Grand Pier

Teignmouth, United Kingdom | C.1865

Photo Credit: Angela Fabel

A walk down the Grand Pier in Teignmouth, England is bound to provide a wave of nostalgia with icecream shops and arcades sprawled along the 212 meter pier. Also known as Teignmouth Pier, this sentimental jetty in the southern region of Devon was designed by J W Wilson and constructed between 1865 and 1867.

Teignmouth became a popular seaside destination in 1817 when the Victorians frequented coastal resorts to escape the “big smoke” cities they lived and worked in during the Industrial Revolution. Doctors used to prescribe a getaway for their ailments and some even advised their patients to drink the sea water as it was believed to have healing properties.

Initially, the Pier was a landing stage to enable steamboat passengers to get to the shore. As the jetty was used more frequently, entrepreneurs saw the potential of a captive audience unboarding ships and built refreshment stands and other amusements. For instance, the old machine “what the Butler saw” that displayed promiscuous images was one of the first to be installed on the Pier.

In February 2014, the pier was closed for 7 months after being badly damaged by huge waves and strong winds. Armored steel was installed to reinforce the pier and other precautions set in place to protect against future storms.

Today there are 50 remaining piers in England and Wales, nearly all of which are over 100 years old. Teignmouth Pier has been lucky to have owners who have the desire to keep it well maintained. The third generation family-based custodians of this Victorian structure rely heavily on visitors and the local beach goers to help ensure this historic landmark remains for generations to come.

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