It was Sir John Betjeman who said "The Pier is Southend, Southend is the Pier" and many here in this town would agree.

Stretching 1.3 miles into the Thames estuary, it’s length is its claim to fame. However, Southend pier’s best selling point is also its biggest problem. That huge structure costs so much to maintain.

Work to repair sections of the pier is due to start at the end of the summer. A condition survey was carried out last year and it highlighted the need to replace several concrete pillars at a cost of one and a half million pounds.

The council is considering privatising parts of the landmark to help with ongoing costs.

It’s been managed privately in the past and it’s one of the options we’re looking at at the moment with regards to the current position whether we can carry on affording it but there is interest from the private world and it’s possible we may look at that but we are currently going through a process of evaluation.

Councillor Graham Longley, Southend Borough Council
It was in 1889 that the present iron pier first opened.
The first extension came in 1898 to accommodate the number of steamboats visiting the pier.
The final extension was opened in 1929 by Prince George, bringing the length to 1.34 miles.
In 1976 a fire destroyed the pier head.
Another fire in 2005 left the pier head destroyed again.

You can now get married at the end of the pier in the Royal Pavilion which officially opened on 19th July 2012.

The Royal Pavilion is the first structure to be added to the pier head since 2000 when the new RNLI lifeboat station was built.

The pier has to have a full railway operating licence to keep trains running up and down its length.

The current journey time is just under ten minutes.

There were 320 thousand visitors in 2014, 30 thousand more than the previous year. That brings in about a million pounds.

It costs £600,000 a year to maintain the pier’s structure.