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The Grand Pier is a pier in Weston-super-Maremarker, North Somerset, England. It is situated on the Bristol Channelmarker approximately south west of Bristolmarker.

The pier is privately-owned and is one of three piers in the town together with Birnbeck Piermarker, which stands derelict awaiting possible restoration and the much shorter SeaQuarium aquarium built towards the south end of the seafront. It is supported by 600 iron piles,and is long. It has been damaged by fire on two occasions in 1930 and 2008.

History

Before the 1930 fire
Work began on building the pier on 7 November 1903, with P. Munroe acting as engineer, and it opened on 11 June 1904. At the pier's end was a 2,000 seat theatre which was used as a music hall and for opera, stage plays and ballet. On 16 May 1907 an extension of the pier measuring was opened, with the intention that the pier would be used as a docking point for boats to Cardiffmarker. The dangerous currents in the bay made this too difficult, however, and the extension was demolished.

The theatre at the pier's end was destroyed by fire on 13 January 1930. As the building was underinsured the pier was put up for sale and bought by Leonard Guy, who opened a £60,000 new pavilion three years later. This second pavilion housed a large undercover funfair rather than a theatre.

Mr. Guy sold the pier in 1946 to Mr. A Brenner, who went on to improve the pier's facilities, adding new shops and an amusement arcade to the pavilion in the early 1970s. As a result of the extra investment, the pier became a Grade II listed building in 1974. It won the National Piers Society Pier of the Year award in 2001.

The fire seen from the north at 08:12 BST on 28 July 2008.
Brenner continued his ownership of the pier until 6 February 2008, when it was sold to brother and sister partnership Kerry and Michelle Michael. The pier immediately underwent a multi-million-pound revamp, which included a new branding scheme. £1 million was spent installing a new go-kart track, a fully licenced bar, and a climbing wall into the pavilion. However at 01:35 BST on 28 July 2008, a fire at the foot of the north tower on the shoreward (eastern) end of the pavilion triggered the privately monitored fire alarm, but the Essex-based alarm monitoring company were unable to contact the key-holder by mobile phone and no further action was taken. It was not until 06:46 BST that the Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AFRS) was notified. It deployed 13 fire engines, special appliances, and more than 85 firefighters to tackle the blaze, but the building was soon destroyed.

Robert Tinker, a Grand Pier employee, was later praised by the fire service as he braved the extreme intensity of the heat from the flames to rush around the side of the building to remove several gas canisters which had been stored within the premises, had these not been removed the AFRS claim that the fire could have been much worse and with the possibility of needing evacuation of local residents and traders. Preliminary investigations suggested that the fire started due to a number of deep fat fryers which had been located within the area pavillion, however after further investigation this was later ruled out, as was arson. On 22 October a news conference was held by AFRS who announced that despite their efforts the cause of the fire would be recorded as unknown, but that the most likely cause was an electrical fire.

Workmen began dismantling the wreckage on 12 Septemberand a design competition for the new pavilion was won by the Bristolmarker-based Angus Meek Architects' on 15 October. On 7 December it was announced that a slowly rotating tall observation tower was proposed along with the new building. On 12 March 2009, North Somerset Council approved the plans, which are to cost £34 million. The new pavilion is expected to open in the summer of 2010.. On 5 August 2009 it was announced that contractors John Sisk & Son Ltd had been selected to construct the new pavilion and it was hoped that it would be completed by June 2010.

See also



References

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3242360/Pier-fire-alert-contract-cancelled-month-before-blaze.html
  2. http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/content/twm/news/story.aspx?brand=Westonmercury&category=news&tBrand=westonmercury&tCategory=znews&itemid=WeED05%20Aug%202009%2014%3A52%3A18%3A530


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