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St Annes Pier

A Victorian Marvel in Lancashire

St Annes Pier, a well-known Victorian-era pleasure pier, majestically adorns the English seaside resort of St Annes-on-the-Sea in the picturesque county of Lancashire.


This historic pier, with its elaborate design, rich history, and scenic location, has been an attraction spot for visitors since its inauguration in the late 19th century.


This article takes an in-depth look into the making, transformation, and attractions of this iconic pier.

1. Historical Background


St Annes-on-the-Sea, a beautifully planned seaside resort on the Fylde coast, came into existence during the 19th century. It was predominantly developed by the St Anne's Land & Building Company, which leased land from the local Clifton family's estate.


Pleasure piers became a common feature of English seaside resorts towards the end of the 19th century, and the St Anne's Land & Building Company had the foresight to include a pier in their plans for the town.

2. Commissioning and Construction


The construction of the pier started in the 1880s following a brief delay due to an economic downturn. The pier, an architectural marvel designed by Alfred Dowson, consists of cast iron columns and lattice girders with wooden decking.


It also exhibits intricate decorative ironwork on the deck. The initial structure was 914 feet long and 19 feet wide and included a band kiosk made of glass and iron. It took over five years and £18,000 to complete the construction.

Historical Background
St Annes pier Lancashire

3. The Pier's Development Over the Years


The pier started as a quaint promenading venue with an emphasis on creating a serene atmosphere for visitors. However, attractions were added over time, transforming it into a lively spot.


A Tudor-style entrance was added to the pier in 1899. Subsequent additions in the early 20th century included a Moorish-style pavilion in 1904 and the Floral Hall in 1910.

4. Attractions at the Pier


The pier's Floral Hall hosted concerts and music hall acts. Artists of the caliber of Gracie Fields, Leslie Henson, Russ Conway, and George Formby have performed here.


In 1954, an amusement arcade was added to the pier, occupying three-quarters of the structure's length. The pier's amusements also included crazy golf, a miniature zoo, and live theatre performances back in the day.

St Annes Pier Amusements

5. Architectural Highlights and Changes


Despite multiple transformations over the years, the Victorian architecture of St Annes Pier has remained a significant attraction that can be looked to from St Annes Square.


The pier was built in cast iron with a wooden deck and included shelters and pavilions in cast iron, glass, and wood. A noteworthy addition was the Tudor-style entrance, built in 1899, which added an old-world charm to the structure.

6. Challenges and Preservation


St Annes Pier has witnessed its fair share of challenges and adversities. It survived two major fires in 1974 and 1982 that resulted in significant damage.


The pier was originally 914 feet long. However, due to safety concerns after the second fire, half of the pier was demolished, reducing its length to 600 feet.

7. Recognition and Heritage Status


St Annes Pier's architectural and historical significance was recognized by English Heritage, which designated it a Grade II listed building on 21 September 1973.


It is part of a group of promenade structures that includes a bandstand, a lifeboat monument, a pavilion, and two shelters.

Challenges in the past
St Annes Pier

8. Recent Improvements and Revival Efforts


In recent years, there have been concerted efforts to restore and improve the pier.


In December 2018, St Annes Pier won a £50,000 share of the Coastal Revival Fund, which supports the restoration of historic buildings and coastal assets.

9. Contemporary Features and Facilities


Today, the pier houses an amusement arcade, 2 cafes, and shops, making it an exciting spot for visitors. The open-air end of the pier offers stunning views of the vast beach and coast.


The vicinity of the pier is also well-equipped with amenities like North Prom St. Annes public toilets, car parks, cafes, and ice cream kiosks, making it an ideal spot for a leisurely day out. Plus the beach huts further down the promenade.

St Annes Pier Ice Creams

10. St Annes Pier: A Testament to Time and Resilience


St Annes Pier serves as a testament to the Victorian era's architectural grandeur and the resilience of the people of Lancashire. Just down the road is Blackpool and in the other direction Ansdell and Lytham.


Despite the challenges it faced, the pier stands tall today, offering visitors a unique blend of history, architecture, and leisure. Whether you're a history enthusiast, architecture admirer, or casual visitor, the St Annes Pier promises a unique and enriching experience.

So the next time you're in Lancashire, make sure to visit the St Annes Pier. Check out the St. Anne's pier opening times, grab a coffee or breakfast (we love) at the St. Anne's Pier cafe, and immerse yourself in the rich history and scenic beauty of this iconic landmark.

St Annes Pier from end of pier
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