Celebrating 150 years
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
“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
“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