Deal Pier

Deal's present pier was built in 1954 but there have been two previous constructions at the same site.

The first pier appeared in 1838 and the original plans by engineer J. Rennie indicated that the structure was to be 445 feet long. A budget of £21,000 was awarded to the Deal Pier Company, by the government, to finance the project. After completing 250ft of the main structure, at a cost of £12,000, the company ran into financial difficulties and construction came to a halt. The unfinished pier was consequently opened and used as a docking point for steamers. Over the next 20 years storms and sandworms played a major part in the decay of the structure and a large storm in 1857 threw the pier onto the beach where it was later sold as scrap for £50.

In 1861 the Deal & Walmer Pier Company commissioned Eugenius Birch to design a new pier and work began in the Spring of 1863.

Stone from the ruined Sandown Castle was used for the abutment and the pier itself was built of wrought and cast iron. The full length of the structure was 1100ft and included a 3 deck pier head and a steamer landing stage. Seating ran the full length and a tramway was provided for conveying goods and luggage whilst two attractive toll houses were built at the entrance.

Deal's second pier was officially opened on 8 November 1864 but the pier company once again discovered that they were unable to meet the full cost of construction and the pier was handed over to the contractors. The addition of a pavilion on the pier head led to the pier becoming a popular venue for concerts as well as angling.

On 19 January 1873 the barque Merle hit the pier during a storm causing extensive damage. Repairs were carried out but on 26 January 1884 the schooner Alliance also ran into the pier during a storm leading to further major repairs. Despite these two incidents the pier remained a significant local amenity and it was purchased by Deal Town Council for £10,000 in 1920.

Disaster struck with the coming of the second World War, when, in 1940, the Dutch vessel Nora struck a fatal blow.

The Nora was anchored a mile off shore when a drifting magnetic mine struck the stern of the vessel. Damage was extensive and after evacuating the crew the Nora was towed to the beach, south of the pier. Local fishermen warned the authorities of the dangers that the vessel presented being left on the shore but the warnings were left unheeded. Partially submerged, the rising tide lifted the Nora from the beach and continually smashed her against the pier. The old structure withstood the battering for sometime but eventually the Nora was driven through the pier and brought some 200ft of the wrought ironwork onto her decks. A visiting Winston Churchill surveyed the devastation and gave the army consent to demolish the broken pier to allow coastal guns a clear line of fire. All that was left were the toll houses on the foreshore.

Strong local pressure came to bear after the war and in 1954 the old toll houses were removed and work began on Deal's third and existing pier. The new pier took 3 years to build and was formally opened by the Duke of Edinburgh on 19 November 1957. The pier was the first seaside pleasure pier of any size to be built since 1910 and was designed by Sir W Halcrow and Partners. Constructed of reinforced concrete the structure is 1026ft long and steel piles surrounded by a concrete case make up the main supports. The pier head originally had 3 levels but a miscalculation of the tides has led to the lower deck being permanently covered by the sea.

Deal Pier continues to be a significant local landmark and public amenity. It is internationally recognised as an angling venue and Dover District Council has recently undertaken exciting new developments. A new look cafe-bar designed by renowned architects Niall McLaughlin was opened in 2009.


Tel: 01304 363815
Email:  propertyservices@dover.gov.uk