The Boscombe Pier Company was formed in 1886 and the first pile
was laid on 11th October 1888. Designed by Archibald Smith, the
600 foot pier opened on 28th July 1889 but, initially, was not
The local council took over the pier in 1904
and erected buildings at the entrance and on the pier-head.
Facilities included a busy steamer landing stage. In 1940, the
pier was breached for defence reasons.
In 1924/5 and 1927, the head was renewed in
high alumina concrete and, between 1958 and 1960, the neck was
reconstructed using reinforced concrete.
A restaurant and the Mermaid Theatre were built
at the pier-head in 1961 although the ‘Theatre’, in fact, opened
as a covered roller-skating rink for its first two seasons. In
April 1965, the leaseholder, Cleethorpes Amusements, converted it
into an arcade. The council formally took over the Mermaid
‘Theatre’ in 1988 when the lease ended.
From June 1982, the council began pursuing a
policy of joint redevelopment with private leisure organisations
with a view to reconstructing the pier-head which closed, on
safety grounds, in 1990. The neck of the pier remained open but
the Mermaid ‘Theatre’ was just used as a storage area.
In 2008, the area around Boscombe pier
underwent extensive renovation. The derelict and unsafe building
at the end of the pier was demolished, and replaced by a simple
viewing and fishing platform. The rest of the pier was also
Nearby, construction of Europe's first
artificial surf reef was completed and restoration work
took place on the nearby Overstrand buildings.
In June 2010, at the National Piers Society Annual General Meeting at
Bournemouth, the Pier of the Year award was accepted by the MP for
Bournemouth East, Tobias
Ellwood, and a representative of Inspieration on behalf of Boscombe Pier.
The picture shows the Society's President, Gavin Henderson CBE
making the presentation. Click the image to enlarge the picture.
In August 2010, a memorial bench was installed on the pier to
remember four surfers who died between 2005 and 2009.
In April 2011, the Boscombe land train route was extended to
Boscombe precinct and was an immediate success.
Then in June 2011, just three years after the renovation project,
the concrete casing around some of the pier supports appeared to
be crumbling after it was reported to have been hit by a
contractor's barge. And by September 2011, every pile supporting the pier showed hairline
cracks. Bournemouth Borough Council said the pier remained
structurally sound and safe for public use while investigations
regarding repair work continued.
In August 2011, the lights on the pier were turned off because, it
was claimed, they kept leaking rainwater and short circuiting.
In March 2012, it was reported that Bournemouth Council had to share a bill of over £5,500 to
repair the pier lights after they kept short circuiting in the rain. They had earlier been off for a
year after contractor Carillion fitted them during a £2.4million renovation.