Elsewhere you can read about the work being done to catalogue and record the amazing Scrapbook of ‘all things to do with saving the Pier in the 1970s’ put together by Lady Margaret Elton. This work is being done by Volunteer Jane and you can read more about it on this link.
Jane has been sharing ‘titbits’ of special interest and here is another item showing how not everyone loved the pier and didn’t really think it was worth saving. From the North Somerset Mercury from the 30ths of April 1971. Full transcription on the right…………..
Our ‘disgusting’ pier
Sir, With considerable interest I have been reading last week’s Mercury and your article on Clevedon Pier. We appreciate, on this side of the channel, that Clevedon is a very attractive seaside town and enjoyable for a day’s outing from Cardiff for adults – but not so for children.
To approach it by steamer, the pier sticks out like asore thumb. As one walks the length of the pier NOWHERE could one sit down for a rest to admire the view. The seats were always disgusting – covered with splashes of blood and much from the so-called fishermen and their kill, or cutting up of bait. Disgusting pieces of newspaper with bait hanging out all on display along the SEATS.
Even after the pier was painted for its 100 birthday – no respect was paid to it by these people. If one did sit down it had to be on a covering over the seat first and one could not sit back because of the splattered filth. So if we approach Clevedon by road, we say don’t waste your money by going on the pier its not worth it – can’t even rely on getting a cup of tea.
We can’t see why your retiring lady chairman ‘loves it’ as stated last week. From a visitor’s point of view we say don’t waste your money on rebuilding it – leave it to the so-called fishermen to rebuilt it – as its NO attraction for the visitors. Money could be better used on more attractive things like a good clean swimming pool which is badly needed.
If you want to see an attractive and well kept pier – used by fishermen – visit Penarth.
Thanks to Jane Lilly and the Clevedon Civic Society History Group the Archive is slowly gaining a complete collection of the CCS publications. Covid-19 rather got in the way but we hope to resume compiling this treasure trove of information about the history and heritage of Clevedon for inclusion in the archive. One example, from 2002, is shared below along with an abstract of an article about Clevedon Pier by Austin Davis.
This publication contains a wonderful article written in 2002 by Austin Davis – shared below – about his memories and personal reflections on the pier. Austin has a long and respected association with Clevedon Pier. He was a founder member of the Pier Supporters Club in 1970 and continued his work until the official 1998 reopening. Two years ago Austin donated his extensive archive of documentation to do with the efforts to raise money and save the pier to the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust Archive. It represents a substantive contribution to the Pier’s specialist Business Archive.
Much is owed to Austin Davis to whom we say thankyou.
In 1847 the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act was in place to oversee the boom in marine developments. The Clevedon Pier Company had had to fulfill the statutory requirement laid down in the 1847 Act of acquiring approval from the Board of Trade in 1863 to build a pier at Clevedon.
By 1883, when the boom in coastal developments including piers was approaching a peak, there was a further development – to set up a Harbours, Docks and Piers Association. The Rules and Regulations of the Association were signed off by the Chairman of the Association, Colonel Charles Lyne at a General Meeting of the Association held at The Dock Office, Hull on February 15th, 1883. It is not readily apparent what happened to this association but, in amongst the Pier Archive’s Digital Collection, is a copy of the first Harbours, Docks and Piers Association Rules and Regulations. It is approximately A5 in size, printed on soft card and bound together with string. The images below show it is short but sweet and outlines what, in effect, would be a trade association of companies running harbours, docks and piers to come together to review new legislation and make representations to parliament if needed.
It seems that the Clevedon Pier Company weren’t in a hurry to join the new association and, in fact, may never have joined. There are no records to indicate as such and the letter below shows the new Harbour Docks and Piers Association writing to Clevedon Pier in November 1883 asking them to consider becoming members with a subsequent reduction in membership for having joined late in the year.
The Pier Archive’s Digital Collection also holds a letter from a Parliamentary Select Committee in 1883 asking for extensive information from the Clevedon Pier Company to help inform its decision on building a Harbour of Refuge between Milford Haven and Plymouth. The information they require includes:
the length, when, how and what the pier was built of
the depth of water and number of vessels that can be accomodated
if the pier is approachable at all states of the tide
improvements, if any, that have been effected by dredging
Trade, Import, Exports, Value
Titles of Acts of Parliament relating to Clevedon Pier
There is no copy in the archive of the reply but there is a copy of the letter below:
The Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust Archive holds a large collection of newspaper cuttings. The collection has come from a variety of sources and the work to sort and store them has been undertaken by several of our volunteers. We are hugely grateful to all those who, in years gone by, took the time to clip, store and annotate newspaper clippings and then give them to the Pier Archive. All are held in our Newspaper Collection. There is still more work to do and we would welcome anyone who would like to help out with clipping, annotating and compiling news items from current newspapers and magazines.
Do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the core of the collection are many hundreds of clippings carefully sorted and stored by Archive Volunteer Philip bowman. They are in date order and a treasure trove of information for the student of Clevedon Pier.
The Book of Clevedon Pier
This collection of newspaper cuttings was created by Margaret Elton and stored in a beautiful (and very large) scrapbook. It contains newspaper cuttings about the work to save the Pier during the 1970s and the rebuilding of the Pier in the 1980s.
You can read more about this Newspaper Cuttings Scrapbook on this link.
The British Newspaper Archive is a wonderful source that has been used to help plot the early history of building a pier through newspaper reports. Thanks to local historian and archive volunteer Jane Lilly we have searched BNA and compiled a record, through newspaper reports, of the building the Pier. More on this link.
And there’s still lots to do.
There are bundles of newspaper cuttings that still need sorting and cataloguing as well as an urgent need to keep collecting reports in modern day newspapers and magazines.
If anyone would like to help please feel free to get in touch email@example.com