Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

South Parade Pier (Southsea)

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

It is situated at Southsea, the major South Coast resort, and points across the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.

There is another pier at Southsea, named Clarence Pier.

The original South Parade Pier was designed by G. Rale of Blackburn and built between 1875 and 1878, with a length of 1950 feet. It was opened by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) in 1879.

A fire in 1904 completely destroyed the pier, but a new pier was designed by G. E. Smith and opened in 1908, with the much shorter length of 600 feet, but incorporating a theatre.

During the Second World War, it was breached and used as a preparation area for the D-Day landings.

A fire severely damaged the theatre in 1967, and it was demolished the next year.

In 1974, it was damaged again by fire during the Pinball Wizard sequence while Ken Russell was filming "Tommy".

But in spite of all these difficulties, South Parade Pier continues to be a very popular attraction.

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