Monday, 29 June 2009

Boscombe forgets the birthday of its oldest friend



A little-recognised anniversary passed today without acknowledgement - the 120th birthday of Boscombe Pier.
Despite being a much-loved focal point on the seafront, everyone forgot this special day.
In fairness, after many incarnations, the structure bears little resemblance to its original design.
The resort's first pier, designed by Archibold Smith, was opened on July 29, 1889, by the Duke of Argyll.
The 600ft structure cost £12,000 to complete but by 1904 its lack of popularity prompted owners, The Boscombe Pier Company, to sell it to the council.
By the 1920s it was in need of repair and underwent a partial rebuild, extending it by another 150ft.
During World War II the pier was closed and by the late 50s yet more of it had started to crumble so concrete replacements were made along with the modern pier entrance, which still stands today.
In 1962 a theatre opened in a new building at the pier's head and in the years that followed was used as a skating rink, a restaurant and an amusement arcade but it was eventually closed by the council in 1988 for safety reasons.
After a £2.4m restoration the new improved Grade II listed pier was finally reopened in October 2007 and the refurbishment of its entrance building is nearing completion.
Happy birthday Boscombe Pier and here's to another 120 years.

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