The Harbours, Docks and Piers Association

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 cost
  • 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:

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