The Worthing Pier Company Ltd was formed in 1860 to build a 960 ft pier from Worthing’s seafront. It was designed by Sir Robert Rawlinson and the first pile was sunk on July 4th 1861. The pier officially opened to the public in April 1862.
In 1874 the first entertainment appeared on the pier. Daily band performances started.
It wasn’t until 1888 that widening work on the decking began and in 1889 the first Southern Pavilion was built. The pier became a regular mooring point for paddle steamers, though only at high tide! More recently this tradition has been revived with visits by the Waverley.
The pier has suffered it’s fair share of disaster. On Easter Monday 1913, the decking was washed away between the Southern Pavilion and shore in 80 mph winds. The pavilion became known as Easter Island. Worked commenced immediately to repair the damage and the pier reopened in May 1914.
The original Southern Pavilion was destroyed by fire on 10th September 1933. Locals joined the fire brigade in saving furniture, and ripping the decking from the pier to prevent it’s spread. The Pier and Pavilion were rebuilt and reopened in 1935, in it’s current Art Deco style.
Amid the threat of invasion in 1939, a 120 foot hole was blasted through the decking. The pier was used as recreation for the troops during the war. After the war, with building materials in short supply, the pier was only finally fully reopened in 1949.
The Southern Pavilion opened as a nightclub in the early 90’s but was closed due to underage drinking and anti-social behaviour. An application to reopen the nightclub was refused in 2011.
The Southern Pavilion is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment reminiscent of it’s original Art Deco days. It will reopen in April, providing a licensed café and wedding and event venue.