Site of Rhyl Pier

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Site of Rhyl Pier

Rhyl’s Victoria Pier stood near this spot. It was built in 1867 – the first pier in North Wales – and became a great tourist asset to Rhyl. Steamers provided excursions to other Welsh resorts and brought holidaymakers from Liverpool. Over the years the pier suffered from fire, storms and collisions, and was eventually dismantled in spring 1973.

Photo of Rhyl promenade and pierDesigned by James Brunless and built by Messrs Laidlaw of Glasgow, it cost £15,000. This was a big project for Rhyl, whose population at the time was only 5,000. It was 718m (2,355ft) long by 4.9m (16ft) wide, and stood 3.35m (11ft) above high tide level. Shops were built on it, refreshment rooms and a bandstand were provided. There was also entertainment at the Pier Pavilion and the Bijou Pavilion.

At Christmas time in 1883 a ship called The Lady Stewart crashed broadside into the pier during a gale, carrying away 36-46m (120-150ft) of the structure. Then, in 1884, a Norwegian steamer called St Olaf also collided with the pier during a storm.

In 1901 The Grand Pavilion which stood at the pier’s entrance was destroyed by fire, and part of the structure was closed. Storms in 1909 caused further damage, and by 1913 it was declared unsafe and put up for sale. No bids emerged, and eventually Rhyl Urban District Council stepped in and bought it for £1,000.

The pier re-opened in 1930, but in April 1965 the council decided to demolish the neglected structure. Closed to the public, it stood for another eight years before it was eventually taken down.

With thanks to Ruth Pritchard, of Rhyl History Club

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