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Southwold Pier

Coast Development Company open the pier as a landing stage for their Belle paddle steamer service which plies between London and Great Yarmouth. It is 810 ft long with a T-shaped quay at the end.


The steamer service is suspended and many of the steamers are requisitioned for minesweeping duties.



A violent storm destroys the T-section which is never replaced.

Henry Chapman (Harry) - runs a cafe here as well as his restaurant at the New Hall at No 19 Market Place (SVL1936)

The newly built Pier Pavilion is opened this summer incorporating a ballroom / concert hall and an amusement arcade.
See local news coverage.

The middle section of the pier is removed as a precaution against invasion.

A drifting mine destroys a further section of the pier.

The damaged sections are repaired.


The notorious January floods inflict considerable damage to the pavilion.

A severe storm on 21 October washes away the whole seaward half of the structure.



Further storm damage reduces the pier to a 60ft stump.

Chris Iredale - purchases the pier

Chris Iredale - instigates a major rebuilding programme.


Chris Iredale - Proprietor. Building work is completed and the pier (now 623 ft) is ceremonially opened by The Duke of Gloucester. It is the first British pier to be built in the 21st century.

Stephen & Antonia Bournes - take over ownership of the pier.

Robert Gough, owner of Gough Hotels Ltd of Bury St Edmunds, purchases the pier.


Do you have any memories or records about this address? Can you correct any of our information or fill in any of our blanks? If so, please email Barry Tolfree
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BSD - Bernard Segrave-Daly
BCS = Bygones & Characters of Southwold by Barrett Jenkins
C = Census
CP = Cinema Programme 1958
CSP = Coronation Souvenir Programme 1953
G = Gales Trade Directory
GRO = General Register Office
K = Kelly's Directory
LM = Local memory
M = James Maggs' Southwold Diary 1818-1876
MCG = Methodist Church Guide 1930
NA = National Archives
PP = Pantomime Programme 1933
PLR = Petrol Licence Records

POD = Post Office Directory
PPP = Pier Pavilion Programme 1924, 1926
RCE = Rotary Club Exhibition 1969
SCM = Southwold Catholic Magazine 1923
SCTG = Southwold Corporation Tourist Guide
SER = Southwold Electoral Register
SFP = Southwold Scouts Fete Programme 1947
SG = Southwold Guide
SGCH = Southwold Golf Club Handbook
SLHR = Southwold Local History Recorder 1980s 1990s (Mrs R. McDermot)
SMHS = Southwold Museum & Historical Society

SN = Southwold & Neighbourhood 1903
SPM = Southwold Parish Magazine 1895 -1954
SR = Southwold Recorder 1927, 1932, 1934, 1935
SRB = Southwold Rate Book
SRT = Southwold Railway Timetable 1915
SSAS = Southwold Sea Angling Society Handbook 1909
SST = Southwold Summer Theatre Programmes
SSW = Southwold Shopping Week Programme, June/July 1922
STG = Southwold Town Guide 1930
SVL = Southwold Visitors List 1907, 1930
SVCP = Southwold Victory Celebration Programme 1946
SWCG = Southwold Wesleyan Church Guide

TTR = 'The Town Revisited' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 2000
TTT = ''To The Town' - Portraits of Southwold by Stephen Wolfenden 1988
W = White’s History, Gazetteer and Directory of Suffolk 1874

Note on dates
Unless otherwise stated, dates given do not indicate the years in which the business started or finished but those for which there is firm evidence that it was trading at this address. Sources in brackets; key at bottom of page.

View from the 'T-section' at the end of the pier in the early years of the 20th Century. The Grand Hotel can be seen in the centre of the picture.
Southwold Museum P303

Click picture to enlarge

A Belle Steamer approaches the pier c1903. The service was terminated in 1914 and many of the fleet saw service as minesweepers.
Southwold Museum P057

Click picture to enlarge

Editorial on the opening of the Pier Pavilion in July 1937.

Reproduced courtesy of Jim Blythe

Click the image to read the article