OPENING OF THE NEW PIER AT WESTON-SUPER-MARE
The contract for the bridge, with pier, and the pavilion and works on the island of Birnbeck, at a total cost of £20,000 was given to Messrs Toogood and Laybourne, of the Isca Foundry, Newport. Monmouthshire, and the structure so far as it is at present completed, reflects the highest credit to the firm. The site of the work is too well known to need description at our hands. The bridge which is 1150 feet long and 20 feet wide extends from the extreme point of Anchor-head to Birnbeck island, where at low tide there is always some depth water. From the island the pier proper runs but into the Channel a distance of 250 feet, and this is supplied with landing stage approached by a long flight stairs leading from the pier so that provision is made for the embarkation of passengers and goods. The pier is not fully completed, but the highly finished character of the bridge and its exceedingly light and elegant appearance won the commendation of the numerous visitors who flocked to the spot on Wednesday. A fine approach has been made to the bridge through a heavy piece of rock below the Kewstoke road and near the Royal Pier hotel. Passing through the toll-house the visitor at once finds himself on the bridge, which rests at either end on two strong buttresses and is supported on fifteen iron piers of light appearance, but they are well-secured by strong girders while the piers themselves are morticed some three feet deep in the rock below. To carry out the idea of the structure enhancing the attractions of the neighbourhood for pleasure-seekers and the main body those who patronise watering places, the bridge either side is furnished with seats running the whole extent of the 1150 feet, and by ingenious arrangement the stout gas piping which is carried on the island and pier is made to form the back of this range of seats; an ornamental appearance is given to it by the elegant brackets on which it is supported, and a curved back of open wire-work completes the seats. A number of semi-circle recesses on either side agreeably break the long line of the bridge, and these recesses are also furnished with seats. The island itself has been levelled and its area enlarged, and it has been encircled with walls of heavy masonry, leaving a spacious promenade between this and the centre block of buildings now in course of erection as a Pavilion. This latter will be a graceful structure, specially designed to contribute to the pleasure of the visitors. The flat roof will be encircled with seats, from which a capital view of the Channel will be obtained at a spot at which it has been asserted that one could carry a straight line from it to a point in North America without touching land. The pavilion will contain several apartments and one hall above -intended as a concert or ball room, which will be upwards of 100 feet in length. Forming a graceful finish to the structure, a veranda supported on iron entablatures and pillars, will encircle it. It is being constructed of some stone taken from the cutting. The landing-pier proper is constructed of wood supported iron piles; the landing stages with which it is furnished are adapted to the various heights of tide, and the approaches to them, being formed of perforated iron, have a light and elegant appearance. Altogether the promenade bridge pier, and pavilion, in addition to their undoubted usefulness, will greatly add to the attractions to this favourite watering place, and the work certainly still further enriches the appearance of the picturesque spot on which it has been carried out. The time of opening had been announced several days ago. and every preparation had been made by the Town Commissioners and their officials to give eclat to an event of such importance to the town. The day was kept as a general holiday, and throughout the place scarcely a shop was open. Excursionists from Newport, Bristol, and other places arrived in the morning, and contributed to the holiday appearance of the streets, the beach was lined with booths, swings, and gaily decked boats and steamers lay off the Chanel, flags fluttered in the “rather stiff” breeze blowing in from the sea and everything around only wanted a fine day and genial sunshine to render the affair a complete success. After a few threatening showers the sun shone out, and by the time the procession was formed it was a bright a day as could be desired. The official procession was formed in the vicinity of the Town-hall, at one o’clock, and was marshalled by committee under Mr. T. Browning. The following was the order-
Official, carrying the Union Jack. The Town Commissioners.
Mayors of Corporate towns (Mr E S Robinson, Bristol, and Mr Thompson Bath and others).
Clergy, Ministers. Magnates, Naval and Military Officers, Members of Festival Committee. Officers and Men of Coast Guard.
Boat belonging to the Neptune Rowing Club, mounted on a carriage.
Boatmen and Fishermen.
Band the 6th Somerset Volunteer Rifle Corps. Volunteer Rifles of Weston, Wrington, Baltonsborough, and Burnham.
Band of the Bristol Volunteer Engineer Corps. Oddfellows— Lodges “Star the West,” Cecil Pigott, and “Lily of the Vale,”
Juvenile Foresters. Foresters Courts “Windham” “Albert” and “Alexandra” Operative Stone Masons’ Friendly Society.
Civilians on horseback, &c.
The opening ceremony took place at two o’clock, shortly before which the procession reached the bridge. The Rev. J. C. Pigot opened the proceedings, and addressed the members of the Pier Company on behalf of the Town Commissioners. Mr R. L. Jones, chairman of the company replied. Master Cecil Hugh Smith Pigott (a boy only five years age), heir to the estates of the Lord of the Manor, replied with admirable address and manner:— Mr Pigot and Gentlemen. Mr. Jones and Gentlemen, Fellow Townsmen—l thank you for the honourable post which you have assigned me and I declare that Weston-super-Mare Pier is now open : and pray that God will prosper the good work (loud and prolonged cheers). The Rev. W. Hunt closed the proceedings with prayer. Salutes were then fired, and the volunteers having presented arms, the united bands played the “National Anthem.” Those forming the procession then re-crossed the bridge, and Master Pigot passing out, returned the entrance gates and formally paid the first toll to the Weston-super-Mare Pier Company, and the procession shortly afterwards broke up. The whole of the arrangements were carried out in the high-spirited manner which has characterised the Pier Company and their indefatigable chairman throughout the undertaking. The committees, with their several chairmen, Messrs T. Browning and E. Knight, and the Rev. J. C. Pigott, also deserve much praise for their exertions. We should state that in order to enable all to partake in the rejoicings of the occasion, upwards of 1200 children were treated with buns and three-pennypieces in the morning at the Town-hall, and in the Market-place about 650 poor people of the town were supplied with dinner. We must certainly congratulate the company, the festival committees, and all connected with the undertaking on the genuine success of the demonstration. In passing over the bridge the volunteers forgot to break out of step, and their steady uniform tread caused the bridge to oscillate in such a manner that several persons were somewhat alarmed, but the structure withstood the test admirably. The banquet took place in the evening at the Town-hall, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion, when about 150 gentlemen sat down to a capital collation, supplied by Mr Collis, of Weston-Super-Mare.