Archive team welcomes cash grant to enable it to tell Clevedon Pier’s story

PUBLISHED: 08:00 15 August 2018

Bette Baldwin and some of Clevedon Pier's historic documents.

Bette Baldwin and some of Clevedon Pier's historic documents.


Historic documents about how Clevedon Pier was founded, and its changes in fortune and ownership, will be catalogued thanks to a grant.

A poster advertising the pier.A poster advertising the pier.

The Business Archives Council has agreed to give the Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust £4,000 so it can hire professional help to help it create a digital catalogue.

Documents charting 150 years of history will provide an insight into the social and economic shifts in Clevedon.

The grant will mean the archive can be made more accessible to researchers, and will equip volunteers with archive management skills to use in future projects. They will also work with professional bodies, such as the National Archives.

Volunteer archivist Bette Baldwin said: “The business archive is all the documentation and paperwork which tracks the history of the idea to build the pier right until the present day.”

Pier admission tickets.Pier admission tickets.

The archive is made up of six sections, each relating to the six organisations involved in running the pier during its lifetime.

Bette said: “Some of the interesting things will come from the papers held by the Elton family, who were behind building the original pier.

“Part of the work will be making digital copies of some of the old records from the 1830s and 1840s when the land transferred, and all the drawings of the original pier. That will be a really rich source of material.”

Archives are measured in metres, and the business records cover eight metres of documents, made up of letters, reports, legal records, drawings and photographs.

Volunteer archivist Bette Baldwin trying out the old phone once used to communicate between the end of the pier and the tollhouseVolunteer archivist Bette Baldwin trying out the old phone once used to communicate between the end of the pier and the tollhouse

Many of the documents will focus on efforts to save the pier from demolition after part of it collapsed into the sea in 1970.

The pier’s 150th anniversary is next year, and the work will mean more historic information can be unearthed to coincide with the celebrations.

A spokesman for the Business Archives Council said the funding bid was ‘impressive’.

They added: “The panel was impressed by the trust’s obvious commitment to preserving and sharing the story of the pier’s changing fortunes through its archive.

“Links with universities already exist and volunteer engagement is high, with a commitment to further develop educational and community links.

“Thanks to previous funding, the archive is housed in a safe environment ensuring access for future generations.”

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