Southend Timeline

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Southend Pier Fire 2005

On this day of Sunday 9th October 2011, Southend will not be celebrating an event that once again threw its World famous pier in to the news headline across the world.

For on this day in 2005 Southend Pier once again faced destruction.

It was on Sunday 9th October 2005 a fire broke out over a mile out to sea within the old pier head of Southend Pier.

The fire raged for some time before the alarm was raised at 10:40pm, the inferno saw flames leaping over 40ft into the sky, and was visible from the Kent coast.

Over 100 fire fighters battled for over six hours to bring the blaze under control but it took almost many many more to finally extinguish the fire.

In the hours that the fire raged it destroyed the railway station, pub, gift shop, snack bar, historic post box, ornate RNLI collection box, Victorian phone box and ice-cream shop.



A 100ft section of the decking collapsed into the sea taking the gutted gift shop with it. 

Much of the wooden planking was destroyed, but the main iron structure was largely undamaged.

Heat from the fire was so intense that the Pier Railway tracks buckled and the platform melted.

A flatbed works wagon stored within the station was reduced to its chassis only.

On Wednesday 12th October the fire re-ignited

Luckily the fire services were on scene quickly and were able to keep the fire confined to a small area of decking.

The pier was closed to the public.

The pier head Lifeboat station was cut off, to make sure the lifeboat was available crews were based at the station 24hours a day, with all supplies ferried out by the shore based lifeboat.

Then on the 1st December 2005 the first mile of pier was re-opened, a temporary viewing platform had been set up, visitor numbers were restricted to 48 at a time on the viewing platform. 

A temporary bridge was put across the gap left by the fire to permit access to the lifeboats saving the crews the task of living in the boathouse.

The pier would not fully re-open to the public until Saturday 5th August 2006.

The station has since been replaced, a small tea bar has been opened and the toilet facilities have also been replaced. 

The decking has been re-laid and currently remains an open space with seating placed around the side.


Naturally such a fire was reported extensively in the press, not just in the UK but across the world.

Here we take a look at how a few of the British national newspapers reported on the fire.

Daily Star.


Daily Mirror 











The Sun

Daily Mail 








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