Clevedon Pier, Somerset

What’s So Special About this Place?

Clevedon Pier is the only intact Grade I listed Pier in the UK. It is located at the northern end of Clevedon seafront, overlooking the Bristol Channel, and offers a glimpse of Victorian elegance. It is open 364 days of the year and is also the stopping-off point for up to 4,000 passengers annually from paddle steamer and boat trips. It was built in 1869 using discarded rails from Brunel’s broad-gauge South Wales Railway, and cost £10,000 to construct.

Why Was The Building Under Threat?

The Pier has a chequered history and was almost lost due to the spiralling costs of its upkeep and lack of maintenance that resulted in a partial collapse in October 1970 during a Local Authority biannual load test. More recently (2012) it was acknowledged that further income-generating activities were necessary to secure the long-term future of the pier.

How Was It Saved?

The Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust was established in 1980, following a Public Inquiry, during which John Betjeman gave evidence about the significance of the Pier. The Trust acquired the Pier on a long lease and undertook a major rebuilding and refurbishment scheme. The Pier was reopened in 1989 with the final restoration of the Pier Head being completed in 1998.

By 2012 the Trust recognised that the Pier’s appeal to visitors and the local community needed to be enhanced in order to sustain it in the long term, and they formulated a plan to generate further appropriate income-generating opportunities. This project was completed in 2016. The project was nominated for a Historic England ‘Angels’ award, and won the prestigious People’s Vote in October 2016.

Quote: ‘Although appropriate professionals contributed throughout, the Trust provided the forethought, energy and perseverance to deliver the scheme’. (Historic England website, Angels Award nomination)

How Is The Building Used Now?

The Pier and the new building at the Pier Head hosts a wide range of visitor facilities. It now offers wider accessibility to all, with hands-on visitor exhibits on Clevedon and its surroundings, a community archive with links to local schools, a restaurant and shop, a venue for parties, weddings, meetings and events and, it claims, ‘the best fishing for miles around’.

Project: Clevedon Pier, Clevedon, Somerset

Client: Clevedon Pier and Heritage Trust

Grade I Listed Building

New Use: A new building incorporated into the pier’s access ramp hosts a wide range of visitor facilities, including a community archive, restaurant and retail shop, together with a venue hire offer. The pier also claims, ‘the best fishing for miles around’.

Find out more at

Professional Team
Architect and Project Manager O’Leary Goss Architects
Cost Consultant Trevor Humphreys Associates
Structural Engineer BDP
Building Services Engineer Houghton Greenlees & Associates
Contractor Beard

Other Project Funders
Heritage Lottery Fund £720,000
Coastal Communities Fund £825,000
J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust £75,000
Garfield Weston Foundation £50,000
Charles Hayward Foundation £15,000
North Somerset Council (S106) funding £50,000
Clevedon Town Council £35,000
The Hawthorns Retirement, Clevedon £15,000
Donations/ fundraising £30,110
Non-AHF community shares £250,000


How Did The AHF Help?

The AHF have been involved with Clevedon Pier since the establishment of the Trust in 1980. We provided a loan to help with the initial major rebuilding and refurbishment scheme, and in 2012 provided a further loan to provide working-capital finance for the new project.

Clevedon Pier provides an inspiring case study for community engagement and support providing a clear impact on a successful project outcome. The community has supported the venture strongly by contributing £250,000 from around 1,100 investors toward the Community Share issue, and in March 2016, the AHF was also able to purchase a further £80,000 worth of shares to further assist the project finances. 

All Images on this page (c) Craig Auckland / fotohaus.