Page last updated at 09:21 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 10:21 UK

100 years of entertainment at Weston

The pier captured in 1936
The Grade II listed pier in 1936

This is the second time the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare has burnt down.

In 1930 fire ravaged the building and it did not reopen until 1933.

The idea for a pier was first mooted in the late 1800s but a number of schemes fell through.

In 1893 an Act of Parliament was passed and the scheme was approved.

Work eventually started in November 1903, with 200,000 given by local and south Wales shareholders to help build the structure.

When it opened in 1904, it measured more than 1,000ft long and boasted a 2,000-seat Theatre Pavilion, which hosted concerts, ballet performances, opera and boxing matches.

TEN LONGEST PIERS
Map of 10 longest piers
1. Southend-on-Sea, Essex 7,080ft/2,158m
2. Southport, Lancs 3,633 ft/1,107m
3. Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex 2,600ft/792m
4. Ryde, IoW 2,305ft/703m
5. Llandudno, Gwynedd 2,295ft/700m
6. Ramsey, IoM 2,241ft/683m
7. Hythe, Hants 2,100ft/640m 8. Brighton Palace, E Sussex 1,760ft/536m
9. Bangor Garth, Gwynedd 1,550ft/472m
10. Weston-super-Mare (Birnbeck pier), N Somerset 1,350ft/412m

After the 1930 blaze, the remains were bought by Leonard Guy.

Three years later, the buildings had been replaced by a large funfair.

The pier changed hands in 1946 when it was bought by a Mr A Brenner.

Shops and amusements were added to the entrance area in 1970 and it was Grade II listed in 1974.

In 1993 a new bowling alley was built, with a two-storey fun-house and Ferris wheel added.

It underwent a massive revamp in April this year after being sold in a multi-million pound deal to brother and sister Michelle and Kerry Michael.

A new 500,000 indoor go-kart track had just opened, with the addition of a climbing wall.

The pier, which has only changed hands three times in its 104-year history, costs 500,000 a year to maintain and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The Red Arrows had been due to fly over it in an airshow next month.

Weston-super-Mare also has the derelict Birnbeck Pier, which a Manchester-based company had promised to restore.




SEE ALSO
Huge fire destroys historic pier
28 Jul 08 |  Somerset
Seaside town's main pier is sold
07 Feb 08 |  Somerset
Fireworks mark pier's centenary
28 Aug 04 |  Somerset

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