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Cleethorpes named Pier Of The Year 2016

Cleethorpes’ Pier has scooped the national accolade of Pier Of The Year 2016.

The iconic structure beat 16 other piers to the top title after a vote by members of the National Piers Society.

It follows a multi-million-pound revamp in the past year that has taken it from a rundown, closed shell to the iconic venue it is today.

Worthing Pier came second, closely followed by Llandudno in what was the 20th year of the competition.

The National Piers Society’s President Gavin Henderson said: “The restoration of the Pier at Cleethorpes, and its Pavilion in particular, has won overwhelming support, and I congratulate those who have carried out this remarkable transformation.”

Bryan Huxford, the man responsible for the transformation, said: “To be recognised in this way by the members of the National Piers Society, just eight months after reopening, is truly amazing.”

Mr Huxford was one of a group of investors who stepped in to save the Pier, unveiling their vision for its future in 2013.

It later shut for a major revamp, opening to the public again in August last year in the latest chapter in its history.

It opened on August 4, 1873, having being built at a cost of £8,000. At 1,200ft long, 2,859 people paid the enormous sum of 4d (or 6d for bath or sedan-chairs!) to walk along it on the first day, and over the next five weeks the number of visitors totalled 37,000, the majority coming by rail from the great industrial cities.

They were not, sadly, the genteel type of folk envisaged by the town’s residents; a dance band was hired to play for them and shocked locals complained of “an influx of the great unwashed, including young men dancing together and smoking pipes”!

In 1883 a barrel vaulted Concert Hall was erected at the Pier head and the dancing moved inside, but it was destroyed by fire in 1903.

Two years later a Pavilion was built on a side extension a little way down the Pier, and this still survives.

In 1936, the Pier was sold to Cleethorpes Borough Council for £27,800 and at the outbreak of war it was sectioned (cut in half).

The seaward end was badly damaged during a storm in 1949, and the Council demolished the Pier’s neck, with some of the salvaged materials were used for the construction of a new stand at Leicester City Football Club’s ground.

Since then, it has been one of the shortest piers in the UK, at 335ft long.

Many will remember the summer shows staged inside the Pavilion but from 1968 onwards it began to house bingo, wrestling and stamp fairs. In the 1970s it became known as the home of Northern soul music.

The Pier changed hands no fewer than eight times over the next 20 years, but despite considerable capital investment, it gradually went downhill and acquired a reputation.

It was in 2013 that it was saved by a private buyer, with extensive restoration carried out during the following two years and the Pavilion now boasts a Promenade Bar, Victoria Tea Room, fine dining Restaurant and a Function Room capable of hosting conferences, weddings and shows.