Boscombe Pier, Dorset

The pier opened in the summer of 1889 and, although attracting many visitors immediately after the opening, it was never successful.  When the council took it over in 1904, they erected buildings at the entrance and the pier-head, including two landing stages for shuttle boat services to the nearby Bournemouth Pier.

In the 1920s the pier-head was renewed using concrete, and a canvas roofed pavilion for shows was added.  The shows went on until 1940 when the pier was partially demolished to combat the threat of invasion.  As with many piers, financial problems after the War kept it closed for several years.  It opened again in 1962.

The building at the pier end re-opened as the Mermaid Theatre, although it never staged any plays. It was as a roller-skating rink before becoming an amusement arcade and dance hall.  It closed in 1989 and the pier became progressively more derelict over the years.

The pier closed again in 1990 because of the discovery of large cracks in the concrete.

In 2008, the building at the end of the pier, deemed derelict and unsafe, was demolished, but not replaced.

The following year, just east of the pier, the council spent £3m installing an artificial reef.  It was created out of 55 enormous sandbags, which were supposed to create breakers for surfing, thereby attracting international surfers and stimulating tourism.  However shortly after the attraction opened, it was found to be dangerous for the very surfers who were supposed to use it.  When the councillors approached the New Zealand-based manufacturers to fix it, they found that the company had gone bust.  No one has ever been held accountable for such incompetence.

The local people’s £3m investment washes up now and again in bits and pieces along the coast.

Painting of Boscombe Pier