Clevedon’s long fight to save their much-loved pier is celebrated
- Credit: Archant
The 50th anniversary of the collapse of Clevedon Pier was commemorated with a brass plaque unveiled by a relative of the man who built it.
President of Clevedon Civic Society, Julia Elton, is the great, great granddaughter of Sir Arthur Elton – who was among the original builders. She praised the town’s long-running campaign to keep the pier open as ‘the most terrific success story’.
Although the pier’s collapse was a devasting event, there was an air of celebration with memories shared of the people in Clevedon pulling together during a 20-year-long fight, which ended with them saving the pier from being demolished.
Julia, an engineer and historian has kept the family connection and is an active supporter of the pier. Her father, Sir Arthur Elton – the 10th Baronet of Clevedon Court – kick-started the move to get the pier restored and founded the Clevedon Pier Preservation Trust.
She said: “I cannot think of another campaign that went on for so long, because after a while people get bored and it is very difficult to keep it going and keep it in the public eye.
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“It is an absolute miracle that the town kept the campaign going for 20 years.”
The plaque has a specially commissioned logo created by local artist Emily Charlotte Moran, and is fixed to a bench near the seventh trestle on the southern side of the pier, where the collapse began.
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Chairman of Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust, Phil Curme, said: “The plaque is not to celebrate the collapse, because that’s not something to celebrate, but to celebrate the achievement of the local community who did so much to preserve this wonderful pier.”
Clevedon Pier was built in 1869, and collapsed on October 16, 1970, during a bi-annual load test for insurance purposes. The collapse followed decades in which very little maintenance had been carried out and the load testing proved too much for it.
Memories of people involved with the campaign to save Clevedon Pier have also been filmed, and will be retained for posterity in the trust’s community archive.