Bangor is one of the smallest cities in the UK with a population of just over 21720, so it’s perhaps strange that its pier is second only to Llandudno in length. It said like with Llandudno it gives the public the chance to see how a typical pier looked in the 1860s heyday for promenade seaside walks. What’s perhaps strange about this, is the fact that that the pier was built long after this heyday, pier construction starting in much later in the year 1890.
Bangor pier was designed by Westminster based JJ Webster and was built for a total of £14,475. The pier was completed in 1896, and was opened to the public on May 14th.Once construction had finished pier was 1550 feet (470m) long. The amazing length of the pier made it the ninth longest in England and Wales.
The pier was built mainly of steel and iron columns; the decking was wooden and had covered kiosks at regular intervals along its length. At the end of the pier a boat landing stage was constructed, this was initially linked to a narrow gauge railway link for baggage carrying. After careful thought and planning the railway link was removed not long after it was built.
The boat link to the pier took steamers from Blackpool, Douglas and Liverpool, it had a successful and uneventful period until potential disaster in 1914 when steamer SS Christina broke loose and hit the pier causing major damage. A huge gap in the pier was caused by the incident, and had to be temporarily repaired by the royal engineers.
Due to the interruption of the First World War the temporary repair lasted seven years. By 1921 it was noted the temporary repair needed proper work doing and a proper job was started. It was found that the damage was in fact worse than first thought and it took a lot longer and cost much more than originally planned.
Later in 1971 it was decided that the pier was no longer safe for the public to use and it was closed. The arfon borough council took ownership and in 1974 decided demolition was the only answer. The local council put in an objection and gained a preservation order. The preservation order made the pier a grade 2 listed building. The listed status helped the seaside pier considerably as it was considered one of the finest 3 piers in Britain at the time.
Later on in 1975 the local council bought the pier for a mere one pence, the next task was raising funds for the repairs. The fund rising took a total of seven years to complete. Later on down the line, after the funding was in place the rebuild of the pier took a further six years to finish off.
The project was helped considerably by the national heritage memorial fund. On the 7th may 1988 the seaside pier was reopened to the public.
The pier today
Along with some of the earlier parts of the piers history is that it must be one of the few piers that has land so close to its sea. Anglesey is so close in fact that if the pier length was doubled in length it would become a bridge.
Also in the list of unusual features is the fact the bridge is virtually empty of buildings and shelters except at points alongside the main walkway, its main length is basically a long uncovered walk. This is no reason to keep away though despite the minimal entertainment that the pier has on offer, it has stunning views in all directions. There are benches and traditional styled lights and a traditional wooden walkway to use.
A family walk out on the pier will start by passing through ornate wrought iron gates, the gates are the entrance to the pier walkway. On either side of the seaside pier there are kiosks and smaller gates before the main piece of the bridge is accessible. There are some shelters kiosks along the bridges length but it’s mostly uncovered leaving your seaside holiday open to the magnificent breeze of the welsh coast.
One of the pier shelters has been taken over for use as a tourist information centre and is packed full of leaflets with information on everything going on in and around the area. Perhaps what is most relevant is the fact that they offer tourists details on the wildlife that is in the area. There is also information about the mudflats and the water in the area, telling you what lives there and when inhabitants can be seen.
Bangor pier seaside holiday attraction has so much wildlife that it attracts fishermen to the area. The boat dock and pier sides can be used.
When you make it to the end of the pier you can buy holiday refreshments for the family from one of the converted kiosks. Cheap hot drinks and snacks are available for you to enjoy while taking in the views.
One of the piers attractions is perhaps how peaceful it is, there are no beeping arcades, no banging dodgems and no shops of old post cards. You park locally for a few pounds, pay a few pence in to an honesty box at the beginning of the pier and your walk begins.
Once on the pier you can walk, sit down or use the traditional telescopes in order to have a better look at the scenery. The metal work of the pier is the same or at least based on the original design and the wooden walkway is the same as the original. You could almost dream yourself as having gone back in time once on the pier, so little of it has changed you are seeing what our ancestors saw whilst taking their holiday vacations by the seaside.
With the piers location it’s possible to view the end of the pier from land at the Anglesey end; this allows a rarely seen view of a pier as most have only water at the end.
Bangor sea front
Minimal entertainment and NO theatre! yet a relaxing peaceful pier to visit.