National Piers Society
History of Cleethorpes Pier

Plans appeared in the 'London Gazette' on 16th November 1866 and the pier was ordered in 1867. Built for £8,000 by Head Wrightson, it opened on August Bank Holiday, 1873. Financed by Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway (later LNER), they took on the lease in 1884 for £450 per annum and bought the pier twenty years later for £11,250. A pier-head concert hall was built in 1888 but was destroyed by fire in 1903. A new pavilion was built near the shore in 1905 and a cafe and shops on the site of the original building. An elevated link to the adjoining 'pier gardens' was added at this time but was removed in the 1930s.

In 1936, LNER sold the pier to Cleethorpes Council. It was breached in 1940 for defence purposes and the isolated seaward section was demolished after the war. Some of the salvaged material was used on Leicester City Football Club's new stand. The pier now measured 335 feet compared to its original 1200 feet.

The pier pavilion was modernised in 1968 for £50,000. Facilities included a 600-seat concert hall, a cafe and a bar. Entertainment included bingo and wrestling.

Funworld Ltd became owners in 1983 for £55,000 but, after an unsuccessful summer show, closed the pier at the end of the 1983 season. Cleethorpes Borough Council decided to buy the pier back, and the threat of demolition loomed. However, businessman and club-owner, Mark Mayer, bought the structure on 24th July 1985 and spent £300,000 transforming the pavilion into a modern night-club named 'Pier 39' (from an old steamer pier in San Francisco). The re-opening took place on 4th September 1985.

Whitegate Leisure plc took over in 1989 and spent £500,000 developing the pavilion which re-opened in April 1992 after a nine week closure. A £20,000 shelter was added in 1993.

Ownership over the following years passed through a number of organisations including Luminar Leisure and a management buyout in 2005 which later became Candu Entertainment.

In 2006 Candu rebuilt the former Paradise Club, with the new Waterfront bar officially opened by Tim Mickleburgh, Hon Vice President of the National Piers Society.

Later that year the pier was bought by local businessman Kash Pungi. In 2007, the new owner put in hand the renewal of supporting legs, a 5 month project using over 40 tonnes of steel at an estimated cost of over £500,000. Also in 2007, the pier was granted a 24-hour drinking licence with the backing of the police and other authorities.

However, in January 2010, the pier went into receivership and was closed. Then in May 2010 it was announced that Mr Bryn Ilsley, a Grimsby-based businessman, had bought the pier for an undisclosed six-figure sum, and pledged to restore it to its former glory. After a £200,000 upgrade it re-opened in November 2010 having been leased to a new management team. But in September 2011, the pier was closed after having its licence suspended for 28 days because of what was described as incidents of serious crime and disorder. Despite an appeal, the pier's management eventually surrendered their licence to run the landmark venue.

A new leaseholder, Mr Alistair Clugson, took over the pier in November 2011, vowing to make it "much more than just a nightclub". After significant renovations, the former front bar area was re-opened as the Tides Bar and Restaurant in December 2011. The nightclub operated on Saturdays and on Wednesdays, and further plans were in hand to distance the pier from its troubled past, with even a proposal to change the name of the pier.

However, in October 2012, the future of the pier seemed once again in doubt after staff were suddenly advised without warning that the business had closed. The pier owner, Bryn Isley, said that he would be meeting with Mr Clugston and Hugo Marfleet who were leasing the venue from him to discuss the situation. But reports of removal men taking children's rides and disco equipment from the venue seemed to confirm the worst and shortly afterwards it was announced that the pier was to be put up for sale with a guide price of £400,000.

The pier was put up for auction in February 2013 but, disappointingly, failed to meet its reserve price. But later in the month, Swindells Auctioneers, who were in charge of the sale, announced that it had been sold for “considerably more” than the £400,000 guide price nto a mystery buyer. Over the next few months, there was a great deal of optimism with the buyers, thought to be a venture partnership from London, having great plans for the pier.
But then in May 2013, Swindells announced that the sale had fallen through, the buyers having failed to meet their contractual obligations.

All was not lost, however, as in July 2013, to everyone's great relief, the pier re-opened following the purchase of a one year lease by the Pier Group, a community minded group of businessman chaired by Mr Bryan Huxford, with an option to buy the pier at the expiration of the lease.

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  Pier Statistics
 
Length Opened Status Owner
Initially 1200ft now 335ft (102m) 1873 Unlisted Peacefields Properties

Pier News
Nov 2013 - Ambitious new look for iconic pier
Jul 2013 - Cleethorpes Pier back open for business
See Pier Newslinks Archive for earlier stories
Pier Gallery
Flickr gallery of images of Cleethorpes Pier
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Pier Movies  
YouTube video of Cleethorpes Pier May 2011
Chris Foote-Woods YouTube video 2009
Pier Weblinks
Wikipedia entry for Cleethorpes Pier 
The Heritage Trail webpage on Cleethorpes Pier
The Theatres Trust webpage on the Pier Pavilion
Cleethorpes Coast Light Railway
Pier Webcam
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