A new lease of life for Birnbeck Pier

Plans afoot for a new permanent Lifeboat station, and restored access to the public

The Grade II* listed pier has been abandoned since 2013 due to its dilapidated state

The vision for Birnbeck Pier

The vision is to restore the pier from a dilapidated wreck, to a fully-functioning Lifeboat Station.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) and North Somerset Council will be working together is working on plans to renovate Birnbeck and people back onto the pier.

When all the legal work is complete and the pier lands in the hands of the RNLI and the council, they will build a new lifeboat station, together with a state-of-the-art training facility. The RNLI will then return its operations to the island and public access will be restored.

The RNLI has a long history at Birnbeck Pier. Stationed here from as long ago as 1882, it had a valiant stint of 131 years on the local landmark. Unfortunately, it was forced to concede defeat and abandon its post in 2013 when the structure became too unsafe for crew.


An Old Pier with tales to tell

Birnbeck Pier, also now fondly known as the Old Pier, first opened way back in 1867. Now it’s clinging on to life as one of only six Grade II* listed piers surviving in the country.

Imagine its first few decades of life; a hub of bustling activity in the late 19th century and early 20th century as people boarded steamers, and tourists and locals used it as a meeting point and a point of interest.

In a steady state of decline, it has now been closed to the public since 1994. The pier became such a concern that it was placed both on the Heritage Risk Register and the Buildings at Risk Register. As a final blow to its sorry state, part of the pier collapsed in storms of December 2015.

Over the years the Old Pier has seen excitement and calamity; attacks by the Luftwaffe in World War II, an accidental mine attack, and an attempted theft of the clock face in the pier’s tower in 2019.

It is hoped that the new station will breathe life back into this landmark. Restored, safe and back in working condition, it will rejuvenate activity around the seafront and improve the safety of the sea.