Southport Pier is a pleasure pier in Southport, Merseyside, England. Opened in August 1860, it is the oldest iron pier in the country. Its length of 1,108 m (3,635 ft) makes it the second-longest in Great Britain, after Southend Pier. Although at one time spanning 1,340 m (4,380 ft), a succession of storms and fires during the late 19th and early 20th centuries reduced its length to that of the present day.
The pier has been host to famous entertainers, including Charlie Chaplin in the early 20th century. It was visited by steamliners in its heyday, but silting of the channel meant that by the 1920s very few steamers were able to reach the pier, and the service ceased in 1929. The pier fell into disrepair throughout the late 20th century, and by 1990 it was operating at a significant annual loss with rising maintenance costs. The local council sought to have the pier demolished, but were defeated in their attempt by a single vote.
Southport pier has had several setbacks in its history, suffering from colissions, gales, and fire but none were as close to detroying the pier as in 1990 when Sefton Council applied to have it demoslished, only to be defeated by a single vote.
The pier today is an open structure, with modern railings on an older base and a deck made of hardwood slats, affording a partial view of the sea below. Along the walkway are name plaques that local people funded to help towards raising the restoration funds. The modern pavilion structure at the pier head was designed by Liverpool architects Shed KM and cost £1.2 million; the building houses a cafeteria with airport style floor to ceiling windows overlooking the beach and a collection of vintage mechanical amusement machines and penny arcade. The exhibition of Edwardian and Victorian machines operates on pre-decimalisation pennies,available to purchase on-site at £1 for 10 old pennies.
Are you looking for a traditional seaside holiday? Or perhaps you want to breathe the fresh sea air deep into your lungs?
Not only does Southport have 22 miles of coast but also boasts the Grade II listed Southport Pier, the oldest iron pier in the country, standing for over 150 years.