So have no doubt I am fascinated with St Leonards 950ft long pier, and my artwork will evoke the sounds & major changes / life stages during its existence : storms, music, debacles & changes. Here is a map focusing on St Leonards sea front made in 1899, the full map version shows both Hastings Pier & St Leonards Pier. Goat Ledge has recently in 2018 re-appeared as seafront cafe with a large plaice on the roof, featuring an eatery, bar and often with live music, taking its name from this historical period.
The concept of this pier was first documented in 1872 by local business man Richard Reed (leaseholder & manager of The Royal Victoria Hotel), and he co-formed The St Leonards on Sea Pier company. Sadly his vision was neither well received nor his capital and visionary input rewarded. Reading about the initial planning of this pier, I can only hope he did not die penniless in a poor boarding house in London as I have read.
Of course changes are not always welcome, places are attractive for their lack of hustle bustle and drinking places, so initially this change was not supported by investors and local businesses who would appreciate an increase in the economy.
This video shows a short fly-though my new bespoke 3D model, made in SketchUp 3D copying every detail, structure, substructure and kiosk from 1910 era of the pier made by local design company Cooper8. It will be optimised for smartphones to run fast and efficiently as one of the Apparitions.
This drawing from 1888 is promotional advertising the boats and steamers, music venue and bandstand. Work began in the same year constructing the pier, I think for approximately £30,000 not including the Pavilion. In 1891 on 28th October this pier opened to the public, greeted by Lord & Lady Brassey, with music played by the pipers of The Gordons Boys Home. However, a common ailment in this lifespan – strong gales prevented the seaward end from opening at the same time.
This advert from 1898 for theatre and music
Here we can see ‘Pierots’ form of music and entertainments, I will list other music over the years here soon.
A re-brand and its now the American Palace Pier, a ‘rinkeries’ company
Skating on the wooden floor was always popular activity, as was angling outside.
Here is a wonderful collection of aerial photos of St Leonards Pier
Originally, there was a landing stage at the seaward end, but only for occasional steamer traffic. When it was destroyed by rough seas, it was not replaced.
The pavilion, designed by F.H.Humphries, seated 600-700 and offered a variety of entertainment. However, the departure of the orchestra in 1920 affected business and the pier went into decline until it was bought by the Lannon Brothers from London. They introduced a number of (sometimes controversial) changes.
In the 1930s, the entrance was remodelled in Art Deco style.
The pier was closed and sectioned during World War Two for defence purposes. It suffered bomb damage in October 1940 and was also damaged by fire.
The pier remained closed after the war and suffered severe gale damage on 13th March 1951. Hastings Corporation demolished the remains later that year.