Celebrating 150 years

by Nigel Brown Jul 19 2021 0     1,778
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July 19, 2021

 

Clacton Pier is preparing to mark its 150th birthday with a real bang with a spectacular free fireworks extravaganza.

The display, which will be staged on Saturday (July 24), will be the first of six to be held weekly during the school summer holidays.

The anniversary is on July 27 but as that is midweek, the fireworks will be set off at the weekend when more people can enjoy them.

Pier director Billy Ball said that due to Covid restrictions it has been difficult to plan any large events for the 150th birthday in case they could not go ahead.

“So, we decided to install three new rides this year – the Clacton Pier Wheel Experience, the Looping Star Roller Coaster and the Race-O-Rama,” he said.

“On top of that we have the six fireworks displays where people can watch them from a number of vantage points and can easily social distance if they want to.

 

“Unfortunately, our 150th anniversary has fallen during the pandemic, but we intend to celebrate this landmark event in the best way we can.”

 

Mr Ball said that the pier has played a major and integral part in the town’s history over a century and a half.

 

“My brother, Elliot, and I are the current custodians of this iconic seaside attraction and are fully aware of the massive responsibility this entails,” he added.

 

“We proudly follow in the footsteps of a number of previous owners – the most significant of which were the Kingsmans – and everyone has played their part in maintaining the pier for the enjoyment of many generations.

 

“Although the Pier dates back to 1871 and parts of the original structure are still standing, massive improvements have taken place over a century and a half to create the 6.5 acre site people see today.

 

“We have modernised greatly in recent years to try to bring in the finances needed to keep the attraction in business - and this is an on-going challenge.

 

“Clacton Pier has always played a significant role in the community – and supporting the community – and that will certainly continue while it is in our family’s ownership. The health of the town has always been closely linked with the pier and vice versa.”

 

Mr Ball said that his family, which has owned the Pier since 2009, love Clacton and it had been their dream to take over Clacton Pier at some point having previously been involved in the leisure and hospitality industry locally.

 

“We have worked closely with Tendring Council and other businesses in the town to help promote Clacton as a traditional British seaside resort with a modern twist,” he said.

 

“There has been a great deal of both public and private investment and we are sure that the town’s popularity will continue to thrive for another 150 years and beyond.”

 

Mr Ball added that the past 18 months had undoubtedly been some of the most difficult times in the Pier’s history and it had been closed for the longest period since the last war.

 

“We believe that we are coming back stronger and better than ever and we hope that will be the same for Clacton,” he said.

 

“It is a time for celebration for both Clacton and the pier and we hope our residents and visitors enjoy all that is on offer.”

PHOTO by MATTHEW MALLETT 

Ends

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