History repeating itself
Everyone knows about the devastating fire which hit The Grand Pier in July 2008 but did you know this fire wasn’t the first in the Pier’s history. The original Pavillion was destroyed by fire on 13 January 1930 before being re-built in 1932/3. Unluckily for the owners back then, the Pier was found to be uninsured and so they had to find £36,000 – a huge sum in those days – to pay for the repairs. Leonard Guy, who had previously held the sideshow concessions on the Pier, bought the remains and rebuilt the deck.
Lights, camera, action
The Grand Pier has been the setting for many TV shows and even movies over the years. With its picturesque Boardwalk and stunning views out to sea, the Pier provides the perfect backdrop for classic British seaside scenes. Star-studded Sky Atlantic comedy Bliss with Steven Mangan and Heather Graham was filmed at the Pier earlier this year and 1993 movie The Remains of the Day saw stars Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thomson in a scene together on the Pier. Several reality TV shows have also been filmed at the venue including Come Dine With Me, Don’t Tell the Bride, and Flog It. BBC Breakfast and Saturday Kitchen have also used the Pier as a location for filming.
The original Grand Pier cost just £120,000 to build back in 1903. Compare this with the bill to re-build the new Pier in 2010, which cost owners Kerry and Michelle Michael an eye-watering £39,000,000 and you could say that’s a bargain!
Cream Tea for 555 people, please…
October 2016 saw The Grand Pier stage the biggest ever Cream Tea event to be held at a single venue. Five hundred and fifty-five people showed up at the Pier to take part in the Guinness World Record attempt and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Theatre on the Pier
Nowadays The Grand Pier runs many entertainment nights for people to enjoy but did you know when the Pier first opened in 1904, it was home to a fine Edwardian Theatre which people would travel for miles to visit. With a capacity for 2000 people, the theatre came complete with an orchestra pit and dressing rooms. Entertainment at the theatre included opera, musical comedy, Shakespeare plays, ballet, and boxing.
Weston to Cardiff water taxi
It was originally intended to run regular passenger services from the Pier to Cardiff but the tide and strong currents made tide mooring of ships too dangerous so the plan was abandoned.
The Grand Pier is supported by 360 original cast iron piles from 1904 with 71 new steel piles added in 2010. The entire structure was refurbished in 2010 to give a minimum of 25 years until the first maintenance of any structural element will be needed.