The photo galleries on this website record the history of Worthing Pier from when it opened in 1862 to the present day. The images contained in each section record how the Pier has changed in appearance and the wide range of events it has hosted over the years.
Worthing Youth Council would like to express their thanks to Worthing Library and West Sussex County Council for permitting us to use images from their West Sussex Past Pictures collections on this website.
To view the West Sussex County Council’s portal to archive, library and museum online heritage services, including resources for schools, and search facilities for the county visit the West Sussex Past Pictures Collection website
Click on the Gallery Title to display each photo set.
The first pile was driven into the seabed on 4 July 1861. Designed by Sir Robert Rawlinson, the Pier was officially opened on 12 April 1862. Two kiosks were added on the landward end of the Pier in 1884 to house the tollhouse and a souvenir shop. By 1889 a pavilion had been erected at the southern end of the Pier. The landing stage was also at the southern end. It was very important to the success of the Pier as Paddle Steamers regularly moored there.
From the turn of the 20th Century until the start of the First World War the Pier visitors flocked to the Pier during the summer months. However, in 1913 disaster struck when a large section of the decking was destroyed in the Easter storms that year. So substantial was the damage that the Pier did not reopen until the following year.
Worthing Borough Council purchased the Pier on 23 March 1921 for the sum of £18,978. 15s. Visitors to the Pier were charged 2d (one new penny) which included admission to hear an orchestra play in the South Pavilion. Five years later the Council demolished the kiosks and replaced them with a new pavilion to seat 1,000 people. Disaster gain struck the Pier on the 10th September 1933 when a fire destroyed the Southern Pavilion. Following the fire the pier was rebuilt with a new art deco southern pavilion.
During World War II part of the promenade was removed to prevent German forces landing. After the war the Council successfully applied for Government funding to repair the promenade. The Pier reopened in 1949 and holiday makers throughout the 1950’s flocked to stroll along the pier, visit the amusements and relax in the pavilion sun lounge.
To attract visitors and holidaymakers to the town at the start of the 1960’s many old buildings along the seafront were demolished. However, a bigger challenge was tackling the problem of removing the large amounts of seaweed deposited on the beach every year by the spring and summer tides.
In the early 1970’s work was undertaken to repair and replace rotting timbers and eroding iron girders. Yet despite these efforts by 1976 the pier was in such a state that the Borough Engineer advised closing the attraction after Christmas if sufficient funds were not found to complete the required repair work. Thankfully in time funds were found to restore the Pier to enable The Regatta and other summer events to continue as before.
Holiday makers and visitors continued during the decade to flock to the town often to watch top entertainers including Val Doonican and Jimmy Tarbuck performing at The Pier Pavilion. To remove the increasing number of flies found on the beach scientists sprayed insecticides on the rotting seaweed to control the problem.
Today The Pier still continues to bring enjoyment to visitors and residents. The Pavilion Theatre sits at the northern end and the southern end pavilion has recently been totally renovated and returned to its former glory as a cafe & hire venue. Notable annual events held on the Pier in the summer that attract large crowds include The International Birdman and Fireworks Festival.
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Do you own any photographs, postcards or drawings of the pier? If the answer is “yes” and you would like to display and share these with others on this website please contact:
E-mail: Shirley.firstname.lastname@example.org or post a message on our contact page.