Southwold Pier was built as a landing stage for steamships bringing day trippers from London, Clacton, Southend, Walton on the Naze and Great Yarmouth. Originally it had a T shaped end which was destroyed by a storm in 1934; a new pavilion and amusement arcade were built on a couple of years later at the shore end.
The pier was rebuilt in 1948, but a gale in October 1955 isolated the seaward end, which washed away. Another storm in February 1979 reduced the length.
A major refurbishment program started in 1999 and was completed in 2001. In 2002 the T-Shaped end was added, enabling visits by the PS Waverley and its sister ship the MV Balmoral.
This century there have been a couple of ‘threats’ to build apartments or hotels on or at the shore end over the pier entrance, but luckily they have all failed.
The pier’s greatest attraction is the Under the Pier Show: a collection of quirky amusements created by the artistic engineer Tim Hunkin. Tim has a long and distinguished career creating everything from comic strips for The Observer to the television series The Secret Life of Machines. The machines are great fun, and it would be good to see more piers adopt such a creative approach to their amusements.