A £14,000 grant from North Somerset Council has enabled the creation of a stunning new all-weather community space at the seaward end of Grade 1 listed Clevedon Pier.
Clevedon Pier is graced by an elegant Japanese style pagoda, originally built in the late 19th Century to provide facilities for passengers using the steamer fleet which, at that time, carried trippers to various destinations in the Bristol Channel. The first floor was originally the Ladies Waiting Room and is now used as a popular, volunteer run, cafe.
The ground floor is a void with a double stairway leading down to a series of landing stages. Whilst boats do occasionally call (hopefully The Waverley will be with us again this year in September), this ground-floor space, despite its spectacular location, is – for obvious reasons – unused except for two or three days every year.
The Bell Room Project will install a removable state-of-the-art floor at deck level thus transforming the ground floor of the Pagoda into a unique, versatile space for use by the community for exhibitions, school visits, meetings, recitals, poetry readings, temporary exhibitions, weddings and ash scattering ceremonies.
The name of the project derives from the fact that once the floor has been installed, then the original Pier bell, which was recovered from the foreshore after two spans collapsed in 1970, will be hung in the new space where it will be rung at least twice a day. It is important that the Pier is ever ready to serve ships and therefore the flooring will be designed for easy removal by two appropriately trained volunteers.
Nicole Laken, Business Manager said: We hope to have the new room in place prior to the start of the 2022 summer season. Having a versatile enclosed space on the end of the Pier gives us a number of exciting options, including the possibility of hosting community events and temporary exhibitions once we get back on our feet.
Phil Curme, Chair said: During the pandemic, we have been reminded of how important the Pier is to the local community. To walk the length of the Pier and experience the joy of this unique location never fails to hit the mark. The new Bell Room will be a great asset to the team and will allow us to offer even more to our visitors. We are grateful to North Somerset Council for their support.