Bognor Regis’ pier was built in 1865, marking its 150th birthday in 2015. However, little remains today of the original pier. In 1865, the pier was 1000 feet long (that’s around 305 metres, the length of three football pitches!). In 1880, a small bandstand was added at the end of the pier, followed by a pavilion in 1900.
Bognor Pier 1910 - Copyright of Cartland (1979) Bygone Bognor - Picture 98
The furthest Bognor Birdman Rally jump to date was 89.2 metres!
Arial view of Bognor Regis Pier 1936 - Copyright of Alford (2002) The Paradise Rocks: A 1930’s Childhood in Bognor and a Little Local History - Picture 98
In World War II (1939-1945), the pier was named HMS St. Barbara as it was used as a Royal Navy observation station. During this time, the middle section of the pier was removed to stop the Germans from invading. Between 1964 and 1965, severe storms caused the end of the pier to collapse, causing the loss of the pavilion.
Collapsed Pavilion 1965 - Copyright of Alford (2002) The Paradise Rocks: A 1930’s Childhood in Bognor and a Little Local History - Picture 99
From 1978, the pier had become the location for the annual Birdman Rally which continues today in West Sussex. This event involves people jumping off the end of the pier in contraptions they have built to help them fly!
Modern Bognor Regis Beach and Pier - Copyright Danielle Pitman