Pier collapse anniversary

THE 40th anniversary of the collapse of Clevedon Pier was marked on Sunday.

On the morning of October 17, 1970, disaster struck the pier when the two end spans collapsed into the sea during load testing.

To mark the significant event in the history of the Victorian structure, talks were given to visitors on Sunday and an exhibition of letters and photographs was put on at the Heritage Centre.

Pier mistress Linda Strong said: “The response was very good.

“Some people brought letters and even some photos of the pier pieces being moved around.

“It was quite interesting that people who have not been on the pier for many years also made the effort to come down.”

For 13 years after the collapse, the pier was closed while efforts were made to raise money to restore it.

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At a public inquiry in 1980 it was decided the pier should not be demolished and, in 1984, English Heritage gave a grant of �500,000 and the National Heritage Memorial Fund matched it.

The former Woodspring District Council then agreed to lease the pier to the trustees for 99 years.

In 1989, the pier was partially re-opened with the landing stage and steps completed so regular boat trips could run.

The pier head still needed restoring and by 1998 the pier was fully opened.