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was out at The Woods yesterday making sure everything was OK for the building permit inspection and saw these crazy mushrooms all over
Camera: Sony A7
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS
Focal Length: 70mm
ISO Speed: 3200
Lightroom 5.6 [color balance, sharpening, etc]
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Piers seem popular among some of my contacts at the moment.
The History of Clevedon Pier
Part 1 - The building of the Pier
The building of Britain's seaside piers was a direct legacy of the industrial revolution. The fruits of that revolution, often harshly exacted and only slowly shared, were wealth and leisure and new demands for entertainment and travel.
Almost every pier of note around the coast of Britain, seventy-eight all told, were built between 1854 and 1904. During this time there was also a rise and expansion of the regional pleasure steamer fleets. However, the most important catalyst for the pier builders, was the arrival of the railways. Until the Severn Tunnel was opened in 1886, Brunel's Great Western line from London to South Wales took the "Great Way Round" (via Swindon and Gloucester) - Clevedon's closeness to the main line from London to Bristol and the South-West, and the opening of the branch line to Clevedon from Yatton in 1847 offered the exciting possibility of a faster route to South Wales by steamer from a pier at Clevedon.
A pier for Clevedon had been under consideration for some time and on a Wednesday in November 1866, a meeting took place at the Public Hall, Clevedon. A proposed scheme for a pier was accepted and The Clevedon Pier Company was formed, the board of directors made up of Sir Arthur Elton, Richard Godwin, Samuel Ransford and John Maynard. By July 1867 work had begun.
Elegance was important for the new pier but it also had to be strongly constructed for commercial use in a fairly exposed position. The actual construction work was entrusted to Hamilton's Windsor Iron Works of Liverpool.
The contractors had been lucky to find some large quantities of Barlow rail, discarded from Brunel's broad-gauge South Wales Railway. It may not have been successful as railway line, but it could be used to make superbly slender and strong supports for the pier. For almost two years, slowly diminishing stacks of the ironwork were stored along The Beach, Esplanade and Wellington Terrace. The construction of the pier was a very laborious task as every section of ironwork had to be manhandled before the crane could raise it into position. Approximately 370 tons of wrought ironwork were required. Gales regularly halted the work, but the structure held firm.
The Toll House, Clevedon PierThe construction of the abutments to the pier was not as hazardous as the pier itself. However, the design had changed from its original form and now included a Toll House, with accommodation for the Piermaster. The Toll House was built by Clevedon builder, W. Green, who was also responsible for building the bandstand further along the beach. It was designed by architect Hans Price of Weston-super-Mare, in a Scottish baronial style, much favoured at that time for bridge abutments. The romanticism of its design, contrasted strongly with the functional engineering of the pier. The entrance gates and railings were made in Clevedon in the foundry of Turner and Sons.
In all, the total cost of building the pier was £10,000 and employed an average workforce of sixty men. On the 6th February 1869, the contractors were able to hand the completed structure over to the Directors of the Pier Company.
The official opening of Clevedon pier was held on Easter Monday, 29th March 1869. Throughout the morning, large numbers had congregated at Clevedon railway station. The 10.15 train from Bristol alone had brought five hundred passengers!!
Lady Margaret Ann Elton recalls:
"There was a general holiday and floral arches had sprouted up all over the town. Altogether, two thousand people came by the Bristol and Exeter line, along with hundred of carts poured in from the country.
Finally assembled, a great procession left the terminus, consisting of twelve policemen, fifty-four members of the Clevedon Artillery and Band, ninety-four Nailsea Engineers and their Band, the directors of the Clevedon and Weston Pier Companies, twenty-eight members of the Committee of Demonstration, inhabitants and visitors, the Bristol Artillery Band, ninety Odd Fellows, the Axbridge Drum and Fife Boys, and five hundred school children."
Echoing the profound wishes of this great concourse, a huge triumphal arch astride the Marine Parade, carried the inscription, 'SUCCESS TO THE PIER'.
At 1.30pm the five hundred children burst into the singing of Psalm 148, and there was a short service of dedication, in which the local clergy also hinted that the opening of the pier should not be allowed to interfere with the observance of the Sabbath. There was then a cannon volley fired by the First Somerset Artillery, the massed bands played the National Anthem, and Clevedon pier was open for the good of the townspeople and the benefits which commerce would bring.
For twenty years Clevedon pier provided a new, fast route over to South Wales. However, the opening of the Severn Railway Tunnel on 1st December 1886 began to snatch away the passengers that might have travelled to Clevedon for the transfer via the steamers. Business on the pier faltered and in 1891 the pier was transferred to Clevedon Council, just at a time when costly pierhead improvements had become essential.
However, it was not all doom and gloom. The sum of £10,000 was borrowed from the town, to pay for a new pierhead and a landing stage. These consisted of twenty-four massive iron columns and forty-two greenheat piles, 25 foot long. The new landing stage was built at an angle to the pierhead, in order to align with the prevailing Bristol Channel current. The rehabilitated pier was re-opened on 3rd April 1893 by Lady Elton.
The role of the railways may have reduced the fortunes of the pier, but the steady rise in the number of excursion ships in the Bristol Channel opened up a flourishing new traffic flow. The White Funnel Fleet paddlers were regular callers, and Peter and Alec Campbell also arrived with the paddle steamers Waverley in 1886, Ravenswood (1891), Westward Ho (1894), Cambria (1895) and Britannia (1896).
In an article in the Clevedon Mercury, Clifton Smith-Cox, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Funnel Fleet, recalled his company's interest in using Clevedon pier. After the reopening of the improved landing stage in 1893, Campbell's association with Clevedon began when the P.S. Ravenswood called on 1st April that year.
Other excursion steamers, owned by Edwards, Robertson & Co., who ran the paddle steamer Lorna Doone, also called at Clevedon pier. There were also visits from the P.S. Lady Moyra and P.S. Evelyn.
In 1913, the timber landing stage, which had deteriorated, was replaced by the present pre-cast concrete structure.
The History of Clevedon Pier
Part 2 - The Collapse and Restoration
The reconstruction of Clevedon PierDisaster struck Clevedon pier on the morning of 17th October 1970, when under load testing, the two end spans failed and collapsed into the sea. Bernard Faraway, piermaster at the time, recalls:
"After the steamer season had finished, the biennial test for insurance purposes took place. The method was to fill heavy duty plastic containers with water. These were 50ft long, 5ft wide and 2ft deep, filled to a depth of 10 inches. This gave a pressure equal to 50lbs per square foot. Eighteen containers were used, six for each span, and three spans were tested at a time, starting from the Toll House end of the pier. Each test lasted three hours and after the first test No. 1 span had passed. The six bags used on no. 1 span were emptied, dragged over the full bags to No. 4 span and then refilled. After a further three hours, No. 2 span had passed, and so on. No. 7 span collapsed (bringing down No. 8 also). The tests had been carried out under full supervision. The cause of the collapse was undoubtedly a weakness in the seventh span."
The collapse of Clevedon pier made headline news, not just locally but nationally.
Restoration of the pier - the Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust
The reconstruction of Clevedon PierWithin Clevedon, there was much talk over the future of the pier. It was suggested by some that the remainder of the pier should be demolished, but a small group of local people took a boat out to the now isolated pier head, scaled up the landing stage and hung out a large banner reading "Save Our Pier".
The Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust was formed in 1972 and professional fund raisers were called in to help raise the huge sum of money required to carry out the repairs that were required.
Fund raising faltered, inflation galloped ahead and restoration receded into nothing more than a fond hope. The original cost of renovation was estimated in 1971 to be £75,000, but by 1979 inflation had lifted this to £379,500.
Ten years on from the collapse, the Pier Preservation Trust had obtained promises of £50,000 but still nothing had happened to the pier. No approach had been made to the owners of the pier to acquire or lease it, which was necessary before any restoration work could begin.
A Public Inquiry was called in March 1980 and the Preservation Trust engaged Paul Chadd, Q.C., a Bristol barrister, to present the Trust's case.
Firstly he presented the large number of depositions received in favour of saving the beautiful and historic structure. Once of these was voiced by the then poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman. In a recorded message he spoke freely of "Clevedon being the most beautiful pier in England. Its demolition would be a tragedy".
Secondly Paul Chadd presented the results of an earlier feasibility study completed before the Inquiry. Funded by the Pier Preservation Trust, under pressure from Mike Allman (then a new Trustee), Keith Mallory (architect) and Richard Fenton (engineer), this showed how the pier could be restored, with proper costings. Know as the Pier Technical Group, this small body now supplied extensive supporting documentation to the Inquiry.
Mike Allman commented; "I would go as far as saying that it was this type of evidence that swayed the Inspector's decision."
Supporters of the pier were jubilant when judgment was given in their favour. The Technical Group formed a new Trust which was joined by Lady Elton, Mike Hedger and John Topham. This was to be a turning point in the history pf Clevedon pier.
Out to Tender
The reconstruction of Clevedon PierFunds promised by Clevedon U.D.C. were released by Woodspring District Council to the pier Trustees in 1981. The accrued sum of £30,492 was accompanied by a five year lease of the pier.
Under their Chairman, Mike Allman, six national contractors were asked to tender for the repair works, following English Heritage's generous grant of £40,000 for a feasibility study.
Money for the restoration was desperately short, but with the help of £100,000 (for labour only) from the Manpower Services Commission, in 1982 significant work was done on the Toll House. This became a focal point for operations when it was re-opened the following year.
The three pier-head buildings that had been 'cut-off' from the rest of the pier for so long, were dismantled and brought ashore to be stored for renovation in the Green Beach car park, opposite the Little Harp pub.
Clevedon Pier Supporters
The Clevedon Pier Supporters were formed not long after the pier collapsed in 1970. They carried out stirling work, alongside the Pier Trust, in organising and holding various fundraising events. They also provided volunteers to work in the Toll House shop, before the pier was restored.
During their existence, they raised over £100,000. Key members of the Clevedon Pier Supporters included Alan and Hilary Tinkling, Hilda Baker, Austin and Margaret Davis, and Ralph and Irene Fryer, some of whom are no longer with us.
In 1984, after visiting the pier and seeing the progress that had been made, English Heritage made a grant of £500,000 and the National Heritage Memorial Fund gave an exactly matching sum. Woodspring District Council pledged their support with £170,000 while other smaller donations were given by the Pilgrim and Manifold Trusts.
The improved financial picture encouraged Woodspring to lease the pier to the Trustees for 99 years.
The reconstruction of Clevedon PierThe reconstruction of Clevedon PierIn the August of 1984, tenders were sent out and John Howard of Chatham were selected to restore Clevedon Pier to its former glory.
The pier renovation was carried out locally, just a few miles up the Severn at Portishead Dock. An extensive quay-side compound was available for sorting and stacking tidy piles of assorted iron-work. Adjacent sheds offered plenty of space for cutting, moulding and treatment.
By the summer of 1986, the dismantled pier was lying in quite recognisable sections in Portishead and the laborious task of cutting out the rotten metal, replacement and restoration had begun.
Sadly the original contractors, John Howard, soon went into receivership. This was a shattering blow for the pier. Mike Allman recalls; "There were pier remains at Portishead . . . nothing happening . . . it was a desperate situation. I thought, honestly, this was the end of a dream."
English Heritage and the National Heritage Memorial Fund, anxious not to see the project founder, sent their representatives to Portishead and were favourably impressed with the work carried out to date. To their great credit, each organisation gave further matching sums of £137,000, showing great faith in this unusual project. New contractors, Ernest Ireland and Christiani and Nielsen were appointed.
By the summer of 1988, all the parts, old and new, shot blasted and heavily painted for protection against the salt seawater, were ready for collection. During the summer the parts were transported by barge, towed down the coast from Portishead, and reassembled - first the seven uprights and then the arched supports for the decking.
The whole length of the pier now had to be re-decked - 800 feet of pier requires a lot of planks! A high profile campaign of plank sponsorship was initiated by Trust Chairman Mike Allman, and operated by the new Piermaster Philip Beisley.
The landing stage was put back into basic working order. This was imperative as the Waverley was due to call in the summer season of 1989 and the revenue from the steamers would help support the pier's funds.
Partial Re-opening of the Pier (1989)
The reconstruction of Clevedon PierOn the 27th May 1989, after many years of hard work fund raising, painstaking restoration and re-building work, Clevedon pier finally re-opened to the public and was back in business. The official re-opening was performed by Captain Dennis Scott Masson, former master of the SS Canberra of the P & O fleet.
During the day there were cruises on the paddle steamer Waverley (returning to Clevedon pier after nearly two decades). There was also a brass band, local organisations lined the pier with stalls, and everyone dressed in Victorian costume. In the evening there was a grand firework finale.
Final re-opening 1998
The reconstruction of Clevedon PierThe reconstruction of Clevedon PierWhen the pier re-opened in May 1989, it was not completely finished. The landing stage and steps leading down to it were complete so regular boat trips could run, but the remaining works to the pierhead had not yet commenced. If you visited the pier at this time, you would be met at the end by a large metal fence, preventing you from walking onto the pierhead.
Great efforts were made to raise the remainder of the funds required to enable the pierhead to be fully restored and the Pagoda building and two shelters to be re-built.
In 1995 a further award from the Heritage Lottery Fund allowed the restoration of the landing stage, Pagoda building and two shelters to be completed.
On 23rd May 1998, Clevedon pier was formally re-opened by Sir Charles Elton Bart and Clevedon Bowler David Bryant. Sir Charles Elton is the great-great grandson of the original chairman of the Clevedon Pier Company.
Thousands of people came to witness the occasion, again many dressed in Victorian period costume. The celebrations included the Royal Marine marching band, an air-sea rescue display, aerobatic display teams, 'wing-walking' and trips on the paddle steamer Waverley. Local Clevedon company, Firemagic, finished the day with an amazing display of fireworks using the whole length of the pier.
Grade 1 listing
In January 2001, Clevedon Pier was up-graded from a Grade 2* listed structure to a Grade 1. This is the highest form of Grade Listing possible for a building or structure and is only given to a handful of places around the country.
The Brighton West Pier is only one other pier in the whole of the UK that has achieved a Grade 1 listing. Unfortunately the Brighton West Pier not open to the public as the structure has suffered decay over a long period, partial collapse and a fire in 2002 which severely damaged the the pier head and buildings.
So, at present, Clevedon pier is the only structurally intact Grade 1 listed pier in the whole of the country.
The above was copied from www.clevedonpier.com/who_we_are/history.shtml
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The drive to Skye wasn't bad either - passing through Glencoe.
Tags: Scotland UK Glencoe driving travelling road trip nature sky mountains roads pale clouds valley
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