Teignmouth Pier is one of only two surviving seaside piers in south west England, the other being at Paignton, some nine miles away.
Teignmouth began to flourish as a seaside resort in the early part of the 19th Century. As a pier was considered almost a prerequisite of any serious seaside town, plans were soon being drawn up for such a construction at Teignmouth. Designed by Joseph William Wilson, Teignmouth Pier was a simple structure consisting of a 700ft (212m) conventional timber, open promenade deck supported by a framework of circular cast-iron screw piles in pairs, braced horizontally and diagonally.
Work commenced in 1865 and was completed during 1867. The long stretches of sandy beach offered ample bathing opportunities at Teignmouth and the pier, having been erected in the centre of the resort, made a convenient dividing line for the bathing machines – Gentlemen’s machines to the west, and Ladies’ machines to the east.
Mr Arthur Ryde Denby purchased Teignmouth Pier with the intention of moving it to the more popular resort of Paignton. However, because of some technical difficulties involved in this plan, the idea was abandoned and a new pier was eventually built at Paignton. Teignmouth Pier was duly renovated, and re-opened on 24th July 1876. A 250ft (75.7m) shoreward end pavilion was constructed during the late 1880s, with the seaward end castle pavilion being completed in 1890.
Throughout the summer season, daily steamer excursions were a popular feature of Teignmouth Pier, some offering trips extending as far as Plymouth and Weymouth.
In 1904 the pier’s entrance kiosks made the headlines when they unceremoniously collapsed onto the beach. The jetty was removed in 1940 during World War II to prevent its use by the Germans. Little else significant happened in the life of Teignmouth Pier until the second half of the 20th century. The castle pavilion was destroyed by fire and a bridge section that had linked the end of the pier to the landing stage was removed, effectively shortening the length of the pier by 75ft.
New steel piling was later found to be necessary, and this was inserted under all the pier buildings, having to be driven into the bedrock some 80ft beneath the sand level. In subsequent years, a new groyne scheme to protect the beach from erosion was found to be causing serious scouring and undermining of the shoreward wooden piles, exposing their bases. Emergency measures were taken as truckloads of sand and cement were used to stabilise the structure, saving Teignmouth Pier from imminent closure.
The shoreward end pavilion housed shops and amusements, whilst the rebuilt deck had fairground rides and a go-kart track on the site of the old Castle pavilion, which had been destroyed by fire many years earlier.
In February 2014, the pier was closed after being badly damaged by huge waves and strong winds, with repairs estimated in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. The pier eventually reopened in July, with new retail units and new machines having been provided.
The above information has been compiled from the following sources: