Ha’penny pier to undergo revamp

29 September 2016

The historic Ha’penny Pier in Harwich is about to undergo essential refurbishment work to maintain its rare timber structure.

Beginning on Monday 10th October, some of the timber piles that support the well-known landmark will be replaced along with a number of timber beams and bracing to give people a safe and relaxing place to visit for many more years to come.

Following the last refurbishment 15 years ago, regular inspections by Harwich Haven Authority (HHA), which owns the pier, have shown that further work is now needed. Since Ha’penny Pier is just one of two remaining timber piers in the country, the structural revamp will help preserve the Victorian legacy of this popular attraction.

Local engineers to carry out works

Essex-based firm, Amicus Civil Engineering, will be carrying out the programme of works in two phases, with the first phase beginning on Monday 10th October, and ending in time for people to watch the annual RNLI New Year fireworks display from the pier. The project is timed to coincide with the quieter months following the summer season, and for safety reasons during this time, some of the pier will be closed to the public. However, throughout the works, visitors will still be able to access the pier’s visitor centre and café.

The second stage of refurbishments will take place in October 2017.

Benefitting the community

Neil Glendinning, CEO of Harwich Haven Authority, said: “As proud guardians of Ha’penny Pier – one of the few working piers in the UK – we strive to maintain its safety and heritage for the local community, tourists, leisure sailors, fishermen and other users.

“The activity is part of our regular maintenance to the pier,” he added. “And all the repairs will be carried out with the local community in mind; striving to keep disruption to an absolute minimum while the works go on.”

Dave Gibson, Director of Amicus Civil Engineering, said: “After completing previous projects for HHA and having built a strong, trusted relationship with them, we were chosen to work on this high profile project for the town. The work involves lifting new timbers and fixing them into position beneath the pier, removing the damaged piles and installing replacements.

“Our specialist marine expertise will help us plan around the winter weather and the tides. We will be using sustainably sourced hardwood timber, which is well suited to withstand the harsh environment that the pier is exposed to all year round.”

Part of Harwich’s heritage

HHA maintains the pier as a community asset, providing a home to the Harwich Society which runs the visitor centre – a Grade II listed building and former ticket office.

Throughout its history Ha’penny Pier has been used by coastal paddle steamers, ferries, pilot boats, the Royal Navy and as a lifeboat station, and it still serves as a pick-up point for the Harwich Harbour foot ferry today. The pier is named after the original half penny toll charged to gain entry.

View media coverage: itv, eadt and coastalscene24.