Blackpool North Pier
Residents met in December 1861 to discuss a new pier and work
began in June 1862. Designed by Eugenius Birch, it opened on May
21st 1863. A landing/fishing jetty was added in 1866 and extended
in 1869, bringing the pier’s length to 1410 feet.
The pier was damaged in 1867 by wreckage from Nelson’s former
flagship, the ‘Foudroyant’, which had been moored off the pier for
an exhibition. In the 1870s, the pier-head was enlarged and the
Indian Pavilion and bandstand were built. There were further ship
collisions with the pier in 1892 and 1897
The deck was widened in 1896, and shops and an arcade were added
to the shoreward end in 1903.
The Indian Pavilion was destroyed by fire in 1921, but a new
pavilion was built, unfortunately also being destroyed by fire in
1938. However, a new 1500 seat theatre was completed in 1939. Also
in the 1930s, the bandstand became the sun lounge.
In the 1960s, amusements and the Merrie England bar were opened.
In the 1980s, £350,000 was spent rebuilding the entrance in
Victorian style, and in 1991, a 35 foot carousel and a pier
tramway were installed. There were helicopter rides from the
jetty, which re-opened in 1991 after severe storm damage in 1987.
Leisure excursions resumed in September 1992 when MV Balmoral
called at the jetty.
The pier suffered further, severe storm damage in December 1997,
severing the jetty from the main structure and leaving the pier
theatre perilously close to the edge. The owners did not propose
to repair the damage, instead pledging £1,000,000 towards general
improvement of this listed structure.
The North Pier still had much to offer, from its majestic theatre
and the beautiful Carousel bar, through the Sunlight Lounge and
traditional carousel ride, right up to the top of the pier with
its arcade amusements and Merrie England Bar.
Then in April 2011, the pier was sold by Six Piers Ltd to
Blackpool family firm, Sedgwick's, which also owned amusement
arcades and the big wheel on Blackpool's Central Pier. Mr Sedgwick
vowed to restore the pier to its former Victorian look, bring back
its tram and remove the entrance tolls. In September 2011, the
theatre was closed and the summer show cancelled to enable the
backstage renovation work and modernisation of dressing rooms and
windows to begin. Work was completed and the theatre relaunched in November 2011