November 2019: Kingswood History Society

October 31 2019

OUR October talk was about Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare. Peter Lander, the pier’s Trust archivist told us about his work recording people’s memories of the pier, researching their stories and gathering memorabilia. 

They now have a collection of personal photographs, which he used in his presentation. Built between 1864 and 1867, it is a unique structure, being the only British seaside pier that links the mainland to an island, the 1.2 hectares rocky Birnbeck Island, once the site of an Iron Age hill fort. 

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 to and from 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.

Our topic on November 5 will be ‘No News From Fred’ - a family’s research into a great uncle who died at the Battle of the Somme. Surely unmissable!

Kingswood History Society meets on the first Tuesday of each month (March – December) at 7.30pm, in the Park Centre, Kingswood High Street, (opposite the Civic Centre BS15 9TR, parking in Hollow Road, opposite the Civic Centre). 

Anyone interested in joining us should visit our website www.kingswoodhistorysociety.org or just come along to our meetings. Cost is £2.50 per visit including refreshments. Annual subscription is only £20.