Image - Memories of Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier from the 1970s. Courtesy North Somerset Museum
Weston-super-Mare is living up to its motto, Ever Forward, in the wake of the fire that destroyed the pavilion building on the town's Grade II listed Grand Pier on July 28 2008.
The flames may have reduced the once proud pier pavilion to nothing but a shell, but already the pier's land-side has re-opened to the public and Weston's Mayor, Councillor Andrew Horler, has raised hopes that the entire structure will be rebuilt.
"I'm sure that it won't be long before we are celebrating a new pavilion," said Cllr Horler. "Although we have lost an iconic building, I am sure that something even more spectacular will rise from the ashes."
Reflecting on the day last month when the town awoke to news of the fire, Cllr Horler added: "The sudden loss of the pavilion building on the Grand Pier was a shock to us all; not just in Weston but many people around the world. The speed with which the fire spread and the devastation of this beautiful historic building has been hard for us all to comprehend."
Image - Treasured holiday moments in Weston-super-Mare from the 1950s. Courtesy North Somerset Museum
While waiting to hear how plans to rebuild might work, Nick Goff, Museum Manager for North Somerset Museum is considering proposals from the pier’s owners to include pillars and other parts of the destroyed structure in an exhibition. Currently, the museum in Burlington Street, Weston, houses many items from seaside history.
Speaking to the Weston & Somerset Mercury, Nick, who manages the museum in Burlington Street, Weston-super-Mare, said: “The museum’s job is to tell the story of North Somerset, including all its history and obviously the fire is going to be a major part of that story.”
History repeats itself. An aerial shot of the Grand Pier prior to the rebuilding of its original pavilion after fire destroyed it in the 1930s. Courtesy North Sommerset Museum
Nothing has been formally arranged, but one of the pier's owners Michelle Michael, has suggested that some of the pier's older pieces, such as slot machines that were stored in a warehouse and therefore saved from the fire, could also be displayed.
In the meantime, Mayor Horler has urged people to keep coming to the town, despite the loss of one of its most famous attractions: “I invite everyone to come and support us and create new memories of this great town by the sea,” he said.
This is the second time the pavilion on Weston's Grand Pier has been destoryed by fire. The original pavilion burnt down in the 1930s. Fire investigation work continues into the cause of this year's early-morning blaze in the pier’s newly-refurbished 1930s pavilion building.