Yarmouth Pier is the responsibility of Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners and is a Grade II listed structure. It was built in 1876 to allow not only ferries from Lymington to dock, but also to be a landing stage for steamers from other ports and piers on both the Isle of Wight and the mainland (also known as the North Island by locals!). In the nineteenth century it was quicker to travel by steamer from Yarmouth to Cowes than to go by carriage. These days we have few vessels using the pier, notably the steamship ‘Waverley’ in September, and also ‘Balmoral’ earlier in the year, as well as ferries from Poole, Swanage, Weymouth, Portsmouth and Christchurch occasionally during the summer. It is also used for promenading and fishing.
The pier has changed slightly in length and shape over the years but still looks largely the same as when it was first constructed. It is reputedly the longest wooden pier in the UK.
The upkeep of the pier is an ongoing issue. The piles, despite being greenheart hardwood, only last 15-20 years. Restoration is never ending.
In early 2008 we replaced 54 of the wooden piles along the length of the pier; these had been eaten away by gribble. We were lucky enough to win a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £350,500, and a Pier Appeal Fund headed by Alan Titchmarsh raised over £40,000 towards the refurbishment. The total project cost was £450,000 and included a gribble seat which is situated near the RNLI lifeboat, an interactive seat sited at the entrance to the pier, and a pier archive.
We now need to replace 54 wooden piles at a cost of £800,000. The work will involve restoring the piles supporting the pier head roundhouse, which will need to be dismantled for the work to be carried out. This year we will be seeking grant funding from various organisations to help us fund the refurbishment of th pier and launching a public appeal to gain support for the work from the people who use and enjoy it.
So please visit our pier, have a look at the sponsored planks and take in the views of the Solent. Please make sure that you put 50p in the honesty box.
If you would like to make a donation to help with the continuing restoration of the pier please make your cheque payable to Yarmouth (Isle of Wight) Harbour Commissioners and leave it at the Harbour Office Reception. Thank you!