EDITORIAL – Redcar’s Two Piers

Accreditation The Redcar and Saltburn-by-the-Sea Gazette 11/11/1870 


            It is often the case in places where many contending interests conflict, that questions affecting those interests are long and fiercely debated, without a sufficient regard to facts. Seldom is it in faction fights that anything like reason is found, either to investigate the subject with calmness or to consider whether if it possible to unite the contending parties in one supreme effort for the common good. Besides, the claims of interested persons, there is usually much haze about the subject, and consequent ignorance in the minds of those who, without the necessary facts at their disposal, venture to prejudge questions which they do not fully understand, and upon their own arbitrary notions settle important questions involving the good not only of the community at large, but also of future generations. It is obvious to the unprejudiced observer that all important movements which involve the welfare of great numbers, and the expenditure of large sums of money, should be calmly deliberated upon; the facts being first carefully ascertained, and the counsel sought of those persons who are especially burst in the subject, either by scientific training, natural ability, or by all-important qualification, and enlarged experience.

            We are led to make these observations with reference to the recent debates on the subject of the construction of a Pier at Redcar, the site for which has been changed in a sudden and, to some persons and unexpected fashion. Only on Saturday last (05/11) a board was put up on the Espionage opposite King Street, on which appeared in the large characters, “Site of the Redcar Pier.” On Tuesday (08/11) the board had this appeared had disappeared; and because of the sudden removal can be stated in a few words. The Earl of Zetland, hearing that the King Street site would interfere with the landing ground of the fishermen -of whose interests. His Lordship has ever been the kind patron and protector – entered his protest against the construction of the per If started from King Street. His Lordship, however, has no desire to oppose the scheme further than to protect the interests of the fishermen; and on being consulted with regard to the Clarendon Street site (opposite the Church), at once withdrew his opposition.

            At this stage of the proceedings it has been decided to apply to the Board of Trade for an extension of the existing line of deviation, so asked to construct the Pier at Clarendon Street, where it is said deep water can be obtained at a distance of 1100 or 1200 feet from the Promenade, which, by all accounts could not be obtained at 1600 feet from King Street, if even deep water be reached at all from that site; and the fishermen say most decidedly not. So far, therefore, as the Pier itself is concerned, the change of sight is no disadvantage. On the contrary, we believe Clarendon Street to be the site at once indicated by nature and by nautical experience, as evidenced by the universal testimony of the fishermen, who will have at least practical knowledge of the coast. On the other hand, however, it is removing the Pier to a still greater distance from Coatham, where surveying is at this moment going on for a Pier, commencing opposite the Railway Station at Newcomen Terrace, and proceeding seawards on to – or rather over -West Scar.

            This remarkable scheme, which proposes to carry a Promenade and Pleasure Pier, although a most dangerous ledge of rock’s fraught with peril to the mariner, not only from the treacherous character of the rocks themselves, but also from the surf, which breaks over them with greater violence than on any other part of the coast – deserves especial attention, from its hazardous and difficult character. It is true that engineering skill, backed by large capital, can accomplish much; but it is, to say the least of it, doubtful whether a Pier built in such a situation will stand during the heavy storms to which our coast is subject, and we call especial attention to this obstacle because it seems to have been lost sight of in the eager desire to place a Pier contiguous to Newcomen Terrace.

            Each scheme has its own especial set of agitators; but there is another and increasing section of the community, who seeing the absurdity of the construction of two Piers, refused to give their support to either, simply on the ground that one Pier would amply suffice for all possible requirements of the two places – that one such Pier would pay, and two would not. In the interest of both places (practically one), we asked whether it would not be worthwhile at this juncture to put aside all the rivalry and jealousy, and carry out the suggestion of an old resident.

            Mr . C. C. OXLEY, who has lived more than 40 years on the spot – viz., To call in some disinterested and eminent engineer, requesting him to survey the coast opposite the two places, and point out the spot where a Pier ought to be constructed, so as to be an efficient landing place for steamers as well as a promenade, thus allowing the question to stand on its own merits rather than on the ex parte evidence and thinly veiled partisanship which at present characterises the promoters of both schemes. Investors have at least the right to ask the promoters of such undertakings. What are the chances of success, and on what darter their calculations are based; whether on facts which demonstrate the best site for a Pier, or whether because the building of a Pier in such or such a place will enhance the value of property, a purely secondary consideration to all except those personally concerned.