Pier to cost millions to restore


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Aug 29, 2001
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The section of the world's longest pleasure pier which was gutted by fire is to be rebuilt - even though it could cost millions of pounds.
The damage to the Southend Pier was a serious blow to the town, said borough council leader Anna Waite.

Ms Waite said: "We will be looking to restore it to its former glory. It's a very sad day and the pier will cost millions of pounds to rebuild."

A pub, a railway station and other buildings were destroyed in the fire.

A full investigation is being carried out into the cause of the fire which started at about 2240 BST on Sunday.

Absolutely huge

About 75 firefighters worked through the night to bring the fire under control.

Eyewitnesses said flames leapt 30 to 40 feet in the air as the "absolutely huge" inferno engulfed up to 130ft of the pier and the blaze could be seen for miles.

McGinty's pub, a restaurant, shops and toilet facilities collapsed into the Thames Estuary, taking part of the pier's wooden floor with them.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known but it is currently being treated as suspicious. This is a routine assessment until it can be ruled out.

Eyewitness Dave Watts told the BBC News that the main entertainment area of the pier had been "devastated".

Mr Watts, a cab driver, said he could see from the shore that the fire was "absolutely huge".

Pier disasters

There are a number of buildings at the end of the pier, including the pub, fast food restaurants and a newly-built lifeboat station. It is thought the lifeboat station has survived.

At 1.34 miles (2.16km), Southend Pier is the longest pleasure pier in the world. It opened in 1889, with extensions added in 1898, 1908 and 1929.

It has suffered a number of disasters in the past. In 1959 a major fire destroyed the Pier Pavilion at the shore end of the pier. This was replaced by a ten-pin bowling alley which opened in 1962.

The bowling alley was itself destroyed by a fire in 1995.

In 1976, the pier suffered another major fire which destroyed much of the area that had opened in 1908.

Former Southend MP Sir Teddy Taylor told BBC Five Live: "It's sad because it's one of the great assets we've got in Southend.

"It's a great place to walk down, it's a great opportunity for people to enjoy themselves. But sadly it looks as though we're in for a horrible business once again."


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Jun 28, 2005
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I used to live only 10/15 minutes away from Southend before moving down to London.

As an ex-resident over the years there has a been a number of fires at the pier and no-one ever gets caught!!

BTW Sir Teddy Taylor is a gobsh*te he doesn't like Sarfend LOL



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May 17, 2001
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longest pleasure pier!!! lol theres fook all on it! why cant bloody clacton pier burn down instead!(its a shit hole) i work around the southend area and there is nowt on it? but what i dont understand is that its been 4 times now that its caught on fire??? and clacton pier(my home town) has never caught fire? ok apart from 1973 when the steel stella rollercoaster burnt down(but that wasnt the pier itself. and that mcgintys pub well i saw him on tv giving an interview and i couldnt believe my eyes! it was francis mcginty the ex owner of clacton pier! the man who took the money and run and left the pier in a right state!


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Sep 16, 2004
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My Computer thinks I'm Gay
So, what do you think, should it be rebuilt at a cost of millions?

Does it form an important part of who we were and are, and therefore justify the cost of the repairs?

I suspect it does, but that's me, someone who has never seen it nor ever likely too in all honesty. ;)


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May 9, 2001
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Essex, England
Well I still live 10 minutes from it. The pier is a strange thing - you seem to have a fond memory of it for no real reason. It has unfortunately had a rather bad run of luck in it's history.

1. First the fire back god knows when.
2. Then it was hit by a boat and sectioned into two
3. Then it was hit by another boat (within a year I think)
4. Then another fire which took out the dated bowling alley - the owners of which then decided to re-develop the old Kursaal (another popular entertainment venue) Insurance Job???
5. Now another fire.

I think it should be re-developed BUT this time made into a proper entertainment complex - Clubs, bars, restuarants etc - Even extend Peter PAns Adventure ISland onto it - now that would be kewl.