Client: Sandown Pier
Contractor: Andark Diving
Duration: July 2014
Date posted: 11-08-2014
The upkeep and continuous maintenance of our historic piers is essential with only 30 Victorian piers left in the UK. Divers are needed for cleaning the growth which keeps adding extra weight and drag to the structure, especially during storms, which can weaken the structure. Braces and bolts need tightening and replacing on an annual bases, anode replacement for cathodic protection on the steel works, hydro demolition and concrete repair work, pile casements and scour protection. The majority of these works require dive teams and high ropes teams.
England has about 30 remaining Victorian piers that have undergone varying amounts of restoration over the years, Sandown Pier being one of them. MMC Divers and high ropes team replaced diagonal braces, re-fabricated and freed up turn buckles, re-welded end brackets, replaced bolts and anodes, and also undertook video survey works.
The first Sandown Pier Bill was passed by Parliament in 1864 but work did not begin until 1876 under the supervision of chief engineer W.Binne. The 360 foot pier opened for the 1879 season. Following the creation of a new pier company, it was extended to 875 feet in 1895. The pier, complete with new pier-head pavilion, was re-opened on 17th September that year. Paddle steamers called in at the new landing stage on the hammerhead.
Sandown Pier Ltd, under George Peak, bought the pier in 1986 with the provision that South Wight Council leased back the theatre for ten years. Nearly £1 million was spent on refurbishment that winter. The theatre was then let to Isle of Wight (Theatres) Ltd.
Although the theatre finally closed in the 1990s to be replaced with a bowling alley and golf course, Sandown Pier remains a popular attraction with a restaurant, shops, kiosk's, amusements, fishing and various pleasure cruises from the head.