The National Piers Society (650 members) has announced that Swanage Pier is its Pier of the Year. It is the first time that this grade II listed pier has won the title and it beat 21 others including Clevedon and Blackpool North.
The 642ft pier was originally opened in November 1895 and paddle steamers regularly stopped off, bringing visitors to Swanage. In its heyday, 11,000 passengers a day visited the seaside resort. During the Second World War though, a section of the pier was blown up to stop it being used for enemy landings. The missing section was replaced in 1948.
In the 1960’s, UK holidays fell out of fashion and the pier, under private ownership, fell into disrepair. In 1994 it was taken over by the Swanage Pier Trust, re-opening in 1998 after a large restoration project. It is run by volunteers and now attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year.
The pier features an underwater camera showing the local marine life and it is also home to what is thought to be Britain’s oldest dive school, Swanage Diving School, established in 1958.
Derek Tarrant, Chairman of the Swanage Pier Trust, said: “It is a real honour to receive this prestigious award on behalf of all the volunteers and supporters who work so hard to keep the pier open for everyone to enjoy”.
The award was presented at Swanage Pier on 12th April by Timothy Phillips, Chairman of the National Piers Society,