We’re buying shares – in Clevedon Pier

1-IMG_3843

Aah yes. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and chip in to help the pier.

You can’t come to Clevedon without noticing the pier. There are plenty of other quiet delights in the town, but the pier will be the thing you notice first. It has a long history from its opening in 1869, collapse in 1970 and restoration and reopening in 1989 and work is underway on a fabulous new visitor centre, cafe and viewing gallery. My husband Alec and I have bought season tickets to the pier every year since we moved to Clevedon: that way we are showing our support while benefiting ourselves from being able to take a walk down the pier whenever we want (during opening hours of course). When the community share scheme was announced, we decided that we would have to be part of it and today we have put the cheque in the post.

Have a look online, and if you can afford some shares too – why not? The minimum spend isn’t huge (150 x £1 shares ) and you have bought your little slice of history. Read more here!

1-IMG_9787

Here’s the view of work today. Amazingly small space to work in, but the lower level viewing gallery now has a concrete roof above it – the floor for the cafe. Which we’ve heard in the news will be run by the people in charge of Tiffins – one of our lovely local cafes.

And a fairly recent plaque added at the end of the pier. (Apologies if it’s been there for years and I’ve only just noticed!!)

1-_MG_9788

It all adds to the interest. I’ve seen most of these ships myself, so it’s nice to know now what they are.

If you haven’t visited Clevedon before, or haven’t been for a while, there is lots to see. Work on the Marine Lakes approaching completion, the new Loungers cafe open at the historic Curzon cinema, the Theatre Orchard bringing live performance to Clevedon, several other new cafes and businesses and news that the traditional Christmas fair will return to Hill Road. It’s all happening in Clevedon!

Time travel in Clevedon… bringing the past into the future

I’ve written about the charms of Clevedon many times: how the Victorian features of this peaceful seaside town have been preserved and are here to be enjoyed today.  We’re just back from a walk along the pier, to see the works that are in progress, and that has reminded me that I should have blogged about some of the developments that are underway here.

pier walkway pier walkway2 pier walkway3

The photos show the work at the pier on the new visitor centre and tea rooms. Not the huge building swathed in red mesh on the left – that’s the conversion of the old hotel into flats. The pier development will fit neatly into the ramp beside the old toll house. The work will mostly be underground, and will provide a large room with views under the pier to see the structure including Brunel’s old railway tracks, that were recycled into the pier arches, and of course views across the rising tide. We had a great chat about the work with one of the pier trustees, who was on hand with the plans.

The pier is worth a walk at any time, but will be even more enjoyable when the work is done. We are currently season ticket holders, and will be looking out to buy shares when they become available in the new year to raise the last of the funding needed.

At the other end of the bay, near the Salthouse and Little Harp pubs, the Marine Lakes are also going to be refurbished and restored. These are the Victorian swimming, boating and crabbing lakes, which have fallen into disrepair over the years. Although they are still used almost every day, they look a bit sad and the work, which will include improved seating and terracing and huts to change in for swimming, will bring them back to life.

And in town,  things are happening at the Curzon Community Cinema. From what I hear a new cafe/restaurant is on the way, and they are planning to open up the upper floor boxes and balcony in the auditorium. We already love the cinema and it will be fantastic to have further improvements. These should secure the cinema’s future for many years to come.

So what all these developments have in common is that they are breathing new life into much loved and rare historical places; keeping the essence of them true to their past but fitting them for a long future. Locals and visitors will have the pleasure of authentic Victorian buildings and amenities, but will be able to enjoy them in a way that fits right into modern life.

Hurrah for Clevedon, and for all those involved in these projects.

Maybe we’ll be able to tie the whole thing together by providing an authentic transport solution for the sea front (and shopping areas). Victorian trams, horse drawn coaches, early 20th Century buses … I wonder what might be possible? It would be fabulous to have most of the cars removed from the sea front, and to give visitors and locals alike a fun alternative service. Any ideas, anyone?

 

 

 

Clevedon – World Heritage Site?

pier and clouds august 13

 

Back in July there was local news that Clevedon Council could apply for World Heritage Site status for the seafront, and although  haven’t heard any more about this recently, I’m hoping that they have.

It’s an interesting and on the face of it extraordinary step that would equate a smallish North somerset town few people outside the area have heard of with other world heritage sites.  The beautiful pier is a key draw, and you quite often see the town featured in film and television – most recently Broadchurch with David Tennant, but the town has had a small but devoted following since the days of the great Victorian poets.  Tennyson and Coleridge both lived here, and the locally famous Poet’s Walk coastal path is named in their honour.  Much of the town, including the seafront, is little changed from Victorian times, full of quiet charms. There are many vantage points from which spectacular views across the Bristol Channel to Wales and to the Mendip Hills spread out in front of you.  Try walking up (or down) the Zig Zag footpath between Hill Road and Dial Hill Road for some of the best.  If you are here in the evening, join the photographers who line the seafront for the spectacular sunset shots across the estuary.

We have the fantastic Curzon Community Cinema, which is well worth a visit. All the current films in a beautiful original interior.  Not to be missed. Great shops and cafes on Hill Road and in the town, and some lovely restaurants.  And a great number of parks and footpaths which mean that no road is a dead end and no two walks are ever quite the same.  The older streets are full of statuesque Victorian houses, in the main built by the merchants of Bristol, so embellished with individual architectural features which anyone who likes buildings will find delightful.

If you haven’t visited yet, you should. We are a 30 minute bus ride from Bristol. and a bus goes from Temple Meads station to the town.  Don’t expect wild excitement, but if quiet charms are to your taste, you’ll love it.

And we may be a World Heritage site by the time you get here!