Bognor Regis Pier

The 1000 foot long pier opened in the 5th May 1865 during the great age of pier building in England.

In 1867 a coal ship crashed into it causing significant damage and as revenue from visitors was thin, the owners declared bankruptcy. The council took it over but unfortunately it lost them money, so they sold it 1908.

Old photographs from the beginning of the 20th century show a busy and attractive looking pier. There were all sorts of shows on the beach and performances on and off the pier. There were: The Gay Cadets, who were a song and dance act; Uncle George and his Concert Party; Samuel Mather, the sand scratcher; Frank Bale and his living Marionettes, or performing as the Bognor Clown he worked with his daughter, Vi, and Tozer their dog. You could also take a ride on a paddle steamer from the pier.

Later, Billy Butlin opened an amusement arcade on the front and brought an American import, the dodgem cars to the UK. There were also miniature racing cars on the beach and, of course, the ubiquitous donkeys.

Storm damage in 1964 and 1965 caused the pavilion to sink into the sea, then fires did their worst. It closed 1974, throughout this time it changed hands several times.

In 1978 the pier became the venue for the Birdman Rally, in which contestants attempt to fly 100 meters off the end of the pier before hitting the water. The event moved to Worthing pier for a couple of years, but is now back, with both piers holding the event.

Painting of Bognor Regis Pier