Save Swanage Pier
The future of Swanage Pier is in the balance. Parts of the Victorian Grade II Listed Pier structure are in a critical condition, including 41 of the Greenheart timber piles, which have been damaged following many years of adverse sea conditions and waterborne woodworm. In 2013 part of the Pier was closed for several months following storm damage, which caused a major section to collapse (as shown below). Initial repairs were undertaken but major conservation work is now needed to repair the Pier to ensure it remains safe and accessible.
The Pier is now one of only 14 remaining timber piers in the Country, representing significant historic and architectural value. The Pier is currently visited by over 125,000 people each year and is an important attraction at the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast. It supports a range of leisure activities, including sailing, diving, fishing and strolling. A number of businesses are based on the Pier, including England's oldest Dive School 'Diver's Down'. In 2015 over 18,500 people accessed the Pier for boat trips including heritage vessels the MV Balmoral and the last remaining sea-going paddle steamer, the PS Waverley.
The Pier also acts as an artificial reef within the Marine Protected Area and provides an important habitat for rare marine species normally found in much deeper water. Along with neighbouring historic wreck sites, this makes the Pier a major national dive and angling site. Statutory organisations have advised that the Pier also provides an important flood defence for the Town and helps protect the UNESCO World Heritage Jurassic Coast.
Swanage Pier is an integral part of the character of the town and contributes significantly to the tourism and heritage appeal. Dorset County Council recently undertook an Economic Impact Assessment which stated that if the potential of the Pier is achieved, an estimated £3.6 million would be generated annually in the local economy. This report also stated that the loss of the Pier would be extremely detrimental to the Town and local economy.
The project has provisional support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but Swanage Pier Trust needs to raise a total of £900,000 in match funding before November 2016.
The Trust has been working hard and raised a significant proportion of the funding required. We are very grateful for the funding which has already been raised from a number of Charitable Trusts, the Local Authorities, individuals and local businesses, but time is running out and this truly is our one opportunity to secure the future of Swanage Pier.
Your support will make all the difference
Be a part of history and the story of Swanage Pier.....
Swanage Pier Trust
Swanage Pier Trust is a Registered Charity, established in 1984, with the aim of restoring and maintaining the Grade II Listed Pier for the benefit of the Town, visitors and the Nation's heritage. The Trust has 12 Trustees and employs one full-time member of staff and a seasonal Piermaster. The Pier is highly valued by the local community and has over 650 ‘Friends’ and a committed team of over 60 volunteers, who support all activities on a daily basis.
The Trust receives no core funding but has built up a range of operations and steady income from boat berthing, strolling, diving and angling passes, watersport business tenants, and a small café and retail area which provide an income to support the Trust’s charitable objectives. The Trust has undertaken significant restoration works since its inception, including major repairs required following the storm damage in 2013. However, the scope of the works now required to restore and repair the Pier are beyond the means of the Trust and we NEED YOUR HELP!!
History of Swanage Pier
The origins of the Pier unusually relate to Swanage’s industrial past and not to its development as a seaside attraction.
This area of Dorset is famous for the quarrying and transportation of Purbeck Marble. Purbeck Stone was used in major churches such as Salisbury Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Parts of key buildings and streets in Central London were constructed using this stone. Some of the architectural features of these buildings were replicated in Swanage. The original Swanage Pier was built in 1859 and was used primarily for shipping coal, timber and stone. Following the introduction of a steamer service in 1871, the Pier became used for day-trippers as well as cargo. As popularity grew, the Pier became unsuitable for this purpose. In order to meet the growing need, the current Pier was constructed in 1895.
Swanage is unusual in having had the dual role of industrial shipment as well as tourism. Swanage is also unusual for its construction in timber, as the piles of earlier piers were progressively changed from timber to cast-iron. Swanage Pier is unconventional in being dog-legged in shape, with a westward branch midway along, which allowed access to deeper waters and a wide range of vessels to berth. Many piers have already been lost, through deterioration, fire or storm damage.
Please help us to ensure that Swanage Pier is here for future generations
Swanage Pier Regeneration
Our first and immediate priority is to carry out the urgent repairs needed to protect the structure, but we also recognise that the Pier has massive potential as a heritage, cultural and educational attraction. We are aiming to develop the Pier’s potential and appeal for all audiences, without losing its unique character.
As part of the wider Regeneration Project, Marine Villas, an existing Grade II listed building on site will be refurbished to provide new exhibition and learning facilities. An exhibition will be developed about the Pier and its heritage, the marine environment and surrounding World Heritage Jurassic Coastline. Within this building new catering and retail facilities will be created, which will take advantage of the stunning waterside location and showcase Dorset produce and sustainable seafood. This new facility would enable us to host events and celebrations in this beautiful part of the Jurassic Coast.
Improvements will also be made to parts of the Pier structure which are not currently accessible for disabled users, including the boat landing stages, which will make the site and facilities more accessible for all users.
The work to be undertaken as part of the wider Regeneration Project will enable us to build a robust and sustainable financial foundation for the long term future of Swanage Pier. These improvements and new programme will both enable the Pier to reach its potential as a heritage and educational attraction, and help it to generate adequate income to ensure that all future maintenance and repairs can be undertaken as part of an ongoing programme.
Rewarding Your Support
We are very grateful of any donation you can pledge, every penny will go directly to securing the future of the Pier and ensuring it keeps its special place in history. In return for your pledge of £50 and over, we will be pleased to welcome you to the Pier so you can see for yourself and experience the true pleasure of Swanage Pier. One of the most recognisable features of Swanage Pier is the timber decking with brass plaques. Each of the plaques has a special dedication with a story behind, which gives individuals and families a place in history and a special connection with the Pier. We will be delighted to reward pledges from £250 with a dedicated plaque, guaranteeing your place in history as part of the Swanage Pier story. Pledges of £500 will receive a limited edition print of the stunning watercolour illustrations produced by artist Tony Kerrins, and pledges over £1000 will receive very special acknowledgement and rewards.