The pier at Southend is the town's most famous landmark featured
in books, films and television. Towards the end of the twentieth
century, some predicted the end of this seaside attraction but
others were determined it should not die. Local pier enthusiasts and
the supportive general public fought hard to keep the longest
pleasure pier in the world and maintain Southend's top billing for
this unique attraction. Those same people, aware of the importance
of the pier's past, worked hard to provide a museum where its proud
history could be displayed for the enjoyment of everyone.
Instrumental in this project, then and now, is Peggy Dowie supported
by other volunteers and now by members of Southend Pier Museum Foundation
The Friends of Southend Pier Museum (FOSPM) was inaugurated for the purpose
with specific aims to preserve the history of Southend Pier and to
create a museum for the benefit of future generations. A proposal was made to Southend Borough
Council (the owner of the pier). Due to the uncertain future of the
pier itself, a museum of the pier did not receive approval at that time.
By 1984 the outlook was more promising and a further proposal was
made and this time approved by the council on the understanding that
this was to be a voluntary project.
The Pier Museum is housed in redundant Pier workshops underneath the
Pier's shore station which, until 1978, were used for maintenance
and repair of the Pier and railway. The building is therefore of
A small number of volunteers carried out the mammoth task preparing
the buildings for Museum use, working every weekend for three years.
Throughout this time we also had the support and assistance from the
Councils engineering department and Museum Service.
The Mayor of Southend, Councillor John Armitage, officially opened the Pier Museum on 8th July
1989, heralding the Pier centenary celebrations. At the same time
the Pier Museum Trust was formed and the Friends changed its name to
Southend Pier Museum Foundation.
The Pier Museum is independent, entirely self funding and operated
The Museum's extensive collection of artefacts
were salvaged most of which were restored by volunteers and the Pier Museum Foundation.
In 2009 the Foundation and the Trust merged and the Collection is
now owned and managed by the Southend Pier Museum Foundation Trust