The 50th anniversary of the collapse of Clevedon Pier and the successful campaign to save it from demolition is to be commemorated with a pass that will be valid for 50 years, and will only be available to the first 50 applicants.
The pass features the words ‘Saving the Pier for future generations’ beneath an iconic photograph of the Victorian landmark which was taken following the collapse of the seventh and eighth spans on Friday 16 October 1970.
It also has a specially commissioned logo marking the 50th anniversary of the collapse, which was created by local artist Emily Charlotte Moran.
Phil Curme, Chairman of Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust, said: “The aim of the Trust in producing a limited edition of 50 passes that are valid for 50 years is to celebrate the remarkable community effort that enabled the Pier to survive following the 1970 collapse, and also to help to support the ongoing maintenance that is essential to ensure its continuing survival.”
The cost of a commemorative 50 year Pier pass will be £500. Pass holders will be entitled to unlimited entry to the Grade 1 listed structure for a period of 50 years, and they can be accompanied by up to three children. The passes will be available online or from the Pier shop from October 14.
Phil Curme explained: “The cards effectively offer annual membership of the Pier for just £10 a year for 50 years. This is a third of the current £30 cost of individual annual memberships, and represents excellent value for committed supporters of the Pier.
“The 50 year passes will also help to provide the Pier with some much-needed financial certainty following the challenges brought about this year by the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant the Pier was forced to close for nearly 100 days.
“The collapse of the Pier was the result of years of neglect, and the 50th anniversary is a poignant reminder of the need for a programme of ongoing maintenance to ensure it withstands the damaging effects of salt water, storms and passing years.
“In order to fund this maintenance the Pier needs to generate an annual surplus of £100,000, and the 50 year passes will play an important role in making this possible.”
You can buy one of our limited edition 50 Year passes here.
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. Very little maintenance had been carried out on the historic stricture during previous decades, and none at all during the years of the Second World War, and the load testing was too much for it to cope with.
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.
During the campaign, the then Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, described Clevedon Pier as “the most beautiful Pier in England”, and declared that “Clevedon without its Pier would be like a diamond with a law.”
In addition to the limited edition 50 year passes, the anniversary of the collapse will be commemorated by a range of activities including the unveiling of a specially designed plaque on Friday 16 October, on 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.
The unveiling will be performed by Julia Elton, an active supporter of the Pier, and the daughter of Sir Arthur Elton, the 10th Baronet of Clevedon Court and founder of the Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust.
Other people involved with the campaign to save Clevedon Pier will be visiting at various times on the 50th anniversary of the collapse to share their memories, and the story of the collapse of the Pier and the campaign to save it will be told upon storyboards positioned on the pier head, which will go up on Wednesday October 14th and will remain in place throughout the winter
A scale model of the Pier, which was successfully used in presenting the case for rebuilding at a public inquiry, will be on display to visitors for the first time in the glass walled visitor centre between Friday October 16 and Monday October 19.
Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust is keen to hear from anyone who remembers the collapse or who were part of the campaign to save the Pier. It is hoped that these stories can be retained for posterity in the Trust’s Community Archive which already has a rich collection of material relating to this fascinating period in the Pier’s history. Those who want to share their stories can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org