Future looks bright for the pier that refused to die

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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Unlike the original Victorian visitors, today no one promenades along Cleethorpes’s pier to show of their wealth. However, it still remains one of the resort’s most well-known landmarks.

While the Winter Gardens – which earned a place in the history of punk rock after welcoming the Sex Pistols to its stage just days after that infamous interview with Bill Grundy led most other venues to pull the plug on their tour – is no more, the pier has enjoyed more lives than the proverbial cat.

Officially opened on August Bank Holiday Monday 1873 and stretching 1,200ft, the original pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1903 but a new one was built a couple of years later.

Like most of the first piers, which were designed to bring those wanting to breathe in the supposedly health-giving properties of the sea air without getting their feet wet, it quickly became the centre of Cleethorpes’s entertainment industry.

It wasn’t long before coachloads of tourists were coming for fun rather than medicinal reasons and a £50,000 investment in 1968 made the pavilion one of the most modern on the East Coast.

However, the good times didn’t last. By 1981, after a series of summer shows failed to meet box-office expectations, the pier faced turbulent times as it passed through a succession of owners who also couldn’t find a way to make it pay.

In December 2012, the London Evening Standard carried a half-page advertisement offering Cleethorpes Pier for sale by auction the following February. Sadly, it failed to reach its guide price of £400,000 and for a while the future looked again uncertain.

However, the landmark again refused to die and after securing investment its renaissance was cemented when in 2016 it was named Pier of the Year by the National Piers Society.

Now home to what claims to be the largest fish and chip restaurant in the country, the pier, much like Cleethorpes itself, represents the best of the British seaside.

Tech details: Tech details: Nikon D3s camera, 80-200mm lens, Exposure 500th sec at f5.6, iso20.

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