Over 70 Pier experts, enthusiasts, historians and engineers from all over the country descended on North Somerset for a weekend of tours, special talks as well as to hear the latest Birnbeck Pier developments.
Hosted on the Grand Pier, the weekend started with a talk by Allan Brodie who spoke about the history of Weston as a resort and Weston’s three piers. This was followed on Saturday by a tour of the Grand Pier, the AGM dinner before concluding on Sunday with a visit to view Birnbeck Pier and learn about its past and plans for its future followed by a tour of Clevedon Pier.
Cllr Mark Canniford, Executive Member for spatial planning, placemaking and economy from North Somerset Council said: “It’s wonderful North Somerset was chosen as the location for this year’s National Piers Society AGM. It’s been a great opportunity to showcase all our piers and the great history North Somerset has. It’s a particularly exciting time, with Birnbeck Pier developments proceeding at pace. Over the last year, we’ve worked with partners to secure three rounds of funding with the aim to restore Birnbeck Pier for all to enjoy once again.”
Tim Wardley, Chair of The National Piers Society, praised the warm welcome members received; “We had a brilliant weekend, seeing the success of the Grand Pier for ourselves and looking forward to a better future for Birnbeck Pier. The sad decline of Birnbeck has been a longstanding concern for the Society so we are excited to finally see real progress towards its restoration. We hope one day we can award it our coveted Pier of the Year title, something that Clevedon Pier has managed to achieve for a record three times. As a favourite pier among members, Clevedon was the perfect place to round off our AGM weekend.”
A spokesperson from The Grand Pier said: "We were honoured to be the host venue for the National Piers Society AGM weekend, it was truly a pleasure to welcome over 70 national Pier enthusiasts to Weston super mare. The weekend was a big celebration of all the Piers across the UK, from the Friday evening drinks reception and lecture to the Pier tour and Gala Dinner. It was a remarkable weekend, which perfectly commemorated the Year of the Pier 2023. Huge thank you to all attendees for making this gathering a success!”
The National Piers Society is a non-profit making registered charity founded in 1979 by Sir John Betjeman at a time when some of the finest piers were threatened with demolition. Through the Society’s efforts, several piers which otherwise would have vanished now remain for the enjoyment of everyone.
The ’Year of the Pier’ travelling exhibition is also currently on display on the Grand Pier and will be there until Sunday 25 June with free entry.
The National Piers Society has curated a travelling exhibition of Golden Era railway posters featuring piers. These nostalgic images, most of which date from the 1920s to the 1950s, promote a stylised and sun-drenched vision of the Great British Seaside.
For more information about the AGM, visit: NPS AGM Weekend 2023: Weston-super-Mare - National Piers Society. For details about the National Piers Society, check out www.piers.org.uk.
For the latest North Somerset pier developments, search ‘Piers’ on www.n-somerset.gov.uk.