Clacton Pier (The history)

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Postby Chief Engineer » 16 May 2010, 22:16

Hello every one,

Sorry it has been a while since I last posted, this last couple of months have been a very hectic time for me, but I promise there is some more great content on its way in both the Clacton Pier threads.

Hi Fatboy, you certainly know what is going on, yes the Ghost Train is coming out of the Old Blue Lagoon building, it is going into storage for a short time while other projects get underway. It is not been finally decided if bowling lanes are going to fill some of the empty space. The main aim of the redesign of the building is to allow the arcade in the old Ocean theatre to be joined onto the building to create a more modern 'Family Entertainment Centre' in one building and opening up a new entrance to the front of the Pier.

Yes for all you raver's that remember Oscars , it seemed to much of a shame to not let the empty building host just one more all-nighter before the original Blue Lagoon dance floor is removed. A few bits of Oscars still remain hidden away above the Ghost Train, so for one night only in the main dance area, Oscars is returning .

CE
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Postby FATBOY » 17 May 2010, 14:50

excellent!!!! cant wait.... good if you could get some pics on the progress mate :0) 8)
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Postby Chief Engineer » 17 May 2010, 22:28

I had the great pleasure today of meeting Peter Kingsman, Grandson to Ernest Kingsman, and I certainly enjoyed hearing all Peter's memories as we took a walk around the Pier, 20years since his last visit. Peter could recall a lot of the decorations, features of the dance hall, theatres and various attractions that he grew up with before Barney Kingsman sold the Pier in 1971and the family moved on.

Peter kindly brought along a few photographs which I will be posting up over the next few weeks with of course as much information that I can add.

The first picture features the 'Pier Pavilion' under construction c1982, it is of course better known as the 'Jolly Roger' now. The construction of the building uses mainly hot rivets as the main fixings and must have called for some strong armed men on the riveting hammers.

Another picture as rare as the Pavilion is a view of the Ocean Theatre stage, I am guessing that the stage has been set for the 'Ocean Theatre Orchestera' which was under the direction of Maurice Dixon for many years. The stage was removed when the theatre closed and the building had a change of use.

CE

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Postby troy » 20 May 2010, 12:21

Shouldn't that be c1882 ? although other sites say it was later than that ?
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Postby FATBOY » 20 May 2010, 21:52

i think one of my friends might know peter????
Last edited by FATBOY on 02 Jun 2010, 12:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Chief Engineer » 22 May 2010, 15:21

Opps! Glad someone is checking my dates, yes 1882 should have been the year of construction.

CE
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Postby Chief Engineer » 22 May 2010, 15:24

The Kingsman family were very keen supporters and benefactors to local organisations and clubs. The formation of the St John’s Ambulance Clacton-on-Sea branch in February 1926 saw the loan of an ambulance to the division from the Clacton Pier Company. The use of the ambulance was free to take casualties to the local hospital but a charge of 30s would be required if the casualty was required to go to Colchester Hospital.
I am not sure if the first picture from the set of three below that show some of the St. Johns ambulances stationed at the front of the Pier is in fact the ambulance from 1926.
The First Aid Kiosk on the car park appeared around 1950, a set of plans for the kiosk, drawn up by Clacton Urban District Council dated 1950 show the kiosk in it’s location on the Pier car park in the last picture, but I am not sure who provided kiosk.
CE

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Postby Chief Engineer » 21 Jun 2010, 22:17

Time to reflect back on one of the Pier's most iconic rides, 'Steel Stella'. I can certainly remember my first ride on her like it was yesterday and even back then I marvelled at its impressive size and construction . A forerunner in coaster design, the web of interconnecting steel tubes is what gave her that impressive look and allowed such a large roller coaster to fit on to what was quite a small footprint.

Attached is a selection of pictures starting from the first day of construction 19/4/37 with the erection of the first steel poles up to the moment E. Kingsman and L. Tomlinson took the first ride. One of the most interesting pictures is the forming of one of the curved sections of timber track using the wooden Pier deck to make a former to bend the wooden slats.

A little footnote to the source of steel scaffolding , it is possible that following the coronation of King George VI the steel scaffolding used to construct the extra stand seating at the Coronation was brought after being dismantled for the construction of the Steel Stella.

Thanks again to Peter Kingsman for sharing the photographs.

CE


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Postby Gary » 23 Jun 2010, 06:47

Magnificent images there CE.

Many Thanks for your continued input!

Great work! :D

Gary
Please pass through the turnstiles if you are riding again.
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Brilliant Photos

Postby DolphinBoy » 23 Jun 2010, 21:29

WOW!!! what a fantastic set of photos, great step by step archive of the Steel Stella!
Absolute gem!! :D
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Postby furie » 24 Jun 2010, 10:20

Love the Steel Stellar photos. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

For a ride nobody seemed to have any pictures of just 12 month's ago, this is tremendous :)

Well, the ride is actually pretty ugly, but the photos are tremendous, and the ride was certainly something special.
Furie and the lop-eared lagomorphs of Lucifer
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Postby FATBOY » 24 Jun 2010, 21:48

went to the oscars reopening the other night for the one off party!!! what is going to happen now? was it going to be turned into a bowling alley??? or is it going to remain as a club still???
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Postby Chief Engineer » 24 Jun 2010, 23:03

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the great comments regarding the old 'Stella' pictures, I am sure you can imagine I was just as excited when I opened the album, I still have a few more to post up from the pictorial history of its construction. Thankfully Ernest Kingsman was very keen on photography and I am very lucky to be able to share with you some of his photographs that passed down the Kingsman family.

Here are a few photographs that Peter Kingsman had included of the Steel Stella after the devastating fire that sealed its fate in 1973 , but of course this was when the Pier was in the hands of the Goss family.

Looking at the pictures it would appear they were taken after the ride had started to be dismantled , the main entrance building has gone along with some of the upper track at the opposite end to the fire in the chain lift and there appears to be a worker in a red hard hat on the upper tracks in one of the shots. Looking at the 'Caterpillar' ride stripped down in the foreground I would asume the pictures were taken out of season.

CE

Hi Fatboy, hope you enjoyed yourself, I managed to spend a bit of time on the bridge watching the two dancers close up. As long as you keep this to yourself , there is possibly going to be another night in the old Oscars, but it is going to be aimed at the crowd that originally enjoyed Oscars when it first opened.
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Postby Chief Engineer » 28 Jun 2010, 23:22

Time to take a trip back to when the Pier actually brought its own tourists to Clacton. One of the many ships that used to run the route from London to Clacton was the Laguna Belle. Built in 1896 and originally named the Southend Belle she was acquired in 1929 along with other assets by E. Kingsman who under took a full overhaul and refurbishment before her return to the water, of course the renaming was required as she no longer stopped at Southend, making sure Clacton got a full load of London tourists every trip.

The pictures of her at the London moorings were taken on 3/6/33 the first trip of the season and with the Pier having undergone a lot of refurbishment its self with the new 'Blue Lagoon' dance hall and the swimming pool the passengers had a lot to look forward to. The pictures of her docking are from 15/6/1929 around the time when she was acquired by the 'Clacton Pier Company'

My thanks again go to Peter Kingsman for making the pictures available.

CE
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Last edited by Chief Engineer on 02 Jul 2010, 00:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Chief Engineer » 30 Jun 2010, 22:29

A few more pictures showing how busy the end of the Pier was and which at one time was a hub of European travel, even I find it hard to believe how busy the Pier's berthing arm was. Today we only get a few visits from the Balmoral and the paddle steamer Waverley during the season, but what a sight it must have been with up to five ships tied up either side and along the length of the berthing arm.

The ships in the pictures are the Crested Eagle, Golden Eagle, Queen of the Channel and the Gay Commodore.

CE
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