Historic Views of Birnbeck
The earliest image of Birnbeck that we are aware of - this lithograph showns the island at Birnbeck and Worlebury Hill at a time when when the Iron Age hill fort was in existence - c.500 BC.
© 1886 - Charles W. Dymond, Worlebury: an Ancient Stronghold in the County of Somerset
This image shows Birnbeck Island in its natural state in about 1820. Visible in the image are the ever-present fishing net stakes. The top of the island was higher than it is today, it was levelled off to provide a large flat area for the new buildings when the pier was first constructed.
This next image is an artist's impression of the suspension bridge that was proposed to link the island to the mainland in 1845. The structure was designed by James Dredge, and although work began in 1847 the project was doomed to failure, with numerous problems arising including a workers' strike and stormy weather which carried away much of the masonry that was put in place. The very first stonework tier of the eastern tower can still be seen on the foreshore today, directly below the more 'modern' pier.
This photographic image shows the coastline at Claremont and beyond in c. 1865, prior to the construction of Birnbeck Pier. The two major buildings are situated at what was then Cliftonville on the left and Wellington Place on the right, this latter location now being between Birnbeck Road and the lower end of Upper Kewstoke Road. The building at Cliftonville later became part of the Royal Pier Hotel.
© Phil Johnson Collection
This confirmatory image is part of 'Weston super Mare from the Sea', a Victorian panorama published by A Shrowl of Weston super Mare and lithographed by Newman & Co of Watling Street, London. It is also dated c.1865.
© A Scrowl/Newman & Co
The following lithographic image shows the pier at around the time of its opening in 1867.
This second lithographic image also shows the pier soon after its opening - c.1868.
© By J.A. Davis SRA, produced by Jefferies Lith. Bristol and published by Powell's Royal Assembly Rooms Library, Weston-super-Mare
No history of Birnbeck is complete without mention of its main rival, the 'New' or Grand Pier, opened in 1904. This image shows it at this time.