Building Name

South Shore Pier (Victoria Pier) Blackpool

1892 - 1893
Lancashire, England
Blackpool South Shore Pier & Pavilion Co. Ltd.
New Build
J. Butler & Company

With a total length 149 metres about 492 feet South Pier, Blackpool (known as the Victorian Pier before 1930) was the last of Blackpool's three Piers to be built  It differed from the usual long narrow piers by being constructed shorter and wider to accommodate pavilions. The pier is one of only two seaside piers in the country to be founded on cast iron jetted piles.

 The Blackpool South Shore Pier & Pavilion Co. Ltd. was registered in November 1890. and construction work began in 1892 to the design of T P Worthington, using the Worthington Screwpile System. This system used a jetting technique developed by engineers like Brunlees among others. Piles were driven into the seabed by the action of water passed down their centres agitating the sand below. As the sand was disturbed the pile sank lower until it reached the required depth. The water is then turned off and the natural contraction of the disturbed sands then held the pile firmly in place. Worthington's method improved on this with the use of a steam-fired pump increasing the water pressure, thus sinking the piles faster. At Blackpool the piles were installed in only 20 minutes apiece by sub-contractor Robert Finnegan using a steam fire pump. The piles support vertical cast iron columns in double rows of six. At the beginning of August 1892, the first girder was put in position with due ceremony. If the original deck beams were made of steel, which is thought to be so, it's possible that Blackpool South Pier was the first pier to be constructed using steel beams. The deck members were mostly replaced by castellated steel beams in later years, those at the landward end being encased in sprayed concrete. The deck now has modern panel railings. On Good Friday 1893 (31 March) the new Victoria Pier was given a musical welcome by a choir, two brass bands, and a full 50-piece orchestra.

John Dent Harker was responsible for the design of its Grand Pavilion, opened on 20 May 1893. It was a cross between a four-storey winter garden and the five-domed pavilion model, the onion motifs of the corner domes giving it an Oriental air. It covered an area of 1925 square yards (17325 sq ft) and included a concert hall 135 feet by 75 feet, capable of seating 1700 people. Shops, shelters and refreshment rooms surrounded it, having a combined frontage to the promenade of 540 lineal feet. The whole  was described as "an elegant as well as a substantial work and will undoubtedly prove an acceptable addition to the resources and attractions of the South Shore."  Estimated cost £12,000

In 1958 a major fire seriously damaged the 1893 Grand Pavilion. A further fire in 1964 completely destroyed the pavilion and it was replaced with a theatre. This too was demolished in December 1997.


The south entrance of the promenade was widened in 1902 requiring the Pier entrance to be moved back. In 1938 the entrance to the pier was again widened, and the Regal Pavilion was created at the landward end. This was converted into the Beachcomber Amusement Arcade in 1963.

Engineer        T P Worthington, South Shore, Blackpool
Ironwork          Coulter & Company Stanningley Ironworks Leeds (BA 5 Aug 1892)
Jetted piling:     Robert Finnegan

Reference    Manchester City News Saturday 6 August 1892 Page 5 Column 7
Reference    British Architect 5 August 1892 Page 92
Reference    British Architect 15 July 1892 Page vii – pavilion
Reference    Lancashire Evening Post 3 May 1905 page 3 Worthington obituary