Grand plans unveiled for Great Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier

The new owners of one of Great Yarmouth’s best-loved seaside attractions have grand plans to transform the venue into a year-round entertainment hub

Since being taken over at the end of 2022, the Britannia Pier has already seen some changes. 

New owners Joseph Abbott and Joseph Manning, from Triangle Amusements, have already revitalised the amusement arcades, added rides to the end-of-pier theme park and installed traditional lighting across the main deck. 

Now, the front of the pier is in line to be regenerated to become a year-round entertainment centre.

A concept design, created by architects Paul Robinson Partnership, shows the front of the pier sporting two art deco towers – similar to those at the nearby Wellington Pier – and an indoor space connecting the Pier Tavern with the recently refurbished arcade.

Plans also include more access to the beach and promenade.

In a joint statement, Mr Abbott and Mr Manning said the plans are part of the first phase to modernise facilities to help develop the pier as an entertainment hub for the Golden Mile.

“As with all our plans and ideas for the pier, its heritage and history are always at the forefront of our minds,” they said. 

“We always aim to keep the tradition alive while at the same time bringing the facilities into the 21st Century.

“We aim to extend our trading period into the winter months, which the pier currently doesn’t have the facility to do so.

“This comes with a benefit to the local community and businesses by helping to keep the seafront bustling and open even during the quieter seasons.”

If accepted, the pier will lose its existing advertising billboards and be replaced with a digital screen and raised letter signage, and the removal of an existing single-storey amusements building and erection of a new enlarged curved roof building.

The bid also contains a change of use of the Sea Chef restaurant into an amusement arcade and a relocation of a food outlet further east of the existing amusement arcade.

Looking back at the history of the Brit

The Britannia Pier has been a mainstay on the Golden Mile since 1858. Originally, the venue boasted a 700-foot pier. However, following a collision with a ship during the Royal Charter Storm in 1859, it was shortened.

The original pier suffered further storm damage in 1868 and was demolished in 1899.

Construction of a new 810-foot Britannia Pier began in 1900 with designs by Joseph and Arthur Mayoh.

Many changes took place at the pier following a series of fires in 1909, 1914 and in 1954. The current pavilion – known as the Britannia Pier Theatre – has been standing since 1958.

The theatre has hosted some of the UK’s biggest acts, including Russ Abbott, Jim Davidson and Jimmy Carr.

Since purchasing the pier from Family Amusements in December 2022, owners Joseph Abbott and Joseph Manning have added new rides to the end-of-pier theme park, revamped the arcades and installed traditional lighting along the deck.

by James Weeds at Great Yarmouth Mercury

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