Weston-super-Mare is famous for its pier… in fact it has two, Birnbeck or the Old Pier, now a disintegrating wreck, and the Grand Pier. Birnbeck used to be a popular and lovely pier, a Grade II listed building erected in 1867 but closed since 1994 and now in a parlous state, derelict and a disgrace.
However this is about the new or Grand Pier, built in 1903. It has always been a major tourist attraction and we usually take our visitors there.
Our friends from The Netherlands always enjoy visiting us, and we enjoy visiting them and early on the morning of 28th of July, 2008, our family were getting ready to drive to Bristol Airport and catch a plane. I went to the paper-shop in our village and as I got there a neighbour came out and said “The Pier’s on fire!” And so it was! We could see the smoke billowing above the trees which separate our village from Weston.
We had time to jump in the car and drive down the sea front and lo and behold, there was the pier, and it was certainly on fire!
We were delighted to arrive in the Netherlands with our friends, and the first thing they said was “Your pier is on fire, we’ve been watching it on tv!”