Pier celebrates its 115th birthday

The pier has always been at the heart of Kilcreggan.

Kilcreggan’s pier is 115 years old today, having opened on September 25, 1897.

The last original wooden pier still in regular use on the Clyde, Kilcreggan pier and its former pier office is a category B listed building.

A Victorian Burgh by Richard Reeve tells some of the background to the ‘new’ pier’s construction from the annals of the Helensburgh & Gareloch Times, which records that in November 1896 the improvements at the pier – undertaken after the demise of Coulport’s under-used pier – were ‘on a more extensive scale than expected’: “It is intended to have a new pier-head entirely; 20 greenhead and 30 pitch pine piles will be used in its construction. Iron rails are to be used as diagonals for binding the structure, and it is stated that the whole is to be embedded in cement.”

Subsequently the Marquis of Lorne gave orders for the gangway to be widened by five feet, and a report in May 1897 adds:

“The Kilcreggan shore is yearly becoming more popular amongst those who prefer to spend their holidays in peace and quietness, ‘away from the madding crowd’. The scarcity of small dwelling houses and the total absence of licensed premises have kept the place reserved to a degree, while the neighbouring villages on the coast have increased by leaps and bounds.”

Mr Reeve’s book goes on to record that a total of 39 steamers called at Kilcreggan pier during a single day in 1897; nowadays the PS Waverley – the world’s last sea-going paddle steamer – still calls there during the summer but the only other scheduled visitor is the regular Clydelink service to Gourock.

In March 400 people gathered in protest on the pier amid fears for its future following the change of operator for the daily ferry service.

Pictures courtesy of Gail Young

2 Comments

  1. So let’s get this right… Years 1-114, pier does the job. Year 115, some bright spark sees what everyone else has always missed – it’s rubbish and the problems with ferries are because of the port not the boats, so we should waste a fortune building pontoons!

  2. Will it still be in use in another 85 years? Perhaps it’s doomed already. Still a deafening silence from SPT about the inexplicable, unexplained and hidden subsidy to Clydelink in the form of a ferry skipper. The piermaster is still on duty, so that’s another chunk out of the supposed costsaving offered by Clydelink’s bid. Are ABC doing it out of misplaced largesse, or is the realisation sinking in that the service will be dreadful enough this winter without the added risk of the boat being simply unable to moor up in more than a stiff breeze?

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