New pavilion to be designed for Southend Pier

Aerial photo showing smouldering buildings on Southend Pier Image copyright PA
Image caption A section of Southend Pier was gutted by fire in October 2005

Architects have been commissioned to design a new pavilion for the longest pleasure pier in the world.

It will be located on the site of a former bowling alley on Southend Pier that was destroyed by fire in 1995.

Two previous pavilions on the 1.3 mile (2.1km) Grade II listed pier were both lost to fires.

Southend Borough Council has commissioned ADP Architects to design a new pavilion. The project is estimated to cost over £6m.

The council wants the pavilion to provide views in all directions across the Thames estuary and to complement the pier's heritage.

The original timber pier opened in 1830, with the iron version which is still standing opening in 1889. It has survived fires, boat crashes and two world wars.

A condition-survey of the pier last year confirmed the structure was safe to build on.

Councillor Ann Holland described the pier as "the jewel in Southend's crown", and "a symbol of immense pride among the town's 180,000 residents and six million annual visitors".

Image copyright ADP
Image caption ADP Architects had previously been commissioned by the council to design The Forum in Southend

"Despite the litany of fires and crashes over its 187-year history, the council has remained committed to maintaining and restoring the pier," she said.

Once finished, the pavilion is likely to provide a year-round, all-weather facility, with retail and restaurant outlets and exhibition space.

Image copyright PA

Southend Pier

The pier has been a victim of disaster since it first opened in 1830.

  • 1959: A fire destroyed the pier pavilion at the shore end, and this was replaced by a bowling alley which opened in 1962
  • July 1976: Fire destroyed most of the 1908 pier head
  • June 1986: Irreparable damage caused to the boathouse when MV Kingsabbey sliced through the pier head
  • June 1995: Bowling alley and other buildings destroyed by fire
  • February 2012: Fishing boat hits section of the pier

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