Boscombe Pier - Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK
Posted by: Dragontree
N 50° 43.188 W 001° 50.589
30U E 581662 N 5619304
Quick Description: Boscombe Pier has recently been refurbished and is a popular, attractive spot once again.
Location: Southern England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/20/2008 1:26:42 PM
Waymark Code: WM4QHK
The Heritage Trail describes the history of the pier (visit link
The resort of Boscombe lies just to the east of Bournemouth on the beautiful Dorset coast. The Boscombe Pier Company was formed in 1886 and, upon accepting a design by Archibold Smith, construction of the town's pier commenced in 1888. On 17th October the first pile was driven into the sea bed by Lady Shelly, daughter-in law to the famous poet. At a cost of some £12,000, the 600ft (183m) wood and iron pier was opened by the Duke of Argyll on 29th July 1889. Simply designed as a promenade deck with a landing stage at the head, Boscombe Pier was never an early success, and it was eventually sold to the Bournemouth Corporation in 1904.
Improving Boscombe Pier's facilities was essential to attract more visitors, and various buildings were erected at both the shoreward and seaward ends. A slightly unusual feature to grace the pier was the skeleton of a 65ft (19.6m) whale that had been washed up on a nearby beach in 1887. Displayed for several years, and often used as an impromptu slide by local children, the skeleton was eventually removed and ground down as fertiliser.
By the mid 1920s the pier head was in need of attention, and it was rebuilt using high alumina concrete. Once completed, this increased the overall length of Boscombe Pier to 750ft (227m). The war years saw the inevitable sectioning of the pier neck as a defence measure, but it was repaired and re-opened once raw materials had become available again, and hostilities had ceased.
During the 1950s the pier neck showed serious signs of decay and it was decided to rebuild it in a similar manner to the head, using reinforced concrete. This work was completed between 1958-60 and transformed Boscombe Pier's appearance to that of a concrete road bridge. There was no longer any visible evidence of Smith's original pier. A screen runs down the centre of the pier neck against which deckchairs can be placed, and a slender flat-roofed building at the shoreward end is reminiscent of a large bus shelter.
The 'Mermaid' Theatre and restaurant were built at the pier head, opening in 1962. Used as an indoor skating rink for the first two seasons, the theatre was subsequently converted to an amusement arcade by the leaseholders, Cleethorpes Amusements, in 1965. Regaining formal control of the theatre in 1988 on expiry of the lease, the local council then closed the pier head two years later, on safety grounds. This still remains the case today, and the theatre building is currently used only for storage purposes. The neck of Boscombe Pier continues to remain open to the public, and the local council are actively seeking a partner for a joint redevelopment project to reconstruct the seaward end.'
Currently there is undergoing work to create the first artificial reef in Europe for details please see (visit link
The pier makes a good spot for viewing the waves, surfers and marine life created from this new venture. There are regular information boards along the centre of the pier with the history of the area detailed. Many anglers were at the end and seating is available along the centre.