Welcome to the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust's website !
Birnbeck Pier, known locally as the Old Pier, stands on the North Somerset coastline at Weston-super-Mare. Built between 1864 and 1867, it is a unique structure, being the only British seaside pier that links the mainland to an island. Over its lifetime it has enjoyed mixed fortunes. In its heyday, it was the Victorian and then Edwardian equivalent of a modern theme-park, with tourist attractions such as a water slide and fairground rides. It was a major transportation link, with scheduled steam ship services arriving from and departing to destinations including Cardiff, Minehead, Ilfracombe and Lundy Island.
The last of these sailings, by the MV Balmoral, took place in 1979. Since then, the pier has suffered a slow and steady decline in both popular attraction as well as in its general condition. Its ownership has changed a number of times, with various multi-million pound development plans being proposed on each occasion. None of these large-scale and perhaps overambitious modernisation schemes have ever come to fruition. The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust seeks a regenerated and expandable island complex, with a mix of old and new - aimed at giving the island a commercially viable future.
The Trust has long campaigned for a revival of the entire Birnbeck area. Since 2004, it has actively worked towards achieving its stated aim of:
Preserving for the benefit of the people of Weston-super-Mare, and the Nation, the natural, historical, architectural and constructional heritage of Birnbeck Pier and Island, together with associated buildings and structures, and the land and buildings adjacent and above the shoreline.
At present the Trust is still working hard with key stakeholders to help form new partnerships aimed specifically at bringing the urgently necessary conservation-based restoration and regeneration of Birnbeck Pier, the whole island including its saveable structures and the mainland buildings to a long-overdue and successful conclusion.
PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO VISIT BIRNBECK ISLAND AT WHAT SEEMS TO BE LOW TIDE. THE WATERS HERE ARE VERY DECEPTIVE AND THERE ARE UNSEEN RIPTIDES TRAVELLING IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT CAN EASILY HAPPEN TO THE UNWARY. THEY WERE VERY LUCKY. HAD THEY NOT BEEN SPOTTED THE OUTCOME OF THIS UNFORTUNATE EPISODE, ALMOST CERTAINLY, WOULD HAVE BEEN OF A DIFFERENT ORDER OF SERIOUSNESS.