Oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do like to be beside the sea, I do like to stroll upon the prom, prom, prom…or in the case, Clevedon pier.
Have I got you singing along? Ready for a cheerful, seaside themed post? I do like to be beside the seaside, especially in a pretty coastal town like Clevedon with its very pleasant promenade.
Remains of an Iron Age hill fort nearby and a mention in the 1086 Domesday Book confirm that Clevedon has a long history, but it was in the Victorian times that this place really blossomed. Think bathing machines, Punch & Judy and promenading in the sea air.
All of those are things of the past now, but traces of Victorian Clevedon remain. A walk along the modern promenade gives lovely views across the water to Wales, but also a glimpse of Clevedon past.
A beautifully maintained vintage bandstand here, traces of ornamental gardens there.
The Victorians had clear ideas on what made a good seaside resort, and they stuck to it. One thing that the Victorians liked to see beside the sea was a good pier. Clevedon didn’t have one and so- long story short- one was built.
A buoy was thrown into the water to mark the spot, companies were engaged for construction and materials sourced. The original wooden supports for the pier were actually railway timbers from a nearby route that didn’t come to be. A section of one of the originals is on display in the pier museum.
Admission to the pier gains you access to the pier itself, the museum and to the Porthole Room. From here you can view the pier from below, even when the tide rolls in. It’s a sharp contrast to the pretty pier above.
Following a gala opening, the pier served its purpose for many years. It was a landing point for steamer ships. In the 1930’s, embarkation place for day trips and pleasure cruises up the coast and across to Wales.
The opening of the Severn Rail tunnel meant less passengers used the pier as necessity, so those in charge reimagined the place for pleasure. A covered dancehall was added at the pier head and later, a juke box installed. For a while the pier was the place to be, to hear all the latest rock and roll hits.
Eventually, the pier fell from popularity and into disrepair. In 1970, it began to collapse. The logical solution was to demolish what remained of the pier, given the amount of effort and funding it would take to restore it.
But local people weren’t so willing to let the pier go. It took a group of dedicated supporters, a lot of money and a legal battle but the pier was saved. Restored. It’s not just about saving heritage, fabulous as that is.
Clevedon Pier is a local landmark and a tourist attraction. It was the pier that drew me to Clevedon, and now I’m enjoying getting to know the town.
Not just for visitors though; there’s a lot goes on here for Clevedon residents. The local Sea Angling Club fishes from here, there are yoga sessions and foodie events.
It’s a lovely place to walk, out to sea and back again. There’s a pretty cafe in the pagoda at the sea end. The lady working there was very cheerful. With that view from the office, who wouldn’t be?
The pier is dressed beautifully by the team of staff and volunteers who care for it, with bunting and pretty planters. A thing of beauty to explore, it’s also a keeper of stories. Thousands of brass plaques acknowledge special occasions and speak of a real fondness for the old place.
This was my favourite. In memory of Ted and Molly who honeymooned in Clevedon in 1940. I’ve fallen a bit in love with the Ted and Molly of my imagination, I’ve already mentally written their love story and imagined all Molly’s lovely 1940’s outfits. Molly was a beauty and Ted a real gent. In my mind, they have a happy-ever-after. I hope real life was equally as kind to them.
Clevedon Pier is dog friendly (The Pagoda Cafe even sells Scoops doggy ice cream) and open seven days a week. Find all details on the Clevedon Pier Web page.
Anda Grand Day Out was had by all! Thanks for taking us along.
Indeed! Thanks for coming along Margaret, always lovely to have you.
Dear Helen, beautiful blog, stunning photos! It’s Carolyn from over on the 1940sExperiment. You won a journal and needed your address to send it. Can you email 1940sExperiment@gmail.com thanks xxxx C
Ah Carolyn, so sorry I missed this comment. I’ve been having some technical issues! I hope the journal found a good home, and that the rationing diet is going well.
Hi Helen, I still have it here for you so please send me your address xxxx C
What a lovely reminder of a fab visit. We visited Weston and a sand sculpture fair there and popped along to Clevedon to see the pier. It was a little gem just as you described
I’m glad my post brings up happy memories for you. Clevedon is a lovely place, I’m hoping to explore along the coastline a little further next time.
I haven’t been here Helen but it looks lovely. I also like a walk along a seaside pier!
I think you would enjoy Clevedon Marion, it’s traditional at heart but lots going on up in the town centre. Some lovely old post boxes dotted about too!
What a splendid pier! It’s clear to see that it is treasured and well cared for.
Isn’t it a beauty? There’s a real love for it from the local community, and I can see why.
Suspicious though that Ted & Molly found time for a honeymoon during the Battle of Britain. Were they actually spies, hoping to be whisked away by a submarine, late at night? Why would they leave a memorial plaque then? Was it to lead a false trail?
Ah! The alternative story of Ted and Molly! Anything is possible…
I do love to be beside the seaside, it’s my happy place and Clevedon Pier looks well worth a visit.
I do enjoy a walk along a pier, especially if I can look down between the planks and see the sea below! I had many childhood visits to Eastbourne, where an aunt and uncle ran a B&B, and that was always my favourite thing to do there 🙂
We did pause for a glimpse between the boards, the tide was on the way in and there’s something relaxing about seeing the water rolling in. Running a B&B by the coast sounds lovely, although I’m sure in reality it’s hard graft!
It was more of an old-fashioned guest house really. Hard graft yes, but a great base for family get-togethers in the off season!
What a beautiful town to visit! Makes for a lovely getaway!! Thank you for sharing this insight. I just got back from discovering a few places in Europe and a lot of the towns are near water and it makes for lovely walks and scenery.
Thank you so much, I hope you enjoyed your European adventures.
“The most beautiful pier in England”- Sir John Betjeman. Yes, Sir John looks to be quite right based on this tour you’ve provided. Helen, this is a lovely look at a lovely place, including Ted & Molly’s imagined story.🙂
I think Sir John had a knack for finding the right words, and he was spot on with Clevedon Pier.
You’re making me want to visit the pier!! I love when we save old heritage places…it gives a glimpse into life in a different age and it always enthralls me. Like you, I love making up stories about who must have been there before me and what their life must have been like.
Always a pleasure to meet another history lover, the past is full of stories and we should cherish them!
What a lovely and impressive pier. So glad it was restored. X
Definitely- what a loss if it was just swept away.
I love finding and reading these memorial brass plaques. I hope Ted and Molly had a very happy ever after, but my mind is stuck on that year – 1940. They were certainly in for some rough times. The pier is absolutely beautiful and makes me a touch melancholic imagining all the generations that walked down that pier, all the stories, all the lives.
I know, my imagination gave Ted and Molly a happy lot in life but I suppose the chances of them getting through it all unscathed are quite slim. Like you I wonder at the people who’ve had little life moments on the pier. It’s a keeper of stories, I’m glad the community of Clevedon fought for it.
I have a soft spot for piers, they always seem like such a delightfully impractical feat of Victorian whimsy, lovely that the local community chose to save and restore it.
” A delightfully impractical feat of Victorian whimsy” is the most perfect description for piers of this era! Clevedon won me over, coffee by the sea with a dash of history. What’s not to love?
Such a lovely place. I’m glad the pier was saved and restored. Thank you for the virtual tour.
Glad to have you along, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. The pier seems to be going from strength to strength, I’m glad the town didn’t give up on it.
lovely pier. and memorial bench, we don’t have that here
I live overlooking our lovely pier in Clevedon, we are so lucky to have it. Thank you to Nicole, staff and volunteers, we are blessed.
How lovely, it’s a beautiful pier and Clevedon is lovely. I’ve really enjoyed exploring that part of the world. Thankyou so much for taking the time to read and comment.
It’s such a beautiful pier! It’s great that they were able to save it thanks to the efforts from the community!