Tuesday, 22 March 2011

West End Pier, Morecambe

Postcard postmarked 1905

The archaeology of relatively modern lost features also interests me and it is to that area that I want to dedicate this post.

As a child of the sixties and seventies I spent a lot of time in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. Recently, whilst clearing out the garage of my late mother I came across two pieces of a structure that was largely destroyed in 1977 and finally demolished in 1978 - West End Pier. They were picked up from the sand and even now, having being submerged in seawater and then left forgotten in the garage, retain the pale blue paint that was their final colour.

Work began building the pier in 1893 and it opened in 1896 when it had a length of 1800 feet and was extended in 1898.

Postcard no date

It was breached in two places by a storm in February 1903 and further storm damage occurred in 1907, washing away 180 feet of the extension.

1903 storm damage

The pavilion was wrecked by fire in 1917. After a further storm, on 18th October 1927, the pier measured just 900 feet. It remained, however, a centre for a variety of entertainment despite the loss of the concert building.

Postcard postmarked 1943

In November 1977, further storm damage wrecked a third of the pier and isolated the open-air dancing and roller-skating area. Repair costs were estimated at a prohibitive £500,000 and the pier was demolished in 1978.

Postcard postmarked 1917