Clacton Pier (The history)

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Clacton Pier (The history)

Postby Chief Engineer » 02 Sep 2009, 15:54

I have been posting up some pictures and articles in the section “Clacton Pier During the 70s and 80s” which for myself was a fantastic time as it spanned my teenage years. Having lived in Clacton most of my life, there were many times when the Pier featured in those years of growing up so I have many fond memories, in fact I enjoyed myself so much I ended up working there.

Of course the Pier has entertained millions of people over the years and should have a vast history of all that has happened over those years written in a book, but alas the history is very fragmented and although there is some documentation it is very sparse.

The internet has certainly helped bring to the surface some interesting facts that would otherwise be forgotten. I am hoping that this new topic will encompass the whole history of the Pier and what went on over al those years, so all contributions will be very welcome, even if its just only memories that you can recall.

To start at the beginning here is an article from “Essex Countryside” July 1971 that sets the scene of where it all started.

CE


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Postby Chief Engineer » 12 Sep 2009, 16:23

Here are a couple of early Pier plans that were originally submitted for approval to the ‘Board of Trade’ for the extension of the Pier coloured in red.

As you can see from the dates, the changes to the size of Pier and building additions was certainly rapid, but at the cost of the removal of the ‘Crystal Casino’ building.

(The dates are aproval, not construction dates)

The slipways adjacent either side to the ‘Jolly Roger’ end of Pier theatre, were the original Life Boat slips, I can only assume the choice of which slip to use was weather dependant. If you get a chance to go down on bended knee when the tide is out and peer through the decking, you can still see the major timbers of both slip ways.

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Postby Chief Engineer » 12 Sep 2009, 16:31

Sorry forgot to date the pictures, top plan is 1927/8, bottom one is 1933.
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Postby FATBOY » 13 Sep 2009, 21:20

hi ya chief. been a busy summer??? was gonna say about them slipways... when the tide is out you can just make out them timbers when looking at the pier from the beach on the holland side.... another question i was going to ask was the tobbogan ride..... looks very interesting, how do the carts get to the top??? are they pulled up vertically with the people in the carts???
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Postby Chief Engineer » 13 Sep 2009, 22:08

Hi there FatBoy,

It has certainly been a quick summer and I think on the whole the new owners seem pleased with how the summer has been in view of the economic climate at the moment.

I should have got some pictures of the workings of the ‘Toboggan’ while it was here, but alas the moment has now gone, as the ride is probably already heading up the A12. The lift mechanism was relatively quite simple, in fact very similar to the ’Speedy’ coaster, If you imagine a bicycle chain with links about 3inches in length and instead of the linking pins ending flush on the outside of the chain, the pins protrude out both sides, these are where the pawls under the cars latch on . The chain runs up a vertical channel to keep it straight and of course there is an additional anti roll back notched rail just in case there ever was a problem and yes the riders traveled inside the car up the tube.

One more guest ride will hopefully take the Toboggan’s place very soon to fill in the last few weeks.
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Postby kevinashe » 14 Sep 2009, 17:30

i take it its the one thats owned by taylors of edinburgh as theres only one of these rides in the uk and it has spent a lot of the early summer up here in scotland
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Postby vince69619 » 14 Sep 2009, 17:56

That sounds like the ride that visited the Great Dorset Steam Fair for a good number of years. It was an icon for that part of the site. It's even been modelled and was on display in the model tent just a few weeks ago, but the actual ride has been missing the last few years.

If it's the ride I am thinking of, the cars go straight up the tube of the middle of the ride, then circle round the outside of the tube until they do a little route round the bottom of the ride.

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Postby FATBOY » 14 Sep 2009, 21:40

im sure it is mate, as there was a scotland flag flying high from it every day!!!
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Postby FATBOY » 14 Sep 2009, 21:42

kevinashe wrote:i take it its the one thats owned by taylors of edinburgh as theres only one of these rides in the uk and it has spent a lot of the early summer up here in scotland


im sure it is mate, as there was a scotland flag flying high from it every day!!!
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Postby Chief Engineer » 14 Sep 2009, 22:12

Hi Guys,

I am kicking myself for not taking any photographs of the ‘Toboggan’ but too late now.

I know who owns the ride but his last name is on the tip of my tongue, Stuart, the owner, which of course is a good strong Scottish name is conformation that it does spend a lot of its time up north and yes this American built ride is the only one in the UK. It is around 20 years old, so well ahead of its time for a vertical lift coaster.

As for the Scottish flag flying from the top of the ride, it did not quite last every day of its stay, it would appear that many have tried to raise their own flag but have never succeeded due to the height, it was taller than the slip. But for its last few days on the Pier following an early morning sortie with the aid of a rather high platform lift the mission was achieved and the cross of St. George flew high.

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Postby Nick » 15 Sep 2009, 06:38

The ride operated in Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach for a number of years in the early 1990s.
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Postby Chief Engineer » 17 Sep 2009, 09:43

A very odd sighting of the Toboggan ride on Clacton Pier, not because it is rarely seen down south, but because its signature Scottish flag had succumbed to St. George.
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Postby Chief Engineer » 18 Sep 2009, 21:42

Just a quick note, the Toboggan that operated on the Pier this season is owned and run by the Miller family.
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Postby Chief Engineer » 18 Sep 2009, 21:59

Ok lets delve back in history again, in continuation of the postings about the ‘Jolly Roger’ theatre on the other Clacton Pier thread, here is the concept design drawn up of how the inside of the theatre might have looked. As I mentioned before this was something the Harrison family undertook back around 1995, unfortunately because no lottery or heritage funding exists to bring back the building into some sort of use, it was decided to clad the building to smarten its external look and that is how it has stayed.

The interior photograph was taken before the sheet steel cladding was erected and what you can see of the structure and old stage still remains untouched in its dark steel cocoon.

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Postby Bob » 20 Sep 2009, 14:59

They really need to decide what to do with it before its condition gets too bad. Perhaps it could become a small venue for music entertainment and shows and amateur theatre shows.
It would be quite nice to have a restaurant in part of the upper floor. It could give panoramic sea views. I think it could work if done well
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