REDCAR – Pier Driving the first pile

Accreditation Cleveland Standard 01/09/1871

 Driving the first pile of Redcar Pier


     Monday, the 26th inst, was a day of high rejoicing at Redcar, in honour of the commencement of the Redcar Pier. The first pile which was driven by Rear-Admiral Chaloner in the presence of the directors, shareholders, engineers, contractors, and a large concourse of people, including visitors and inhabitants of Redcar and the district. The weather was propitious, and the proceedings of the day were of the heartiest character, and were characterised by the most complete success.

     The site chosen for the pier is Clarendon Street nearly opposite the church, in fact nearly at the east end of the town, and was indicated by a display of bunting. The pier will run east north east, and will be 1,300 feet long and 20 feet broad. The head of the pier will be widened out to an area of 114 feet long by 65 feet broad, and a separate landing stage is to be placed beyond the head for the landing of passengers from steamers and cobles. The piles are of cast iron, 9 inches in diameter, sharply pointed at the end, and will be driven by a heavy pile driving machine into the rock. To these piles will be attached columns placed in pairs 30 feet apart and battering inwards. Additional stability will be given to these columns by a strong wrought iron bracing and on the top of these columns will be ornamental cast iron spandrills stretching between each pair of columns. These spandrills will be connected transversely by flooring joists of timber, on which the planking of the pier will be fixed.

     A handrail of wrought iron will run along each side of the pier, and at intervals seats will be placed for the accommodation of visitors. The upper railing of the palisade will carry gas to eighteen lamps of a very beautiful design. The engineers for the pier are Messer’s. J. E. and A. Dowson, Great Queen Street Westminster, London, the contractors being Messer’s. Head, Wrightson and Co., of Stockton on Tees, and from what is known of both the engineers and  the contractors, we feel convinced that the pier will not only prove an ornament to Redcar , but will also prove a first class piece of workmanship.


     The procession was formed at the offices of the Redcar Pier Company, High Street, and at half past eleven proceeded to the site, where a pile driver had been erected. The procession were as follows :

The Police.

The Redcar and Coatham Band.




The solicitors and secretary to the company.

Admiral Chaloner and the Rev. W. Milburne.


Inhabitants and Visitors.


     Upon arriving at the site the band continued playing for a few minutes, after which The Secretary (Mr. J. H. Webster) made the following address to Admiral Chaloner :-

     “Sir – On behalf of the directors of the Redcar Pier Company (limited) I am desired to ask you to do them the honour of driving the first pile of Redcar Pier,  for which ceremony all the necessary preparations have been made by the engineers and contractors, and in doing so, I am also to convey to you, in their names and also in the names of the shareholders, the expression of their deep sense of, and warmest thanks for the great ability, energy, and courtesy with which you have hitherto filled the position of chairman and conducted the company’s affairs, and it is their earnest hope and wish that you and Mrs Chaloner may have long life and happiness, and very many opportunities of deriving pleasure and recreation from the use of the pier when it is completed.”

     Admiral Chaloner then said – I have a great deal of pleasure in undertaking this duty. I am connected, and have been all my life, with seafaring matters, and anything that sails upon, or goes into the sea, is a matter of interest to me. But the interest is quite put in the background by those of Redcar who are interested in this undertaking. It is a very great pleasure indeed to have that confidence reposed in me, and I trust that I shall be able to show that that confidence is not misplaced, by using every means in my power, as chairman of the company, to fulfil the duties and further the undertaking. I undertake this duty with great sense of the responsibility, and at the same time with great pleasure. (Hear, hear,) Before beginning a ceremony of this sort, I trust that everybody will feel it just and right that one should ask the clergyman of the parish to engage in prayer.

     The Rev. W. Milburne then offered up an appropriate prayer.

     The engineers and contractors then fixed the rope to the weight used in driving piles, and the same having been raised, during which the band played “ God Save the Queen,” Admiral Chaloner pulled the rope, and the weight fell upon the pile amidst the loud and continued cheering, three more being given for Lord Zetland.

     Admiral Chaloner then said – Ladies and Gentlemen- you have now kindly assisted at the first step towards the erection of a pier at Redcar. You see that it is really a matter of fact, and not a showy pile, but absolutely one of the piles that is driven to carry the pier out. If you look to the left of the promenade you will see where the abutment of the pier is to be, and if you look out to sea you will observe the lifeboat, and on the left of it a red flag. The red flag is the extent of the pier, and though it may look a short distance from here, as distances over the sea do look short to those unaccustomed to them, yet it is a distance of 1,300 feet, so that when the undertaking is complete, there will be a promenade of 1,300 feet over the sea at high water. At the head of the pier there will be a large head where visitors may assemble to hear the band play, and be sheltered from the wind and sea. It will be a large space , 114 feet one way by 65 the other, so that if you had a ball room of that size you might dance at least 2,000 persons. But piers are not made for dancing nor for ornament, and I am afraid that whenever you see piers – I have seen a good many – they can scarcely be called beautiful objects because there are so many straight lines and so few curves. But the object is one of utility as well as pleasure. Persons who come to visit the place may walk over the sea and obtain all the advantages to be derived from sea air. That is the object the company have in view, and it is to be hoped that hereafter, when the undertaking is carried out to completion, that the inhabitants of Redcar and the visitors who are kind enough to come and visit, will by heir kindness patronise the pier, not only for their own pleasure and amusement, but also to tend towards the success of the amusement but also to ten towards the success of the undertaking ultimately.  (Hear, hear,) I don’t think I need detain you any longer upon this matter. I see a large concourse of people around me now, and I trust that the concourse by this day twelve months will be the other end of the pier, and declare the pier open for public use. Thanking you for your attendance this day, I will now perform the duty entrusted to me and declare the first pile of Redcar pier driven. (Loud and continued cheers.)

     Cheers were then given for Admiral Chaloner and “The Ladies,” after which the band played “Rule Britannia.”

     The procession then reformed, and proceeded along the sands to the Royal Hotel, the band played “Cheer Boys, Cheer.”

The Luncheon

     At the close of the open air proceedings, a public luncheon took place at the Royal Hotel, when about 40 gentlemen sat down. The chair was taken by Admiral Chaloner, the vice-chair being taken by Messer’s. J. H. Webster, J. G. Thompson and C. A. Head.

     The chairman proposed “The Queen, the Prince and Princess of Wales and the rest of the Royal Family.” Which were duly honoured, and after which Dr. Bennett proposed “The Army, Navy and volunteers,” coupled with the name of the chairman.

     In reply the Chairman returned thanks on behalf of the Navy and Volunteers, and was sorry that there was no gentleman present to respond on behalf the army. As for the volunteers he did like to hear them called soldiers, because they were merely citizens , and bound to use the big gun, and the rifle because they believed it to be their duty.

     The Chairman next proposed “The health of the Archbishop of York, and the clergy of the diocese,” coupled with the name of the Rev. W. Milburne.

     The Rev. W. Milburne in reply, expressed his pleasure at the fact that the pier was about to be constructed. It had been so long talked about that some were afraid it would never be erected.

     The Chairman then rose to propose the toast of the day, “Success to Redcar Pier.” In doing so he said it might be permitted too say how he became connected with the Redcar pier, as it was an odd thing for a man not living in Redcar to fill the proud position of chairman. He was asked to become chairman, and when asked he felt it to be a great compliment, but he would not accept it at first. He took time to considerate, and when he reflected that as a boy, from five or six years of age, he used to play about the sands and live in Cliff House, he felt it to be his duty to do what he could for the benefit of the town. (Cheers) Having been asked to be the chairman that was how he happened to be present that day as such. They had that day laid a solid foundation, for, by driving the first pile they had that day shown to the world, their friends and their foes, but they had them- that they were in earnest, and they were going to carry out the work in spite of everything, and he had no doubt that they would succeed in spite of all the difficulties. He hated to say unkind things, but he must say one, and that was that they had received unfair opposition, for in the last stage of the bill, when they were prepared to allow all things to go smoothly and to have no more bother, the opponents who had lodged and opposition against the bill in the house of Lords, and put the committee to great expense, withdrew it at the last moment. Now that they had got fairly started, it only required the support of the public to be given to be given to the directors to ensure success.

     The Directors were kindly supported by Earl Zetland, who had taken a deep interest in it, and who had already helped them considerably in a pecuniary point of view. He had no doubt that if God were pleased to spare his life that he would see the pier completed and enjoyed by the inhabitants and visitors of Redcar, and he trusted that he and all those present might again meet to bid another success to the Redcar pier. (Loud cheers)

     The toast having been drunk with cheers.

     Mr. J.H. Webster proposed “The health of the Right Hon. The Earl of Zetland, the Lord Lieutenant of the County, and Lord of the Manor,” and In the course of his remarks stated that the noble earl had already taken £1,000 worth of shares in the pier.

     Mr. Head, in a neat speech proposed “ The health of the Chairman and the Directors.” In the course of his remarks he stated that if the weather was favourable, and the winter was not extra severe, he hoped that the work would be completed before the 1st of June next.

     The Chairman having replied.

     Mr. Dowson proposed “The health of the Visitors,” which was responded to by Mr. Kaye.

     This concluded the toast list.






dean July 16, 2011 Redcar