Salsa on the Pier

The Grand Pier

The Grand Pier is found in Weston Super Mare, North Somerset, on the Bristol Channel.

The pier has been damaged by fire on two occasions in 1930 and 2008.

Following the latest fire, which destroyed the pavilion, the pier was rebuilt at a cost of £39 million and reopened on 23 October 2010.

The original pier was built on 7 November 1903 and opened on 11 June 1904. Originally at the end of the pier was a  theatre which was used as a music hall and for opera, stage plays and ballet. On 16 May 1907 an extension of the pier measuring 500 yards was opened so that it could be used as a docking point for boats from Cardiff. Unfortunately dangerous currents in the bay made this too difficult, and the extension was demolished.

The original Theatre at the pier's end was destroyed by fire in January 1930. Due to the fire and a case of being under insured the pier was put up for sale and bought by Leonard Guy, who opened a new pavilion three years later. The new pavilion was used to house a funfair rather than a theatre.

In 1946 the pier was sold again to Mr. A Brenner, who added to the pier's facilities, with new shops and an amusement arcade in the early 1970s. As a result of the additional investment, the pier became a Grade II listed building in 1974. One scene from the film "The remains of the Day" was filmed on the pier in 1992. 

Brenner's ownership of the pier continued until February 2008, when it was sold to brother and sister Kerry and Michelle Michael. The pier immediately underwent a multi-million-pound revamp, which included a new branding scheme. £1 million was spent installing a new go-kart track, a fully licenced bar, and a climbing wall into the pavilion. However in July 2008, a fire at the bottom of the north tower. It was not until much later in the morning that the Avon Fire and Rescue Service was notified unfortunately the building was soon destroyed.

Work began dismantling the wreckage on 12 September 2008, and the Bristol architects Angus Meek won the contract to design the new pavilion in October 2008. North Somerset Council approved the plans, which also included a rotating observation tower. The pier reopened on 23 October 2010.