Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,535 pages of information and 233,960 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Clacton Pier

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of Clacton, Essex

1871 Opened on 27 July and was officially the first building erected in the then new resort of Clacton-on-Sea. A wooden structure 160 yards (150 m) in length and 4 yards (3.7 m) wide, the pier served as a landing point for goods and passengers, a docking point for steamships operated by the Woolwich Steam Packet Company, and a popular spot for promenading.

By 1893, Clacton had become such a popular destination for day trippers that the pier was lengthened to 1180 ft (360m) and entertainment facilities, including a pavilion and a waiting room, were added to accommodate them.

At the end of the First World War, the pier was bought by Ernest Kingsman, and it remained in the ownership of his family until 1971.

Kingsman added some major improvements to the pier including: a RNLI lifeboat house; a theatre called the Ocean Theatre; the classically named Blue Lagoon Dance Hall; the Crystal Casino; an open-air stage; an open-air swimming pool; and a roller coaster which was called Steel Stella.

WWII, the Pier was breached to prevent it being used as a landing stage. A floating German mine also caused considerable damage.

By 1971 the pier was under the control of Barney Kingsman (Earnest Kingsman’s Son) and had fallen a little behind with the times, with visitor numbers falling the decision was made to sell the Pier and it was in this same year that it was sold privately to Mr Michael Goss. The Goss family were no stranger to seaside pleasure Piers and already had the majority share in neighbouring Walton Pier, Mr Goss ran the pier as a successful amusement centre until he eventually grew frustrated with the lack of support from the local authority and their understanding of what was required to bring new visitors to the town and so decided it was time to sell up and retire.

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