Southend Pier's popularity is undergoing a revival

Southend Standard: Derek Jarvis at the Royal Pavilion Derek Jarvis at the Royal Pavilion

SOUTHEND’S pier is in the middle of a revival.

The 1.3-mile landmark had one of its busiest years last year and the council believes the new Royal Pavilion has helped boost visitor numbers.

The £3million cultural centre opened on July 19, 2012. Last year the pier had 283,468 visitors – its highest since 2005.

Its most successful month was August last year when 64,493 paid to walk or ride the train along the pier.

Derek Jarvis, Southend councillor responsible for culture and tourism, said: “The Royal Pavilion has been doing well.

“It is a multi-functional building which lends itself to all sorts of things from conferences, weddings, concerts, plays and exhibitions.

“It is a wonderful investment which has more than lived up to expectations.”

The 350sq m building, which was designed by White Arkitekter with London-based architects Sprunt, was constructed off-site at Tilbury Docks.

It was then lowered on to a barge at the docks and transported along the Thames to the Pier in May 2012.

The pavilion was officially named in a ceremony conducted by the Duke of Kent, on July 16, last year.

It can seat 185 people in the main hall and also houses an artists’ studio and cafe with covered terrace.

It hosted eight weddings last year with 12 more booked for this year, and more happy couples booked to view the facilities.

In total the Pavilion hosted 60 events last year these included weddings, conferences, meetings, art/photographic exhibitions, Shakespeare, comedy festival, jazz clubs/concerts, film screenings, private hire, craft fairs, puppet festival, choir concert, fitness events.

For this coming year 49 events have been booked to date.

Its most successful event in terms of visitors was the Only Fools and Horses Exhibition last spring.

People flocked to see the unique exhibition of original props, costumes and memorabilia from the famous television show.

It returns to the pavilion on Good Friday – April 18 – and will be officially opened by John Challis, who playedBoycie in the hit BBC comedy. It runs until May 5.

Mr Jarvis added: “The pavilion is out to sea and unless you actually go there or attend an event you don’t know how good it is. I’d encourage people to go along and see how versatile it is.

“We are delighted it is doing its job and we’re coming into a really busy season too.

“Pier visitor numbers have gone up month-on-month. We want even more people coming on to the pier as they used to do in days gone by.”

Comments (18)

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12:26pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Howard Cháse says...

Bring back The Golden Hind
Bring back The Golden Hind Howard Cháse

1:09pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd says...

So, according to the figures, in August there were over 2000 people on average visiting the pier everyday!
Really????
I for one find that very hard to believe and I doubt I'm the only sceptic here!
So, according to the figures, in August there were over 2000 people on average visiting the pier everyday! Really???? I for one find that very hard to believe and I doubt I'm the only sceptic here! Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd

1:16pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Southchurch Steve says...

Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd wrote:
So, according to the figures, in August there were over 2000 people on average visiting the pier everyday!
Really????
I for one find that very hard to believe and I doubt I'm the only sceptic here!
But your scepticism is based on nothing more than your own pre-conceived ideas, whereas I'm sure the council has some till receipts to back up its figures. So old chap, I'm more inclined to believe them.

The fact is, that if you go on the pier it is actually quite busy. There were plenty walking along it on Saturday for example, and that's in February.
[quote][p][bold]Sir Peter Pantsless the 3rd[/bold] wrote: So, according to the figures, in August there were over 2000 people on average visiting the pier everyday! Really???? I for one find that very hard to believe and I doubt I'm the only sceptic here![/p][/quote]But your scepticism is based on nothing more than your own pre-conceived ideas, whereas I'm sure the council has some till receipts to back up its figures. So old chap, I'm more inclined to believe them. The fact is, that if you go on the pier it is actually quite busy. There were plenty walking along it on Saturday for example, and that's in February. Southchurch Steve

1:22pm Wed 26 Feb 14

pembury53 says...

'royal pavillion' .... at this rate there wont be a structure anywhere, however insignificant, not paying homage to her majesty and ilk...... its basically a prefab dropped on the end of a rusting relic, a bus stop would be a more worthy construction to bear the brand......
'royal pavillion' .... at this rate there wont be a structure anywhere, however insignificant, not paying homage to her majesty and ilk...... its basically a prefab dropped on the end of a rusting relic, a bus stop would be a more worthy construction to bear the brand...... pembury53

2:35pm Wed 26 Feb 14

tezzason1 says...

Howard Cháse wrote:
Bring back The Golden Hind
You just want to see the guy getting his head chopped off by the guillotine and the convict getting electrocuted in the electric chair! I used to love the blue spark on his head and head slumping sideways when he got zapped and I was only 7 years old. Can you imagine the outcry if the same attraction was staged today? Also, what happened to the Golden Hind? When I used Google Earth the other day, there was no street view, Just a crude drawing of a ship with the notation "Pirate Ship" ?
[quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: Bring back The Golden Hind[/p][/quote]You just want to see the guy getting his head chopped off by the guillotine and the convict getting electrocuted in the electric chair! I used to love the blue spark on his head and head slumping sideways when he got zapped and I was only 7 years old. Can you imagine the outcry if the same attraction was staged today? Also, what happened to the Golden Hind? When I used Google Earth the other day, there was no street view, Just a crude drawing of a ship with the notation "Pirate Ship" ? tezzason1

2:43pm Wed 26 Feb 14

DCLEIGH says...

So, only 30-40 years before it pays pack the money spent.
So, only 30-40 years before it pays pack the money spent. DCLEIGH

4:22pm Wed 26 Feb 14

carnmountyouknowitmakessense says...

tezzason1 wrote:
Howard Cháse wrote:
Bring back The Golden Hind
You just want to see the guy getting his head chopped off by the guillotine and the convict getting electrocuted in the electric chair! I used to love the blue spark on his head and head slumping sideways when he got zapped and I was only 7 years old. Can you imagine the outcry if the same attraction was staged today? Also, what happened to the Golden Hind? When I used Google Earth the other day, there was no street view, Just a crude drawing of a ship with the notation "Pirate Ship" ?
Phil Miller had it scrapped, and replaced it with a hideous lookalike.
[quote][p][bold]tezzason1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: Bring back The Golden Hind[/p][/quote]You just want to see the guy getting his head chopped off by the guillotine and the convict getting electrocuted in the electric chair! I used to love the blue spark on his head and head slumping sideways when he got zapped and I was only 7 years old. Can you imagine the outcry if the same attraction was staged today? Also, what happened to the Golden Hind? When I used Google Earth the other day, there was no street view, Just a crude drawing of a ship with the notation "Pirate Ship" ?[/p][/quote]Phil Miller had it scrapped, and replaced it with a hideous lookalike. carnmountyouknowitmakessense

5:23pm Wed 26 Feb 14

jolllyboy says...

Amazing considering it was closed a lot.
Amazing considering it was closed a lot. jolllyboy

5:24pm Wed 26 Feb 14

SARFENDMAN says...

To think a glorified wooden shed is the reason for supposed increase in visitor numbers to the pier is a travesty of the real truths.
The Pavilion is a token gesture to sell the idea that SBC really cares about the piers future. Years of neglect and under investment in Southends best asset is all too apparent for those who are old enough to witness it's steady decline.
The Pavilion is underused except for the odd concert and exhibition.
The Pavilion is one small part of the pier as an attraction but still needs a whole lot more to breathe life into fading icon of the town of yesteryear.
To think a glorified wooden shed is the reason for supposed increase in visitor numbers to the pier is a travesty of the real truths. The Pavilion is a token gesture to sell the idea that SBC really cares about the piers future. Years of neglect and under investment in Southends best asset is all too apparent for those who are old enough to witness it's steady decline. The Pavilion is underused except for the odd concert and exhibition. The Pavilion is one small part of the pier as an attraction but still needs a whole lot more to breathe life into fading icon of the town of yesteryear. SARFENDMAN

5:42pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Thames Gateway says...

Good to see the Pier did well last year.
Personally I would think the increase was due to the extended fine weather last year, the whole town was busier. Time will tell.
Good to see the Pier did well last year. Personally I would think the increase was due to the extended fine weather last year, the whole town was busier. Time will tell. Thames Gateway

6:21pm Wed 26 Feb 14

rhowes says...

Given that this is the longest pleasure pier in the world, these figures are not good. It was far more popular in the fifties. We should lease it to a large company who could make it a real icon. The North Americans would be making millions of Dollars from such a landmark! Trust me.
Given that this is the longest pleasure pier in the world, these figures are not good. It was far more popular in the fifties. We should lease it to a large company who could make it a real icon. The North Americans would be making millions of Dollars from such a landmark! Trust me. rhowes

8:24pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Cliff West says...

Most people were on the pier last year because of the great weather not to visit the royal pavilion as this is closed most of the time. There were 60 events at the pavilion so apart from the big event fools and horses 60 events with 200 people for each is 12000 visitors.
Most people were on the pier last year because of the great weather not to visit the royal pavilion as this is closed most of the time. There were 60 events at the pavilion so apart from the big event fools and horses 60 events with 200 people for each is 12000 visitors. Cliff West

9:21am Thu 27 Feb 14

DCLEIGH says...

This story and hyperbole is the biggest BS I have ever heard.
Claiming the biggest footfall since 2005.
The Pier's destruction in 2005 and it's subsequent opening of a large hut at the end of the pier (giving people a small enough reason for visiting and NO reason for going back) means that the claimed 2,000 per day (Thank you "Lord Pantsless the 3rd" ) is the highest since ......the previous year....possibly.
Really, it was once a nice thing to walk along.....and to arrive at the end to fun, great excitement and things to do (things to do every time you returned).
1980 : "Mum, can we go to the end of the pier and play games?" : OK
2014: "Mum, do we have to go to the visitor's centre again ? : No, let's not.
This story and hyperbole is the biggest BS I have ever heard. Claiming the biggest footfall since 2005. The Pier's destruction in 2005 and it's subsequent opening of a large hut at the end of the pier (giving people a small enough reason for visiting and NO reason for going back) means that the claimed 2,000 per day (Thank you "Lord Pantsless the 3rd" ) is the highest since ......the previous year....possibly. Really, it was once a nice thing to walk along.....and to arrive at the end to fun, great excitement and things to do (things to do every time you returned). 1980 : "Mum, can we go to the end of the pier and play games?" : OK 2014: "Mum, do we have to go to the visitor's centre again ? : No, let's not. DCLEIGH

12:48pm Thu 27 Feb 14

12adam says...

Got to love the moaning on here.

The council do up the beach and golden mile making it significantly nicer and they get moaned at, they install a Pavilion/cafe area at the end of the pier and get moaned at, Philip Miller turns Peter Pans into a really great amusement park area and he get's moaned at, he also takes over the failing Sea Life center and turns it around and now wants to expand it and it gets moaned at, we get a fantastic new library and it gets moaned about, the council do up the high street and they get moaned at, they enclose the windswept bleak Victoria Plaza and it gets moaned about.

I think some of you have rose tinted glasses as to what Southend was like back in the 80/90's. Maybe you should take a trip to Margate, Blackpool, Morcambe or Scarbourgh to see what would have happened if no investment had been made.

Southend has moved on significantly and it's much better for it, I take my daughter down there most weekends and it's always busy so they must be doing something right.
Got to love the moaning on here. The council do up the beach and golden mile making it significantly nicer and they get moaned at, they install a Pavilion/cafe area at the end of the pier and get moaned at, Philip Miller turns Peter Pans into a really great amusement park area and he get's moaned at, he also takes over the failing Sea Life center and turns it around and now wants to expand it and it gets moaned at, we get a fantastic new library and it gets moaned about, the council do up the high street and they get moaned at, they enclose the windswept bleak Victoria Plaza and it gets moaned about. I think some of you have rose tinted glasses as to what Southend was like back in the 80/90's. Maybe you should take a trip to Margate, Blackpool, Morcambe or Scarbourgh to see what would have happened if no investment had been made. Southend has moved on significantly and it's much better for it, I take my daughter down there most weekends and it's always busy so they must be doing something right. 12adam

1:33pm Thu 27 Feb 14

tezzason1 says...

carnmountyouknowitma
kessense
wrote:
tezzason1 wrote:
Howard Cháse wrote:
Bring back The Golden Hind
You just want to see the guy getting his head chopped off by the guillotine and the convict getting electrocuted in the electric chair! I used to love the blue spark on his head and head slumping sideways when he got zapped and I was only 7 years old. Can you imagine the outcry if the same attraction was staged today? Also, what happened to the Golden Hind? When I used Google Earth the other day, there was no street view, Just a crude drawing of a ship with the notation "Pirate Ship" ?
Phil Miller had it scrapped, and replaced it with a hideous lookalike.
Sad. I googled its fate just a few minutes ago actually. Scrapped in 97. And apparently the look-a-like has bitten the dust as well. I used to work through the summer holidays and weekends in the season at the pier head to help finance my studies the Municipal Collage. A guy called Charlie Harvey - a lovable rogue - owned all the amusements ( except one ). With the restaurants and other facilities including day trips to Margate and France, the atmosphere was incredible.People were packed in like sardines.Adults and children were blown away by the illuminations. I was I was the bingo caller at the ripe old age of 16. I has a soft spot for little old ladies and would let them win on occasion. Many of our prizes were hot or had fallen off a truck.
[quote][p][bold]carnmountyouknowitma kessense[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tezzason1[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Howard Cháse[/bold] wrote: Bring back The Golden Hind[/p][/quote]You just want to see the guy getting his head chopped off by the guillotine and the convict getting electrocuted in the electric chair! I used to love the blue spark on his head and head slumping sideways when he got zapped and I was only 7 years old. Can you imagine the outcry if the same attraction was staged today? Also, what happened to the Golden Hind? When I used Google Earth the other day, there was no street view, Just a crude drawing of a ship with the notation "Pirate Ship" ?[/p][/quote]Phil Miller had it scrapped, and replaced it with a hideous lookalike.[/p][/quote]Sad. I googled its fate just a few minutes ago actually. Scrapped in 97. And apparently the look-a-like has bitten the dust as well. I used to work through the summer holidays and weekends in the season at the pier head to help finance my studies the Municipal Collage. A guy called Charlie Harvey - a lovable rogue - owned all the amusements ( except one ). With the restaurants and other facilities including day trips to Margate and France, the atmosphere was incredible.People were packed in like sardines.Adults and children were blown away by the illuminations. I was I was the bingo caller at the ripe old age of 16. I has a soft spot for little old ladies and would let them win on occasion. Many of our prizes were hot or had fallen off a truck. tezzason1

3:07pm Thu 27 Feb 14

RobertFS says...

if it's so good (which i don't disbelieve) perhaps we should see a higher profile and greater publicity in the press and promoted by southend Council
if it's so good (which i don't disbelieve) perhaps we should see a higher profile and greater publicity in the press and promoted by southend Council RobertFS

10:04pm Thu 27 Feb 14

tezzason1 says...

12adam wrote:
Got to love the moaning on here.

The council do up the beach and golden mile making it significantly nicer and they get moaned at, they install a Pavilion/cafe area at the end of the pier and get moaned at, Philip Miller turns Peter Pans into a really great amusement park area and he get's moaned at, he also takes over the failing Sea Life center and turns it around and now wants to expand it and it gets moaned at, we get a fantastic new library and it gets moaned about, the council do up the high street and they get moaned at, they enclose the windswept bleak Victoria Plaza and it gets moaned about.

I think some of you have rose tinted glasses as to what Southend was like back in the 80/90's. Maybe you should take a trip to Margate, Blackpool, Morcambe or Scarbourgh to see what would have happened if no investment had been made.

Southend has moved on significantly and it's much better for it, I take my daughter down there most weekends and it's always busy so they must be doing something right.
Agree 100% . I no longer live in Southend where I grew up, but Google Earth gives an amazing insight into just how Southend evolved from a sometimes seedy 'resort' location for 'day trippers' from London to the vibrant metropolis it is now. You are always going to have people resist change and knock new projects and sometimes progress rides roughshod over memory lane. I would like to see a private entrepreneur take hold of the pier head by the scruff of the neck and give people a reason to flock out to it as they did in droves in yesteryear. The Pier is an icon. Surely there must be government funds ( not local ) that could be accessed as a grant towards private money to do the job. Southend Council could play its part in waiving all development, building application fees, permit fees,inspection fees. The whole box and dice,. Slash red tape so the project is up and running quickly and returning a profit quickly, All annual licence fees for restaurants, amusements etc etc should be waived for 5 years. It would cost council bugger all and save the developer a small
fortune. Put in an upmarket restaurant , a cafe for families that kicks off with breakfast, an old fashioned amusements arcade, including Bingo. And maybe a high powered speed boat that can handle a dozen people for thrill rides ( nothing new here, they used to be jam packed) and people will come.
[quote][p][bold]12adam[/bold] wrote: Got to love the moaning on here. The council do up the beach and golden mile making it significantly nicer and they get moaned at, they install a Pavilion/cafe area at the end of the pier and get moaned at, Philip Miller turns Peter Pans into a really great amusement park area and he get's moaned at, he also takes over the failing Sea Life center and turns it around and now wants to expand it and it gets moaned at, we get a fantastic new library and it gets moaned about, the council do up the high street and they get moaned at, they enclose the windswept bleak Victoria Plaza and it gets moaned about. I think some of you have rose tinted glasses as to what Southend was like back in the 80/90's. Maybe you should take a trip to Margate, Blackpool, Morcambe or Scarbourgh to see what would have happened if no investment had been made. Southend has moved on significantly and it's much better for it, I take my daughter down there most weekends and it's always busy so they must be doing something right.[/p][/quote]Agree 100% . I no longer live in Southend where I grew up, but Google Earth gives an amazing insight into just how Southend evolved from a sometimes seedy 'resort' location for 'day trippers' from London to the vibrant metropolis it is now. You are always going to have people resist change and knock new projects and sometimes progress rides roughshod over memory lane. I would like to see a private entrepreneur take hold of the pier head by the scruff of the neck and give people a reason to flock out to it as they did in droves in yesteryear. The Pier is an icon. Surely there must be government funds ( not local ) that could be accessed as a grant towards private money to do the job. Southend Council could play its part in waiving all development, building application fees, permit fees,inspection fees. The whole box and dice,. Slash red tape so the project is up and running quickly and returning a profit quickly, All annual licence fees for restaurants, amusements etc etc should be waived for 5 years. It would cost council bugger all and save the developer a small fortune. Put in an upmarket restaurant , a cafe for families that kicks off with breakfast, an old fashioned amusements arcade, including Bingo. And maybe a high powered speed boat that can handle a dozen people for thrill rides ( nothing new here, they used to be jam packed) and people will come. tezzason1

10:59pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Joe Clark says...

12adam wrote:
Got to love the moaning on here.

The council do up the beach and golden mile making it significantly nicer and they get moaned at, they install a Pavilion/cafe area at the end of the pier and get moaned at, Philip Miller turns Peter Pans into a really great amusement park area and he get's moaned at, he also takes over the failing Sea Life center and turns it around and now wants to expand it and it gets moaned at, we get a fantastic new library and it gets moaned about, the council do up the high street and they get moaned at, they enclose the windswept bleak Victoria Plaza and it gets moaned about.

I think some of you have rose tinted glasses as to what Southend was like back in the 80/90's. Maybe you should take a trip to Margate, Blackpool, Morcambe or Scarbourgh to see what would have happened if no investment had been made.

Southend has moved on significantly and it's much better for it, I take my daughter down there most weekends and it's always busy so they must be doing something right.
These people that want to live in the past are very shall we say two faced.

They want this back and they want that back, they don't want this they don't want that.

Well perhaps instead of picking and choosing one or two small things go the whole hog and live as it was the 60's or 70's but you know what that means.

Any medical advances AFTER those decade you would not be able to use any more, no big screen TV's, no DVD's, Computers, Nintendos, Playstations, Xbox they are all out, Sky & Virgin TV nope they are out too, overly generous benefits system that's out too, oh yes and as for the internet that too means you must never respond to a story on here ever again!

Nope thought you would not give all these up, just about sums up the moaning mingers.
[quote][p][bold]12adam[/bold] wrote: Got to love the moaning on here. The council do up the beach and golden mile making it significantly nicer and they get moaned at, they install a Pavilion/cafe area at the end of the pier and get moaned at, Philip Miller turns Peter Pans into a really great amusement park area and he get's moaned at, he also takes over the failing Sea Life center and turns it around and now wants to expand it and it gets moaned at, we get a fantastic new library and it gets moaned about, the council do up the high street and they get moaned at, they enclose the windswept bleak Victoria Plaza and it gets moaned about. I think some of you have rose tinted glasses as to what Southend was like back in the 80/90's. Maybe you should take a trip to Margate, Blackpool, Morcambe or Scarbourgh to see what would have happened if no investment had been made. Southend has moved on significantly and it's much better for it, I take my daughter down there most weekends and it's always busy so they must be doing something right.[/p][/quote]These people that want to live in the past are very shall we say two faced. They want this back and they want that back, they don't want this they don't want that. Well perhaps instead of picking and choosing one or two small things go the whole hog and live as it was the 60's or 70's but you know what that means. Any medical advances AFTER those decade you would not be able to use any more, no big screen TV's, no DVD's, Computers, Nintendos, Playstations, Xbox they are all out, Sky & Virgin TV nope they are out too, overly generous benefits system that's out too, oh yes and as for the internet that too means you must never respond to a story on here ever again! Nope thought you would not give all these up, just about sums up the moaning mingers. Joe Clark

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