Southend-on-Sea Pier is the city’s most treasured historical icon putting Southend on the map as well as into the record books. The pier is owned, managed and maintained by Southend City Council. The original timber pier was constructed in the 1800’s, it was superseded by the Iron Pier designed by James Brunless and constructed in 1889. The pier is a Grade II listed building and officially the world’s longest pleasure pier reaching out 1.34 miles into the Thames Estuary. The pier played a role in both World Wars, a true survivor with an incredible history and also boasts the first pier railway to be built in the country in 1890, the narrow gauge railway is still used to transport passengers to and from the pier head.
Southend City Council has invested heavily in the pier over recent years; several structural condition surveys were commissioned identifying significant structural defects requiring repairs to be carried out to safeguard the future of the pier. The most urgent defects were prioritised and a 5 year rolling programme began.
The anchor bays form the main structural supports for the pier, providing rigidity whilst allowing contraction of the structure. They are formed from cast iron piles, 9.1 m steel beams, 3.5 m steel deck beams, forged cross bracing, tension rings, bull rails, pile caps, clamps and heavy duty nuts and bolts, and washers. There are 19 anchor bays supporting the pier, repair work to anchor bays are phased and the value of the work package is typically in the order of £1.5m.
Where existing beams have been graded repairable and deemed suitable for reuse, the beams will be painted and reused in areas of the pier subjected to minimal load and forces. Reduction of carbon footprint was a key principle with as many original wrought iron beams being repurposed without compromising the structural integrity of the pier. All new steelwork is galvanized to provide a durable robust coating. The beams were painted to enable them to blend in with the existing darker appearance of the historic structure, helping to gain acceptance from Planners and Historic England.
(Content provided by UK Industrial Services)
Photos © Visual Air, Garry Stickland
Image:Visual Air, Garry Stickland