Harwich – Ha’Penny Pier


I love a nice pier, there’s something quite exotic about walking out over the sea whilst peering (no pun intended) through the holes in the wood at the waves crashing below. Harwich’s pier doesn’t quite have the water underneath which is being flung against the sand by the power of the moon, but it still allows for a little walk out.


The pier has a kink in the middle of it, towards the right is where the entrance is located and off to the left is where the landing area is for the ferry across to Felixstowe. There’s a little cafe located at the entrance to the pier, as well as small tourist information facility which is operated by the Harwich Society.

This is what the pier looked like at the end of the nineteenth century, but today the spur going off to the left is missing which is because it burnt down in July 1923. A fair number of sources give the date as 1927, but it was Friday 13th July 1923, perhaps there’s something in these omens. This section of the pier had been closed off during the First World War, although fishermen often jumped the barrier, but the planned repairs caused by a lack of maintenance were aborted when it caught fire.


There’s Felixstowe in the background.


The pier’s information sign and it mentions that it opened on 2 July 1853 and originally cost ha’penny to enter, hence the name.


Some of the artwork located, or perhaps temporarily dumped, on the bridge. It’s Esturiana and is a community artwork which is apparently a sign of local creativity. I can’t write that I’m particularly engaged by it as I’m struggling to understand the story it’s trying to tell, but everyone likes different things and at least they’ve put a sign up to explain to visitors who created it.

More recently, there was nearly another disaster when in August 2020 there was a fire which fortunately didn’t spread as the fire brigade were alerted promptly and they were able to quell the flames. There’s been some recent restoration work to stop bits of the pier falling down, so its future seems secure. These are really not ideal structures to have to look after, they are quickly damaged by the elements, but at least this pier has survived albeit not as much as there once was.

There’s more information about this rather charming little pier at https://www.harwich-society.co.uk/maritime-heritage-trail/hapenny-pier-visitors-centre/.