloured lights, the water jets would shoot water columns into the air in time with music being played. 1993, 26th & 27th July. Southend Pier Punch & Judy Festival. 1995, 7th June. The bowling alley is destroyed by fire. 1998. Bowling alley area re-decked. 1998, 22nd & 23rd August. STS Sedov visit. The Murmansk based four masted Sedov has a hull that is made from steel, she has a crew of 240 and stands 190ft (58m) tall, has a length of 386ft (117.5m) the beam is 49ft (14.80m) with a draft of 21ft (6.5m ), a displacement of 3,476 tons the sail area is 13,616sqft (4,150 m²) two diesel engines are fitted giving a top speed of 8kts under engine power but 18kts when the sails are in use. 1999, 9th April. Parachute mine snagged in fishing boat “The Gannet” nets 1/2 mile from pier. 1999, 22nd June. Ross Revenge (Radio Caroline) visit. 1999, 10th October. Whales spotted swimming by pier. 2000, 17th November. New pier illuminations are switched on. 2001, 13th August, The pier bridge is hit by double decker bus. 2001, October. Ideas are discussed to replace the trains with a monorail or cable cars. 2001, October. Upgrade to the fire fighting facilities on the pier. 2001, October. New Pier Sewerage Disposal System. The Sewerage Disposal System installed will pump effluent ashore where it will be discharged into the onshore drainage system and treated at the normal works in Eastern Avenue. 2002. Pier bridge and entrance demolished. 2002. New lifeboat house opens. 2002. Re-decking of last remaining section of the 1976 fire damage begins. The sun deck is also rebuilt. 2002. Toast-rack train is gifted to Southend Pier Museum by Volks Railway at Brighton. 2002. Proposals to remove trains from pier and re-place them with cable-cars or monorails. 2003, 26th January. Stored timbers for pier head restoration catch fire. 2003, February. Yacht collides with pier head, crew climbs up pier supports to safety, boat sinks in the heavy seas. 2003, May. New glass pier entrance and bridge constructed. Refurbishment to the pier shelters and toilets. CCTV is installed on the pier. 2004, 16th June. Speed boat hits pier and sinks, three people on board suspected of drinking are injured. 2004, 18th—23rd August. The tall ship Albatross visits the pier. Built 1899 in The Netherlands, the Albatross is a Steel hulled (welded below waterline & riveted above waterline) twin master she is 98ft (29.78 meters) long with a gross tonnage of 119tons a 160hp Hundested engine can propel the ship at up to 6 knots. Members of the public were offered the opportunity to go out sailing on The Albatross, however, the sailing trips were cut short after a member of the public died in a fall from the rigging. 2004, 3rd—5th September. The Ukrainian tall ship the Khersones visits the pier. The Khersones is a fully rigged three mast tall ship, the keel was laid down in 1987 and the completed ship was launched in 1989, the hull is made from steel, the ship is 356 ft (108.6 metres) long and has a beam of 46ft (14 meters) is 162ft (49.5 meters) tall. The sail has an area of 29,800 sq ft (2,770 square metres) and a crew of 40. 2005. Pier trains are given a new look and painted from red to blue. 2005. Hexagonal pier head pavilion demolished. 2005, 2nd—6th August. The tall Brig Mercedes visits the pier. The two-masted square-rigged sailing ship was launched in April 2005. Passenger operated out of her home port of Amsterdam 164.05ft (50.00 m) long with a beam of 24ft (7.60 m) the draft of the ship is 12ft (3.60m) she displaces 400tons of water and stands 115ft (35.00 m) tall, top speed is 14 knots provided by a MWM V16, 720 hp engine. 2005, 9th October. Fire destroys the old pier head including the railway station, pub, shell shop, snack bar and ice-cream shop. 2005, 12th October 2005. Fire reignites on the pier head decking but is soon extinguished. 2005, 1st December. Pier reopens, visitors can view the pier head from temporary platform. 2006, 20th January. Northern bottle-nosed whale spotted by pier. 2006, 5th August. Pier fully reopens after damage is repaired. 2006, 19th—22nd October. STS Sedov visits. 2007. Southend Pier voted Pier of the Year by the National Pier Society. 2007, 12th—16th July, The Grand Turk visits the pier. A full-size replica of a 1780s Royal Navy 40-gun frigate, used in the ITV series about Horatio Hornblower (re-named ‘Indefatigable’). With all the features of a true Man’ O War including cannon, she is fully rigged, a beam of 34ft (10.4m), weighing 314tons with a draft of 10ft (3.1m), the sail area covers 3445 sq ft (1050sqm), two 450hp diesel engines are fitted. 2008, 19th September. Lesser Octopus caught off the pier. 2008, 2nd—5th May. Artemis visits the pier. Artemis was launched in 1926 and was used as a trading vessel around the world until she was retired in the 1950s and was laid up in a Netherlands shipyard. She was rescued from the yard in a poor condition and a complete rebuild was undertaken. The square rigged ship is used for corporate entertaining and group travel in Europe. The new luxury ship includes a saloon with and dance floor at the rear of the ship, with luxury cabins for up to 35 passengers. The Artemis is 149ft (45.5m) long with a beam of 23ft (7M) the weight is 400tons giving a draft of 11.5ft (3.5M), the sail area covers 3445 sq ft (1050sqm). 2008, 25th - 26th October. The Rainbow Warrior visits the pier. The Rainbow Warrior (sometimes unofficially Rainbow Warrior II) is a three-masted schooner operated by environmental protection organization Greenpeace. The ship was built up from the hull of the deep sea fishing ship Grampian Fame which was originally launched in 1957. The original ship was 144ft (44m) long this was extended 181ft 1in (55.20 m) the steam powered engines were removed and a cleaner more efficient one installed, a number of other environmentally friendly systems were also installed. The rebuilt ship was launched on Monday 10th July 1989 exactly four years to the day of the sinking by French Special Forces of the original Rainbow Warrior. The new Rainbow Warrior is classed as a Motor assisted schooner with a weight of 555 tons, her beam is 28ft (9m) with a draft of 15ft 1in (4.6m), the sail area is 2132sqft (650sqm), she is fitted with Two Diesel Deutz M.W.M giving a maximum speed of 13kts or a cruising speed of 10kts. She can stay at sea for 30days at a time. 2009, 28th August – Monday 2nd September. Artemis visits the pier. 2009, 13th September. Le Grand Bleu passes the pier. Le Grand Bleu is one of the largest private yachts in the world at 104 m (341 ft) in length, owned by Roman Abramovich owner of Chelsea Football Club. On board is a separate sailing yacht, on the rear deck is the helicopter, also on board is a swimming pool. 2009, 17th September. Pier train derails (Sir John Betjeman) on its way to the opening of the new pier head station. 2009, 17th September. New £2.4million Pier Head station is opened by Mayor and Mayoress, Brian and Lyn Smith. 2010, July. Tall ship Atlantis visits the pier. 2010, 24th December. Pier closed due to damage caused by bad weather. 2010, 30th December. Emergency repairs complete pier opens again. 2011, 3rd - 6th June. Tall ship Atlantis visits Southend. 2011, 4th June. The World passes the pier. The World is a ship serving as a residential community owned by its residents, the residents, from about 40 different countries, live on board as the ship slowly circumnavigates the globe. 2011, September. Maintenance barge moored at the pier slams into the pier by bad weather. Pier closes until damage is repaired. 2012, February. Pier closes due to being struck by fishing boat. 2012, 17th May. A new pavilion built at Tilbury is lowered onto the pier head by crane. 2012, 19th July. The new pavilion opens to the public as the Royal Pavilion Cultural Centre on the pier head. 2014, October. Small fire on the shore end of the pier little damage. 2016, June. Pier closes for repairs and checks are made on the structure. 2020, March. Pier closes to the public in line with national government guidelines as the COVID-19 pandemic takes hold of the country and a blanket lockdown is introduced. 2020. Pier re opens with COVID-19 restrictions in place. 2020, 5th November. Pier closes again due to another COVID-19 lockdown. 2020, 2nd December. Pier reopens with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

The original Pier with horse drawn car

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Southend-on-Sea’s No 1 History Website! Documenting The Town & The Townspeople
Now Incorporating The Sea Of Change Website
Chalkwell ▪ Eastwood ▪ Leigh-on-Sea ▪ Prittlewell ▪ Shoeburyness ▪ Southchurch ▪ Thorpe Bay ▪ Westcliff-on-Sea