A scale model of Clevedon Pier will be on public display in the visitor centre from Friday 16 October to Sunday 18 October as part of events to mark its collapse in 1970 and the successful campaign to save it from demolition.
The model featured prominently at a public inquiry into the future of Clevedon Pier, which had been under threat of demolition following the collapse of the seventh and eighth spans on Friday 16 October 1970 during load testing for insurance.
It will be on display to visitors to Clevedon Pier for three days, after being moved to the Pier from the foyer of North Somerset Council’s offices at Castlewood in Clevedon, where it is usually located.
Tony Wring, who was Chairman of the Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust, commissioned the scale model, which is 1.8 metres long, as part of the campaign to challenge a demolition proposal by Woodspring District Council.
He visited the Pier with his wife Carole to see the model, and was joined by David Carruthers who made the scale model for the Public Inquiry in March 1980, which culminated in a judgment in favour of preserving the Pier. To hear what they have to say then click here and scroll to the foot of the page.
Mr Wring said: “ The model was placed on a table in front of the officials at the Public Inquiry. I have no doubt that its presence played a big part in getting the demolition of the Pier stopped”.
Phil Curme, Chairman of Clevedon Pier & Heritage Trust, added: “Not only did the model play a vital role in helping to save the Pier, it also played an important part in securing funding for its restoration.”
“There is a famous story about how the model was once taken to a meeting at the National Heritage Memorial Fund offices in London. It got stuck in the lift, and a very helpful gentleman helped to get it out later turned out to be the Chairman of the Fund.”
“Given the way in which the model has been so integral to the Pier being here today, it seems appropriate that it has ‘come home’ to the Pier as we mark the 50th anniversary of its collapse, and we hope that visitors will enjoy seeing it.”
Clevedon Pier, which was built in 1869 and is the only Grade 1 listed pier in the country, collapsed at 10.20am on Friday 16 October 1970 during bi-annual insurance load testing. 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.
There is now an ongoing programme of maintenance at Clevedon Pier, which requires the Pier to generate an annual surplus of £100,000, and has meant that the Covid-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for the Pier, which was forced to close for nearly 100 days and has suffered a loss of income from reduced visitor numbers and restrictions on events.
Clevedon Pier is open seven days a week, with some restrictions in place to ensure social distancing. For further information, please go to www.clevedonpier.co.uk