Eugenius Birch - Biography - Piers


On his return to England, Eugenius brought his global experiences to bear on the developing English fascination with seaside holidays, specifically the construction of piers. With the railways now allowing easy and cheap access to the seaside, and the known health benefits of clean air, businessmen in coastal towns were competing against each other to create the longest and most ornate piers to attract the greatest number of tourists.

In 1853, a group of Margate businessmen approach Birch to build a pier. In its design and construction, he brought two innovations:

  • His time spent in India brought about style innovations which were directly influenced from the continent
  • As opposed to the then accepted wooden pile hammering to create the pier, Birch fitted screw blades to his iron piles, to create a deeper and far more resilient base support

The result was a stylish and resilient Margate Pier, which survived storms and two world wars up until a storm in January 1978; while its foundations survive today despite direct attempts at demolition.

The result was a series of new commissions, which eventually ran to 14 piers in total, the most famous of which is the West Pier, Brighton. His effect on pier construction techniques can be measured in the fact that from 1862 to 1872, 18 new pleasure piers were built, the majority using screw piling. His last pier was Plymouth, opened in the year he died, 1884.

Read more about this topic:  Eugenius Birch, Biography

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Famous quotes containing the word piers:

    Three miles long and two streets wide, the town curls around the bay ... a gaudy run with Mediterranean splashes of color, crowded steep-pitched roofs, fishing piers and fishing boats whose stench of mackerel and gasoline is as aphrodisiac to the sensuous nose as the clean bar-whisky smell of a nightclub where call girls congregate.
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