There are over 14,000 plaques on Clevedon Pier, and the newest one has been specially-designed to mark the collapse of the Pier on Friday 16 October 1970
The brass plaque was unveiled by Julia Elton, an active supporter of the Pier, who is President of Clevedon Civic Society, and the daughter of Sir Arthur Elton, the 10th Baronet of Clevedon Court who founded the Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust.
Speaking before performing the unveiling, on the date of the 50th anniversary of the collapse, she praised the long-running campaign to save Clevedon Pier from proposed demolition following the collapse.
“I cannot think of another campaign that went on for so long,because after a while people get bored and it is very difficult to keep it going and keep it in the public eye,” she said.
“It is an absolute miracle that the town kept the campaign going for 20 years.”
The plaque has a specially commissioned logo created by local artist Emily Charlotte Moran, and has been positioned on a bench near the seventh trestle on the southern side of the Pier where the collapse began, bringing down the trestle on the northern side and the seventh and eight spans.
Phil Curme, Chairman of Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust, said: “The plaque is not to celebrate the collapse, because that’s not something to celebrate, but to celebrate the achievement of the local community who did so much to preserve this wonderful Pier.”
Clevedon Pier, which was built in 1869, collapsed at 10.20am on Friday 16 October 1970, during a bi-annual load test for insurance purposes.
The collapse followed decades in which very little maintenance had been carried out and the load testing proved too much for it.
The Pier faced the prospect of demolition, but was saved following over a decade of campaigning by the Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust and the Clevedon Pier Supporters Club, which culminated in a public inquiry in March 1980 that went in favour of preserving the Pier.
In addition to the commemorative plaque, the anniversary of the collapse of Clevedon Pier is being marked in a variety of other ways.
A limited edition issue of 50 year passes has been made available to the first 50 applicants, and the story of the collapse of the Pier and the campaign to save it has been depicted upon storyboards donated by Foremost Signs, which have been positioned on the pier head to create an outdoor museum.
A scale model of the Pier, which was successfully used in presenting the case for rebuilding at a public inquiry, was brought to the Pier for viewing by visitors on the 50th anniversary of the collapse, and over the weekend.
Memories of people involved with the campaign to save Clevedon Pier have also been filmed, and will be retained for posterity in the Trust’s Community Archive.
PHOTO: Unveiling of plaque commemorating the 50th anniversary of the collapse of Clevedon Pier. Left to right: Phil Curme, Chairman of Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust; Nicole Laken, Manager of Clevedon Pier; Julia Elton, President of Clevedon Civic Society; Austin Davis, the first Chairman of Clevedon Pier Supporters’ Club; Hilary Tinkling, founder of Clevedon Pier Supporters Club with her husband Alan; Jackie English, whose parents Ralph and Irene Fryer were leading members of Clevedon Pier Supporters’ Club.