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Pier through the ages

The History of Clarence Pier

The original Clarence Pier was built in 1861, and was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales who attended a concert given by the combined band of the Royal Marines Artillery and Royal Marines Light Infantry.

Up until 1873 the Pier had a tramline from Portsmouth Town Railway Station (now Portsmouth & Southsea) which ran right onto the Pier, taking passengers and luggage to the Isle of Wight on steamers.

In 1905 the Pier was extended to accomodate increased boat traffic. Further extensions were made in 1932 when a café, sun deck and concourse hall were added.

Then on 1st June 1941 the Pier was bombed by the Luftwaffe during the heaviest air raid on Portsmouth of World War Two.

It re-opened in its present form some twenty years later on 1st June 1961; the Pier with its funfair has been synonymous with Southsea, it boasted favourite concert parties and shows, and ever-changing rides, slot machines and video games etc. For most visitors, their favourite memory of the Pier is the laughing sailor machine which stood outside.

For a penny you could make him split his sides. The original machine has been preserved, and recently restored. It is now held in a collection maintained by the pier's current operators.

To enquire further about our colourful history, please contact us at: info@clarencepier.co.uk