A pier is a raised structure in a body of water, typically supported by well-spaced piles or pillars. Bridges, buildings, and walkways may all be supported by piers. Their open structure allows tides and currents to flow relatively unhindered, whereas the more solid foundations of a quay or the closely spaced piles of a wharf can act as a breakwater, and are consequently more liable to silting. Piers can range in size and complexity from a simple lightweight wooden structure to major structures extended over 1600 metres. In American English, a pier may be synonymous with a dock.
Piers have been built for several purposes, and because these different purposes have distinct regional variances, the term pier tends to have different nuances of meaning in different parts of the world. Thus in North America and Australia, where many ports were, until recently, built on the multiple pier model, the term tends to imply a current or former cargo-handling facility. In Europe in contrast, where ports more often use basins and river-side quays than piers, the term is principally associated with the image of a Victorian cast iron pleasure pier. However, the earliest piers pre-date the Victorian age.
Piers can be categorized into different groupings according to the principal purpose. However, there is considerable overlap between these categories. For example, pleasure piers often also allow for the docking of pleasure steamers and other similar craft, while working piers have often been converted to leisure use after being rendered obsolete by advanced developments in cargo-handling technology. Many piers are floating piers, to ensure that the piers raise and lower with the tide along with the boats tied to them. This prevents a situation where lines become overly taut or loose by rising or lowering tides. An overly taut or loose tie-line can damage boats by pulling them out of the water or allowing them so much leeway that they bang forcefully against the sides of the pier.
Working piers were built for the handling of passengers and cargo onto and off ships or (as at Wigan Pier) canal boats. Working piers themselves fall into two different groups. Longer individual piers are often found at ports with large tidal ranges, with the pier stretching far enough off shore to reach deep water at low tide. Such piers provided an economical alternative to impounded docks where cargo volumes were low, or where specialist bulk cargo was handled, such as at coal piers. The other form of working pier, often called the finger pier, was built at ports with smaller tidal ranges. Here the principal advantage was to give a greater available quay length for ships to berth against compared to a linear littoral quayside, and such piers are usually much shorter. Typically each pier would carry a single transit shed the length of the pier, with ships berthing bow or stern in to the shore. Some major ports consisted of large numbers of such piers lining the foreshore, classic examples being the Hudson River frontage of New York, or the Embarcadero in San Francisco.
The advent of container shipping, with its need for large container handling spaces adjacent to the shipping berths, has made working piers obsolete for the handling of general cargo, although some still survive for the handling of passenger ships or bulk cargos. One example, is in use in Progreso, Yucatán, where a pier extends more than 4 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the longest pier in the world. The Progreso Pier supplies much of the peninsula with transportation for the fishing and cargo industries and serves as a port for large cruise ships in the area. Many other working piers have been demolished, or remain derelict, but some have been recycled as pleasure piers. The best known example of this is Pier 39 in San Francisco.
Pleasure piers were first built in Britain during the early 19th century. The earliest structures were Ryde Pier, built in 1813/4, Trinity Chain Pier near Leith, built in 1821, and Brighton Chain Pier, built in 1823. Only the oldest of these piers still remains. At that time the introduction of the railways for the first time permitted mass tourism to dedicated seaside resorts. The large tidal ranges at many such resorts meant that for much of the day, the sea was not visible from dry land. The pleasure pier was the resorts' answer, permitting holidaymakers to promenade over and alongside the sea at all times. The world's longest pleasure pier is at Southend-on-sea, Essex, and extends 1.3 miles (2.1 km) into the Thames estuary. With a length of 2,745 feet (837 m), it is the longest pier on the West Coast of the US is the Santa Cruz Wharf.
Providing a walkway out to sea, pleasure piers often include amusements and theatres as part of their attractions. Such a pier may be unroofed, closed, or partly open and partly closed. Sometimes a pier has two decks. Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in Galveston, Texas has a roller coaster, 15 rides, carnival games and souvenir shops.
Early pleasure piers were of wooden construction, with the first iron pleasure pier being Margate Jetty, opened in 1855. Margate was wrecked in storms in 1978 and never repaired. The longest iron pleasure pier still remaining is the one at Southend-on-Sea, Essex. First opened as a wooden pier in 1829, it was reconstructed in iron and completed in 1889. In a 2006 UK poll, the public voted the seaside pier onto the list of icons of England.
Many piers are built for the purpose of providing boatless anglers access to fishing grounds that are otherwise inaccessible. Many "Free Piers" are available in larger harbors which differ from private piers. Free Piers are often primarily used for fishing.
See the List of piers article for details of piers in countries across the world.
In Blankenberge a first pleasure pier was built in 1894. After its destruction in the World War I, a new pier was built in 1933. It remained till the present day, but was partially transformed and modernized in 1999–2004.
Scheveningen, the coastal resort town of The Hague, boasts the largest pier in the Netherlands, completed in 1961. A crane, built on top of the pier's panorama tower, provides the opportunity to make a 60-metre (200 ft) high bungee jump over the North Sea waves. The present pier is a successor of an earlier pier, which was completed in 1901 but in 1943 destroyed by the German occupation forces.
The first recorded pier in England was Ryde Pier, opened in 1814 on the Isle of Wight, as a landing stage to allow ferries to and from the mainland to berth. It is still used for this purpose today. It also had a leisure function in the past, with the pier head once containing a pavilion, and there are still refreshment facilities today. The oldest cast iron pier in the world is Gravesend town pier, in Kent, which opened in 1834. However, it is not recognised by the National Piers Society as being a seaside pier.
Following the building of the world's first seaside pier at Ryde, the pier became fashionable at seaside resorts in England and Wales during the Victorian era, peaking in the 1860s with 22 being built in that decade. A symbol of the typical British seaside holiday, by 1914, more than 100 pleasure piers were located around the UK coast. Regarded as being among the finest Victorian architecture, there are still a significant number of seaside piers of architectural merit still standing, although some have been lost, including two at Brighton in East Sussex one at New Brighton in the Wirral and three at Blackpool in Lancashire. Two piers, Brighton's now derelict West Pier and Clevedon Pier, were Grade 1 listed. The Birnbeck Pier in Weston-super-Mare is the only pier in the world linked to an island. The National Piers Society gives a figure of 55 surviving seaside piers in England and Wales.
Brighton () is a seaside resort on the south coast of England that is part of the City of Brighton and Hove, located 47 miles (76 km) south of London.Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. The ancient settlement of "Brighthelmstone" was documented in the Domesday Book (1086). The town's importance grew in the Middle Ages as the Old Town developed, but it languished in the early modern period, affected by foreign attacks, storms, a suffering economy and a declining population. Brighton began to attract more visitors following improved road transport to London and becoming a boarding point for boats travelling to France. The town also developed in popularity as a health resort for sea bathing as a purported cure for illnesses.
In the Georgian era, Brighton developed as a fashionable seaside resort, encouraged by the patronage of the Prince Regent, later King George IV, who spent much time in the town and constructed the Royal Pavilion in the Regency era. Brighton continued to grow as a major centre of tourism following the arrival of the railways in 1841, becoming a popular destination for day-trippers from London. Many of the major attractions were built in the Victorian era, including the Metropole Hotel (now Hilton) Grand Hotel, the West Pier, and the Brighton Palace Pier. The town continued to grow into the 20th century, expanding to incorporate more areas into the town's boundaries before joining the town of Hove to form the unitary authority of Brighton and Hove in 1997, which was granted city status in 2000. Today, Brighton and Hove district has a resident population of about 290,395 and the wider Brighton and Hove conurbation has a population of 474,485 (2011 census).Brighton's location has made it a popular destination for tourists, renowned for its diverse communities, quirky shopping areas, large cultural, music and arts scene and its large LGBT population, leading to its recognition as the "unofficial gay capital of the UK". Brighton attracted 7.5 million day visitors in 2015/16 and 4.9 million overnight visitors, and is the most popular seaside destination in the UK for overseas tourists. Brighton has also been called the UK's "hippest city", and "the happiest place to live in the UK".Brighton Palace Pier
The Brighton Palace Pier, commonly known as Brighton Pier or the Palace Pier is a Grade II* listed pleasure pier in Brighton, England, located in the city centre opposite the Old Steine. Opening in 1899, it was the third pier to be constructed in Brighton after the Royal Suspension Chain Pier and the West Pier, but is now the only one still in operation. It is managed and operated by the Eclectic Bar Group.
The Palace Pier was constructed as a replacement for the Chain Pier, which collapsed in 1896 during construction. It quickly became popular, and had become a frequently-visited theatre and entertainment venue by 1911. Aside from closures owing to war, it continued to hold regular entertainment up to the 1970s. The theatre was damaged in 1973 and following a buy-out was demolished in 1986, changing the pier's character from seaside entertainment to an amusement park, with various fairground rides and roller coasters.
The pier remains popular with the public, with over four million visitors in 2016, and has been featured in many works of British culture, including the gangster thriller Brighton Rock, the comedy Carry On at Your Convenience and the Who's concept album and film Quadrophenia.Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport (IATA: BRU, ICAO: EBBR) (also called Brussel-Nationaal / Bruxelles-National (Brussels-National) or Zaventem) is an international airport 6.5 NM (12.0 km; 7.5 mi) northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 2018, more than 25 million passengers arrived or departed at Brussels Airport, making it the 24th busiest airport in Europe. It is located partially in Zaventem, partially in the Diegem area of Machelen, and partially in Steenokkerzeel, in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is home to around 260 companies, together directly employing 20,000 people and serves as the home base for Brussels Airlines and TUI fly Belgium.
The company operating the airport is known as The Brussels Airport Company N.V./S.A.; before 19 October 2006, the name was BIAC (Brussels International Airport Company), which was created by Belgian law through a merger of BATC with the ground operations departments of the RLW/RVA. Since 2011, the airport has been owned by the Toronto-based Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (39%), Macquarie Group (Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund I and Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund III) (36%) and the Belgian State (25%).On 22 March 2016 the airport's departures hall was severely damaged by two terrorist bomb blasts. The airport was closed until 3 April 2016, when it reopened with temporary facilities at less than 20% of its previous capacity. It has since returned to full operations, with a record of 90,000 passengers on 29 July 2016.Deerfield Beach, Florida
Deerfield Beach is a city in Broward County, Florida, United States, just south of the Palm Beach County line. The city is named for the numerous deer that once roamed the area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 75,018. It is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which is home to an estimated 6,158,824 inhabitants as of 2017.Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park is a waterside park on the North River (Hudson River), and is the part of the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway that extends from 59th Street south to Battery Park in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is a joint state and city collaboration, but is organized as a New York State public-benefit corporation. It is a 550-acre (2.2 km2) park stretching 4.5 miles (7.2 km), making it the second-biggest park in Manhattan after Central Park. The park arose as part of the West Side Highway replacement project in the wake of the abandoned Westway plan.
Bicycle and pedestrian paths, spanning the park north to south, open up the waterfront for recreational use. The park includes tennis and soccer fields, batting cages, children's playground, dog run, and many other features. The parkland also incorporates several rebuilt North River piers along its length, formerly used for shipping.
Hudson River Park connects many other recreational sites and landmarks. It runs through the Manhattan neighborhoods of Lower Manhattan (including Battery Park City, World Trade Center, and Tribeca), Greenwich Village (including the West Village and Meatpacking District), Chelsea, and Midtown West (which includes Hudson Yards and Hell's Kitchen/Clinton).London River Services
London River Services Limited is a division of Transport for London (TfL), which manages passenger transport—leisure-oriented tourist services and commuter services—on the River Thames in London.
It does not own or operate any boats but licenses the services of operators.River service had been a common means of transport in London for centuries, but died off in the early 1900s, as transportation was enhanced (and river traffic somewhat blocked) with a proliferation of bridges and tunnels. With these numerous north-south crossings of the Thames, which is generally no more than 300m wide as it runs through central London, the revival of river boat services in London therefore mostly travel east or west along the Thames rather than across it; the only major cross-river ferry services are to be found further downstream where the river is wider.
The decision to revive London's river service network moved forward in 1997 with the launch of “Thames 2000”, a £21-million project (£38 million today) to regenerate the River Thames in time for the Millennium Celebrations and create new passenger transport services on the Thames. While the service is not as extensive as those of Hong Kong or Sydney, it has been growing: in 2007, more than 0.7 million commuters travelled by river on the Thames Clippers service, one of the numerous operators on the system; in 2013 the Thames Clippers service had grown to 3.3 million, as it had become more integrated into the tube and bus ticketing network; in 2014 their figure was 3.8 million; in 2015 it was forecasted that their ridership would increase to 4.3 million by 2016, supported by the addition of new Clipper boats. By 2018, there were 21 different operators carrying daily commuter, leisure, charter, or sightseeing passengers to various combinations of the 33 piers on the system.Natasha St-Pier
Natasha St-Pier (born 10 February 1981) is a Canadian singer of Acadian origin who has spent most of her career in France. She was coach in the second and third season of The Voice Belgique (The Voice of Belgium).Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a 3,300-foot-long (1,010 m) pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. It is located in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area. The Navy Pier currently encompasses more than fifty acres of parks, gardens, shops, restaurants, family attractions and exhibition facilities and is one of the top destinations in the Midwestern United States ("Midwest"), drawing nearly two million visitors annually. It is one of the most visited attractions in the entire Midwest and is Chicago's number one tourist attraction.NorthPort Batang Pier
The NorthPort Batang Pier is a Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) team that first played in the 2012–13 PBA season. The team took over the franchise of the Powerade Tigers in 2012 after it was sold to Sultan 900 Capital, Inc. Besides NorthPort, team owner Mikee Romero also co-owned the AirAsia Philippine Patriots of the ASEAN Basketball League.Pier (architecture)
A pier, in architecture, is an upright support for a structure or superstructure such as an arch or bridge. Sections of structural walls between openings (bays) can function as piers.Pier Gerlofs Donia
Pier Gerlofs Donia (c. 1480 – 28 October 1520) was a Frisian rebel leader and pirate. He is best known by his West Frisian nickname Grutte Pier ("Big Pier"; in the pre-1980 West Frisian spelling written as Greate Pier), or by the Dutch translation Grote Pier which referred to his legendary size and strength.
His life is mostly shrouded in legend. Based upon a description now attributed to Pier's contemporary Petrus Thaborita, the 19th-century historian Conrad Busken Huet wrote that Grutte Pier wasPier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini (Italian: [ˌpjɛr ˈpaːolo pazoˈliːni]; 5 March 1922 – 2 November 1975) was an Italian film director, poet, writer, and intellectual, who also distinguished himself as an actor, journalist, novelist, playwright, and political figure. He remains a controversial personality in Italy due to his blunt style and the focus of some of his works on taboo sexual matters, but he is an established major figure in European literature and cinematic arts. His murder prompted an outcry in Italy and its circumstances continue to be a matter of heated debate.Port
A port is a maritime facility which may comprise one or more wharves where ships may dock to load and discharge passengers and cargo. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, some ports, such as Hamburg, Manchester and Duluth, are many miles inland, with access to the sea via river or canal.
Today, by far the greatest growth in port development is in Asia, the continent with some of the world's largest and busiest ports, such as Singapore and the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Ningbo-Zhoushan.Ryde Pier
Ryde Pier is an early 19th century pier serving the town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. It is the world's oldest seaside pleasure pier.Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California that is over 100 years old. With a breakwater constructed in 1934.Southend-on-Sea
Southend-on-Sea ( (listen)), commonly referred to simply as Southend, is a town and wider unitary authority area with borough status in southeastern Essex, England. It lies on the north side of the Thames Estuary, 40 miles (64 km) east of central London. It is bordered to the north by Rochford and to the west by Castle Point. It is home to the longest leisure pier in the world, Southend Pier. London Southend Airport is located 1.5 NM (2.8 km; 1.7 mi) north of the town centre.
Southend-on-Sea originally consisted of a few poor fishermen's huts and farms at the southern end of the village of Prittlewell. In the 1790s, the first buildings around what was to become the High Street of Southend were completed. In the 19th century, Southend's status of a seaside resort grew after a visit from Princess Caroline of Brunswick, and Southend Pier was constructed. From the 1960s onwards, the town declined as a holiday destination, Southend redeveloped itself as the home of the Access credit card, due to it having one of the UK's first electronic telephone exchanges. After the 1960s, much of the town centre was developed for commerce and retail, and many original structures were lost to redevelopment. An annual seafront airshow, started in 1986 when it featured a flypast by Concorde on a passenger charter flight, used to take place each May and became one of Europe's largest free airshows. The show has not been held since 2012 due to a lack of sponsorship and funding cuts.Vancouver International Airport
Vancouver International Airport (IATA: YVR, ICAO: CYVR) is located on Sea Island in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, about 12 km (7.5 mi) from Downtown Vancouver. It is the second busiest airport in Canada by aircraft movements (306,799) and passengers (25.9 million), behind Toronto Pearson International Airport. It is often described as a trans-Pacific hub, with non-stop daily flights to Asia, Europe, Oceania, the United States, Mexico and other airports within Canada. It is a hub for Air Canada and WestJet, and an operating base for Air Transat. Vancouver International Airport is one of eight Canadian airports that have US Border Preclearance facilities. It is also one of the few major international airports to have a terminal for scheduled floatplanes.
The airport has won several notable international best airport awards. It won the Skytrax Best North American Airport award in 2007 and 2010 through 2019, for a record 10 consecutive years. The airport also made the list of top 10 airports in the world for the first time in 2012, rated at 9th (2012), 8th (2013), and 9th (2014) overall. It is the only North American airport included in the top 10 for 2013 and 2014. YVR also retains the distinction of Best Canadian Airport in the regional results.Vancouver International Airport is located on Sea Island, which is owned by Transport Canada and is managed by Vancouver Airport Authority, a not-for-profit organization.Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour is a natural landform harbour separating Hong Kong Island in the south from the Kowloon Peninsula to the north. The harbour's deep, sheltered waters and strategic location on the South China Sea were instrumental in Hong Kong's establishment as a British colony and its subsequent development as a trading centre.
Throughout its history, the harbour has seen numerous reclamation projects undertaken on both shores, many of which have caused controversy in recent years. Environmental concerns have been expressed about the effects of these expansions, in terms of water quality and loss of natural habitat. It has also been proposed that benefits of land reclamation may be less than the effects of decreased harbour width, affecting the number of vessels passing through the harbour. Nonetheless Victoria Harbour still retains its founding role as a port for thousands of international vessels each year.
The harbour is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. Lying in the middle of the territory's dense urban region, the harbour is the site of annual fireworks displays and its promenades are used as gathering places for tourists and residents.West Pier
The West Pier is a pier in Brighton, England. It was designed by Eugenius Birch, opening in 1866 and closing in 1975. The pier was the first to be Grade I listed in Britain but has become increasingly derelict since closure.
The pier was constructed during a boom in pleasure pier building in the 1860s, and was designed to attract tourists to Brighton. It was the town's second pier, joining the Royal Suspension Chain Pier of 1823. It was extended in 1893, and a concert hall was added in 1916. The pier reached its peak attendance during this time, with 2 million visitors between 1918 and 1919. Its popularity began to decline after World War II, and concerts were replaced by a funfair and tearoom. A local company took ownership in 1965, but could not meet the increased maintenance cost, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. They could not find a suitable buyer, so the pier closed in 1975 and subsequently fell into disrepair.
The West Pier Trust now owns the pier and has proposed various plans to renovate it. Some schemes have been opposed by local residents and the owners of the nearby Palace Pier, who have claimed unfair competition. The pier gradually collapsed during the early 21st century. Major sections collapsed in late 2002, and two fires in March and May 2003 left little of the original structure. Subsequently, English Heritage declared it to be beyond repair. Structured demolition took place in 2010 to make way for the observation tower i360; further structural damage from storms has occurred since.