Shotley Pier is 122 years old and has been for sale for years. Our community group wants to buy and renovate for working and leisure use
by Shotley Heritage Community Benefit Society Ltd in Shotley Gate, England, United Kingdom
Shotley Pier is a 122 year old Victorian working pier, sited on the peninsula, bounded by two beautiful rivers, River Orwell and River Stour. The area is a designated AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and UN Ramsar Convention Wetlands with protection from over-development.
The pier has been for sale for several years. Our community group wants to buy and renovate the pier, to enable people to walk on it, and to enable activities such as leisure fishing, crabbing and other activities that interact with the water such as kayaking, rowing, boarding of ferries and boats for day trips.
The pier was used from its earliest days to ferry foot passengers between Harwich and Shotley, saving hours of road travel from Essex to Suffolk. British Railways Motor Boat Services issued this poster, showing the railway heritage links of the pier.
The views are stunning, the sunsets are amazingly beautiful and photographers, artists and the public love taking pictures and creating art from the changing scene at all times of the day. Many artists and photographers visit for the sunsets, the beauty of the mudflats and the ever changing tidal scenes.
Our group is made up of local people who have watched the pier decline, who wanted to get involved to restore the pier, and create an asset for the community. Viewing it from the pub window or walking along the prom are the main ways to enjoy it these days, and we want to see it repaired.
The pier has a great history of seafaring use by the Royal Mail, the Royal Navy, and local fishing boats. Local inshore fishing ceased to use the pier more than 10 years ago. The local community now uses the landside area for walking, launching kayaks and small craft on a short nearby public slipway. The heritage links to railways, postal history are well known, and we know that the coal merchant who resided at the Bristol Arms used the pier to unload coal shipped by barge. The coaldust is evident on this photo, along with the turretted tollgate.
Local legend had it that there were lamp-posts on the pier, this photo is great proof the story is true, and gives us the ideal look to aim for in our restoration.
The bay has Harwich port and Felixstowe port within view, so the pier has a fantastic close up view of large numbers of shipping movements rather than a distant sea horizon. People come from miles around to enjoy the busy river views, and to enjoy the mild weather conditions of the sheltered harbour. Imagine being able to stand at the end of the pier to watch monster cruise ships float by, they feel almost within arms reach of the hammerhead.
There is an historical link with the Arthur Ransome book "We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea" and the pier is mentioned in the plot as well as pictured in the book. His work is being celebrated locally in 2017.
HMS Ganges was a large Royal Navy base a few hundred yards from the pier and has a long honourable history of use. We have a lot of photos showing that the trainees at the base used the pier on a daily basis to assist its use of the Admiralty pier nearby. Here is Rear Admiral Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt walking along Shotley Pier as he relinquished his command of the Harwich force in 1919.
The community shares you buy will give you membership of The Shotley Heritage Community Benefit Society Ltd. Your involvement could be as active as helping to repair and paint it, attend meetings or keep in touch by email and occasional visits. This should be viewed as an investment in community rather than to get a financial return as there won't be any dividends payable. The focus is on restoring it to working use as well as leisure use such as strolling and fishing.
We are aiming to create several apprenticeships to give young people skills to enter the regional industry of coastal civil engineering, and we will repair the pier out into the water by stages if funds are too limited to do the whole task at once. We already have many skilled volunteers ready to get stuck in.
The Society has formed a large steering committee, which brings together more than 40 years of collective experience in pier operations, engineering skills, maritime communities expertise, and social enterprise know how. In order to ensure continuity of service, as soon as funds permit, the Society will appoint an experienced project manager, who will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, overseen by the Directors.
We invite you to review our share prospectus and look at our website for further details of our project.
Join us, and own a piece of this unique Victorian pier.