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Documents Heritage Interpretation History of Clevedon History of the Pier Saving the Pier Post 1970

Lady Margaret’s Scrapbook No. 3

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.

Categories
Heritage Interpretation History of Clevedon History of the Pier Saving the Pier Post 1970

Lady Elton’s Scrapbook 1

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 an especially interesting one from the North Somerset Mercury from March 26th, 1971. Full transcription on the right…………..

Royal Help for the pier

When his Royal Highness Commodore the Prince Alexander Desta of Ethiopia heard that part of Clevedon’s Victions pier had collapsed, he felt it was ‘an absolute tragedy.’

The prince, a grandson of Emperor Hailie Selassie, and Commander in Chief of the Imperial Ethiopian navy, at once wrote out a cheque for £5 and sent it from Addis Ababa to the editor of the ‘Mercury’ for inclusion in any fund to save the pier.

The prince, who was educated in the West Country and is very fond of Clevedon, read about the pier in the ‘Mercury’ which is taken out to Ethiopia by Commander T H Foden of Woodrow, Edghill Road, Clevedon. He is the United Kingdome liaison officer to the Ethiopian navy.

Recalling the Prince’s words when he heard about the pier falling down Commander Foden said His Highness felt that people living a long way from Clevedon would perhaps appreciate the value of the pier as an architectural monument more than could those who lived in the town.

The ‘Mercury’ telephoned the Historic Buildings Council in London to find out if any decision had been reached about a grant for the pier’s restoration. We were told that a recommendation had gone to the Secretary of State for the Environment who will be getting in touch with Clevedon Council.

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History of Clevedon

Aunt Sallys and Cocoanuts

A report of the Clevedon Local Board of Health from 1885 contains an intriguing debate about whether Clevedon Beach should be used for entertainments such as Aunt Sally – an arrangement of canvas and the head of a woman and a supply of cocoanuts to throw at her head.

Aunt Sally Illustration: Wikipedia

Right from the outset of the debate the Chairman of the Health Board made it clear that he (Sir E H Elton) owned that part of the foreshore and it wasn’t something for the Board to debate or decide. Nonetheless, a solid debate ensued. Some thought throwing cocoanuts encouraged rowdyism, others that it was akin to gambling in a public street. Again, the Chairman stated that no one could be trading on the beach without his permission. But the debate went on. One said, they didn’t want to ‘snobbify’ the beach and another that nothing should be allowed on the beach that would be offensive to the residents of Clevedon. The newspaper article, below, has been transcribed to enable the reader to follow the ebb and flow of the debate which, as the article reports ended, when ‘the subject was then dropped.’

Image: British Newspaper Archive

Transcription

Mr Ransford drew attention to the fact that a large space on the beach was occupied by the canvas and stock in trade of a gentleman who kept cocoanuts (sic), which, in consideration of the payment of a certain bronze coin of the realm, the public were allowed to throw at.  Their beach was sufficiently limited n extent without anything of this sort to make it smaller.  The CHAIRMAN (Sir E H Elton) did not consider this a matter for the board, as this part of the foreshore referred to by Mr Ransford was his (the chairman’s) property.  He did not see anything objectionable in throwing at a few cocoanuts.  Mr Sheldon pointed out that it amounted to gambling in the public streets.  Mr Maynard remarked tht it was six to one against the thrower knowing off a cocoanut.  Re. J. Hoarce considered that this sort of thing lowered the tone of the town and encouraged rowdyism.  He had been advised by a solicitor tht a strip of beach between low and high water mark was under the jurisdiction of the board.  If one person was allowed to do the things complained of by Mr Ransford, others might follow in their footsteps, until the beach was covered with booths and cocoanut stands.  The Chairman said no one could be there without his permission.  Mr Griffin did not think it desirable that the beach should be used fo such purposes.  Rev J S Neumann said they did not want to curtail the beach with “Aunt Sallys” and that sort of thing.  They did not want, if might be allowed to coin a word, to “snobbify” the beach.  Rev J Horne remarked that a refreshment housekeeper had said he thought it was hard lines that he should have to pay rates, while others could set up a booth for the sale of eatables on the beach.  Rev. J.S.Neumann observed that a unanimous opinion had been expressed by the board against the beach being curtailed and lowered, and he felt sure the Sir E H Elton would consider this, and would not allow anything to exist on the beach offensive to residents in Clevedon.  The subject then dropped.