Worthing Pier

(Click on the image for a large view)

Worthing Pier, winner of the 2019 Pier of the Year Award, provides an iconic focus for the town.

Built in 1862 the pier has had a chequered history but remains at the heart of Worthing life. The first pile was driven on 4th July 1861, and the pier opened on April 12th 1862. The decking was widened in 1888/9 and a 650 foot ‘Southern’ pavilion was built at the pier-head. Two entrance kiosks were also added. Steamers could only call at high tide but proposals in 1900 to extend the pier were abandoned because the water would only be 6 foot deeper if the pier’s length was doubled. On Easter Monday 1913, the pier-head Southern Pavilion was isolated when the decking collapsed and the Southern Pavilion was destroyed by fire on 10th September 1933!

Steamer services were suspended in 1939 and the pier was sectioned in 1940 as a defence measure. By 1942, the shoreward end pavilion was a troop recreation centre. It re-opened in June 1946, but a shortage of steel meant that the rest of the pier remained closed until April 1949. Steamer services restarted shortly afterwards and PS Waverley and MV Balmoral still call regularly. Between March 1979 and April 1982 the shoreward end pavilion was re-developed as an entertainment centre and housed pop and classical concerts. A nightclub was opened in the Southern Pavilion at the seaward end in 2007. It was later closed because of violence and under-age drinking.

More recently Worthing Pier has been the home of the annual International Birdman competition, which moved to the pier after it could no longer safely be held on the pier at Bognor Regis. An estimated 20,000 people watched the ‘Birdman event’ over the two days. The competition was however temporarily delayed by strong winds on the first day!