Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Clarence Pier (Southsea)

Clarence Pier is one of a dwindling number of English seaside piers, a fascinating and much loved institution.

It is situated at Southsea on the South coast, looking across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

This pier is one of two at Southsea, the other being South Parade Pier.

It is a unique pier, being considerably wider than it is long, and therefore not always recognised as being a pier at all. It was built parallel with the shore, rather than projecting out to sea.

Clarence Pier was constructed in 1860-61 and opened by Princess Alexandra, the Princess of Wales. The Landport and Southsea Tramway ran to the pier from Portsmouth to meet the ferries from 1866.

The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, opened the Esplanade Theatre in 1882, and an extension, with shops and a cafe, opened in 1905.

The whole structure was virtually destroyed in 1941, during a Second World War air raid.

In 1953, work started on a new pier. This was opened in 1961, and now features Fun Acres, said to be the largest amusement park on the South coast.

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