£3.55m to save Weston-super-Mare heritage pier from total collapse


Birnbeck Pier on the coast of Weston-super-Mare is to be saved from collapse with multi-million pound funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The pier closed in 1994 and was placed on the endangered heritage register in 1999.

First opened in 1867, the pier played a role in World War II as a weapons testing site and later enabled the RNLI to set up a lifeboat station on Birnbeck Island in 1882.

The RNLI was forced to leave its island station at the end of the pier in 2014 as the pier became too dangerous to cross on foot.

The deterioration, accelerated by resource depletion during the pandemic, had left the Grade II* listed pier in grave danger of collapsing into the sea.

Now, following £3.55 million in funding from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF), North Somerset Council and the RNLI, the pier’s fortunes could be reversed.

The marquee will be used to stabilize the legs of the pier, and its walkway needs to be restored. Once completed, it will once again provide access to the island of Birnbeck.

North Somerset Council plans to regenerate the island for the benefit of the community following restoration, and the RNLI will then pursue its ambition to re-establish a lifeboat facility there.

The funding is part of a £20m government support pot, which will be used for repairs and restoration, new maintenance and utility systems, surveys and surveys, collections preservation and the activity planning.

It comes from the Government’s Cultural Assets Fund, which NHMF distributed as part of its wider £40million COVID-19 Response Fund. Total funding for a total of eleven projects is just over £21 million, which includes a top-up from NHMF’s own funds.

Funding for England from the COVID-19 Response Fund has now all been awarded. However, grants are being awarded to significant heritage in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland until the end of March 2023.

Two ships from the National Historic Fleet – Steamship Shieldhall in Southampton and Vigilance in Brixham – will undergo critical repairs so they can continue to sail, while the North East-based tank engine ‘Joem’ – the last locomotive of its class – will have its boiler overhauled.

Urgent conservation work will be undertaken at eight Grade I and II* listed chapels across England, all listed as endangered heritage, before Historic Chapels Trust finds them suitable long-term owners.

A certain number of listed monuments should benefit from it. Torre Abbey in Devon will undergo emergency repairs, and structural surveys and investigations will be undertaken at Hurst Castle in Hampshire. Five listed monuments in Ironbridge in Shropshire – the “cradle of the industrial revolution” – will be saved alongside 30 other listed buildings.

Urgent conservation will take place at the Grade I listed Gunpowder Incorporating Mill ‘L157’ at Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Mills, and the Paradise Mill, Macclesfield Museum’s former Sunday School and Silk Museum will be repaired and upgraded so that they can take better care of the collections.

Finally, the Type Archive Collections Project will begin work to move and safeguard two collections of national significance.

Dr Simon Thurley CBE, Chairman of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, said: ‘I am delighted to announce our funding for the future of Birnbeck Pier, which will support the RNLI and North Somerset Council in their mission to bring this heritage site back. Extremely important. beneficial use.

“We are extremely proud to have administered £20m of government funding for some of England’s incredible heritage sites and assets – from historic ships and locomotives to castles and chapels – helping them to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic. .”


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