Birnbeck Pier on the Bristol Channel in Weston-super-Mare, England
© Stephen Davies/Adobe Stoc
End of the pier?
This peaceful but derelict pier, on England’s southwest coast, was a hub of activity back in its heyday. Designed by the famous pier builder Eugenius Birch, Birnbeck Pier – sometimes called the Old Pier – opened in Weston-super-Mare in 1867. Victorian day-trippers would arrive on steamships to enjoy fairground rides, a travelling cinema and a skating rink. Welsh visitors would turn up to buy a drink in the pier’s bars on a Sunday, a day when the sale of alcohol was banned over the border. You can still see the old lifeboat house and slipway on Birnbeck Island, a reminder of its history as a base for the RNLI. The Bristol Channel has the second-highest tidal range in the world and the island offered a good launching point for its lifeboats, which might otherwise have been cut off by mudflats at lower tides.