Bangor Pier is located on the banks of the Menai Strait in the City of Bangor, North Wales. It opened in 1896, and the old pier has stood firm - reaching out half way to the Isle of Anglesey (1500ft - 458m) - for over a hundred years. Nevertheless, Bangor is fortunate to have still its Victorian pier as it has survived serious threats to its existence, firstly in 1914 from the SS Christiana, a coaster that broke free from its moorings and crashed into the pier, and again in 1971 when the authorities closed the pier for safety reasons and considered its demolition. The local council, to their great credit, acted before it was too late, bought the Pier for a peppercorn price of 1 penny, and restored it to its former glory. It now makes a lovely venue for a stroll in the sunshine or as a vantage point for the many anglers.
Built by Webster of London, contractor Alfred Thorne of London, completed the works for the sum of £17,000. In its heyday steamers would visit from Douglas, on the Isle of Man, Liverpool, and Blackpool, and Pierrots gave regular performances. As with many resorts Bangor’s holiday trade fell into decline during the second half of the 20th Century and fears for the safety of the pier structure in the 1970’s almost led to the demolition of the landmark. Fortunately, in 1978, Arfon District Council handed the pier to Bangor City Community Council for one penny and locals set about organising the piers rebirth.
Rebuilding started in 1982, taking five years rather than the estimated three and costs went way over budget. Original estimates (in the 1970’s Fawcet and Partners who were working on the smaller Menai Bridge Pier estimated £470,000) were exceeded and the final costs were over £3,000,000 (three million pounds). Fortunately the brunt of the costs were borne by the Manpower Services Commission who used the project as a training programme for the long term unemployed and provided the workforce free of charge to the Community Council.
The pier was officially re-opened in May 1988 by the Marquis of Anglesey and the largely original cast iron columns now carry an extensively rebuilt 24ft wide timber planked deck, on which sit the rebuilt kiosks, and pavilions.
Today the ornate wrought iron gates, flanked by octagonal kiosks with onion domed roofs and Indian style trefoil headed openings welcome tourists and locals alike. A brisk walk to the end of the pier is rewarded with the opportunity to partake of delicious buttered scones and a cup of tea in the charming 14-sided timber pavilion that sits beneath a 2-stage onion domed and pyramidal roof. The pier gates remain open until 9pm in summer, with night fishing available. Kiosks sell refreshments and gifts and there is outside seating and a landing stage.
Bangor Pier update 2011
Everybody loves the old piers, including me, but they aren't half a headache. I have written before about the successful refurbishment of Bangor pier in the 1980's. Yet here we are in 2011 and it seems another 2 million pound is needed to restore and combat erosion on the pier.
Well that was the verdict of pier committee chairman and Bangor City councillor John Wynn Jones at a public meeting in Bangor in October 2011. “God help you if we’ve got people on that pier and it falls down. That is a major worry for me,” he said.
Cllr Jones explained that a maintenance program was not put in place when the pier was refurbished in the 1980s. “As it is now, we all walk upon it and we all think that it’s fine and great but underneath, that structure is eroding. We’ve got to paint it and give it some corrosion protection,” he said.
Funds are being set aside for maintaining the pier, with a complete restoration sheduled in the next five years.
Plans include restoring the pier’s kiosks, signage and lighting; retail outlets; promoting the area’s heritage; co-operation with Bangor University to study and promote marine life off the pier; themed events and taking on Garth Gardens and public toilets from Gwynedd Council.
Review Bangor Pier.