I’ve lived in Southsea, Portsmouth for a good part of my early life and find the sad demeanour of South Parade Pier a little hard to take.
I worked as a student in the gift shop at the Pier’s entrance when the Pier was at the centre of a thriving tourism industry.
My brother can remember The Who’s film Tommy being filmed here and I can dimly recall everyone’s shock when the Pier caught fire – and their anger towards the film’s production company who everyone seemed to blame. It was rebuilt but sadly, in a somewhat haphazard and inappropriate way, when you consider the old ballroom that once stood there.
It’s a shadow of its former self now and you can’t even walk along it any more. Shame.
With investment and imagination, the Pier could once again be at the centre of Portsmouth and Southsea’s tourism industry.
It certainly needs something to encourage tourists to visit the “Eastney End” once again. It used to be so lively in this area, now its a sleepy little backwater when you consider its South Coast rivals. As someone working in the tourism industry, it’s a depressing scenario and I just can’t find the logic towards the tourism policy here.
I can’t walk by it without a certain sense of nostalgia for this grand old dame when she was at her prime.
Victorian piers are magical and should – wherever possible – be preserved and appreciated in equal measure. There’s new owners now but still a question mark over its renovation – it really is a travesty that it has come to this – sad day for all Portsmuthians.
Contributor: Sue Lowry
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