Pier Road Fish Kiosk takes to the air on route to its new home

Despite the high winds and difficult conditions, Littlehampton’s favourite Fish Mongers took to the air today on route to its new temporary home.

Fish Kiosk moving 1Preparations underway this morning (Wednesday, 6th November 2013) to move the Kiosk.

Although work began on moving the kiosk a couple of weeks ago, but various technical difficulties delayed it removal until finally this morning it was ready to go.

Fish Kiosk moving 2All ready for lift off.

Fish Kios moving 3The Kiosk is now off the ground.

Fish Kiosk moving 4All going well as the kiosk moves to the left of the picture ready to be swung over the Hares fencing.

Fish Kiosk moving 6Moving towards the Hares fencing..

Fish Kiosk moving 7Over the Hares fencing and almost there – just the matter of a BT phonebox (yes we still have one in Pier Road..) to negotiate over.

Fish Kiosk moving 8Riverside Fish Kiosk as you’ve never seen it before.

Fish Kiosk Moving 9Look at that tight squeeze with the BT Phonebox.

Fish Kiosk moving 10Almost there.

Fish Kiosk moving 11Riverside Fish safely in it’s new home. What a perfect fit.

The kiosk which was believed to weigh 4 tonnes, actually gave a true weight of 6 tonnes when under the lifting straps, which meant further adjustments were necessary before it could take to the air.

While this was all going on, the larger crane arrived in Arun Parade ready to take up its place. This larger crane, circa 100 tonnes  pictured below will be used to lift in the giant sheet piling that will create the framework for the sea defences.


Some past of views of Pier Road since the 1900s.

Sit back and enjoy some past views of Pier Road’s changing fortunes since the early 1900s. (As will all pictures on the Diaries, just click on them to expand)

Pier Road Littlehampon 1This wonderful picture of Pier Road was taken sometime between 1900 and 1909. The Post Office Date Stamp on the rear of the postcard was June 1909 and was sent to a Miss Violet Houghdon in Balham and reads:

Dear Violet,

We are having a lovely time, the weather has turned out to be very good after all.

love from

A Swan

The above picture is particularly interesting as it shows Pier Road as having very little retail/cafe premises as the area at this time was largely concerned with the business of fishing. You can see that a number of the buildings in Pier Road are single storey.

Pier Road Road

Above view as it is today. (prior to the current sea defence works starting).

Pier Road Littlehampton

Another view of Pier Road as it was with single storey buildings.

This postcard is date marked the 25th September 1911.

As you can see the area in front of the buildings was used by the working fishermen as a hard standing area to mend nets and attend to boats when the tide was out.

Pier Road 3The above picture, which is regrettably undated, shows fishermen working on their nets in Pier Road. The buildings behind them are (from the left) Coastal Cycles and the long building is today owned by the Ministry of Defence and is home to Sussex Army Cadets. I’m not too sure what the buildings were being used for at the time the above picture was taken. If anyone has ideas, please let me know.

Here you can see a motor car in the background and the river has been separated by a wall. If you look at the bicycle in the background it gives an idea as to the height of the wall from the roadside, which doesn’t appear to be very high.

Pier Road 4The above is a splendid view of the harbour and Pier Road right up to the harbour entrance. The spot where this picture was taken from is where the new Riverside Walkway and residential development is located.

The postcard is date stamped 25th June 1925 and reads:

Dear Mother, Dad and all

So many thanks for the letter I received this morning, which was sent from London. So sorry dad was worse. I expect to be returning tomorrow and will be visiting in the evening.

My love to all,

your loving son.

Of note in the above picture is you can see the Windmill in the distance and the picture was taken prior to Harbour Park (or Butlins as it previously was) had been built.

Pier Road Littlehampton 2This fantastic picture shows the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour from the West Beach.

The rear of the card is undated and blank but you can see the picture pre-dates the building of Billy Butlins Funfair, today known as Harbour Park. Doesn’t the original windmill make an eye catching feature, and what about those beautiful coastguard cottages? This area was later cleared to make way for Billy Bultin’s development. A previous era’s Littlehampton regeneration programme.

SCN_0024Littlehampton’s Annual Regatta was a real crowd-puller as you can see in the above picture. Look at that splendid Windmill in the background.

The house in the picture was known as ‘Miss Streeter’s Bungalow’.

SCN_0023Then everything changed when Billy Bultin opened his seafront amusement park today known as Harbour Park. Out went the coastguard cottages and the Windmill. Billy Bultin’s development wasn’t without controversy and it’s said that many in the town labelled the new development as ‘candy floss hell’.

However, this was Littlehampton in its heyday and it’s easy to see why many wanted a seafront amusement park. It certainly was hugely successful.  Visitors flocked to Littlehampton for either day trips or holidays and the tourist trade grew rapidly.

Pier Road benefited enormously from the shift from fishing to tourism as the properties, previously fishermen’s cottage were turned into restaurants and shops all aimed at the increasing number of tourists who came to Littlehampton. Many of them by rail.

Sadly it wasn’t to last. The  package holiday with the allure of guaranteed sunshine on far flung shores, and at a comparably low cost was just around the corner, which would prove to have devastating consequences for Littlehampton’s seasonal tourist trade.

Pier Road 5The above picture shows Pier Road in the 1960s when Pier Road was enjoying a boom.

The card is actually postmarked 21st May 1966. The previously rough shingle beach area has now been concreted over and the wall tidied up. There’s a notable absence of working fishing boats and the change from Pier Road from a small working fishing area to a holiday destination is now very much apparent.

SCN_0013The above picture shows the Littlehampton ferry with Pier Road in the background. I’ve always been told that the ferry was rowed across the river, however, I can’t help but noticing that this particular picture depicts an outboard engine on the rear and not an oar in sight…..

This card is postmarked 22nd May 1967.

Interesting that the boat scrubbing grid to the right of the picture is still pretty much as it appears today. However, the walkway that everyone is standing on was allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair than when the ferry was reinstated a couple of years ago, a new landing had to be created.

Steam Packet and the Ferry Here’s a great picture to finish on.

This was the original Littlehampton Ferry, a chain ferry, which operated between the East and West Bank. The ferry ran from outside the Steampacket public house and predated the construction of the first bridge.

In a future post, I’ll upload more pictures of Littlehampton harbour and it’s changing fortunes over the years and then look at Littlehampton seafront.

But for now, thanks for joining me.

Please do follow the Pier Road Diaries on twitter  @Pier_Road and make sure you sign up to receive regular updates from the blog, which you can do at the top right hand corner of this page.

Littlehampton Sea Defence Works gets underway.

The first in what I aim to be regular pictorial updates on the Sea Defence Works taking place in Pier Road, Littlehampton.

Week 1

At 5.35pm on Monday, 21st October, Pier Road was closed to vehicular traffic.

Pier Road closedAn eerie quiet descended on Pier Road as the traffic suddenly stopped but this was short lived as a number of motorists decided to ignore the Road Closed Signs, stop, get out of their vehicles, move the cones and then drive through regardless.

This pretty much continued until the following day when the contractors began erecting the heras fencing. Even then some drivers still drove through, but not in the same numbers as the previous evening.

However, no sooner was the road closed and it was open again as the result of a car crash in New Road junction Bayford Road.

Bayford road has now become the alternative route for traffic that would normally travel down Pier Road. Obviously, we can’t attribute the car crash on the traffic diversions, but it resulted in the contractors re-opening Pier Road for a period to allow traffic come down Pier Road while Bayford road was closed. Let’s hope there’s no more such traffic crashes or incidents, as Pier Road won’t be so easily opened in the future now the heras fencing and site infrastructure is in place.

Car accident in Bayford Road LittlehamptonThe traffic collision in New Road where two motor cars collided with each other with the silver car crashing into the Mobile Phone Shop’s window.

With this being the weekend of the bonfire celebrations, I raised concerns that given the potentially large flow of pedestrians that usually come down Pier Road, it would be perhaps a good idea if they left an extra wide gap for these large numbers to pass through.

Sergeant Roy Hodder, our always-helpful local Police Sergeant liaised with the site manager and between them they ensured that Pier Road had sufficient width to accommodate the numbers. Sadly, as events transpired the bonfire and parade were cancelled owing to the awful weather and Pier Road was quite literally void of it’s usual crowds.

I think the increased footway, which pretty much was a single carriage way wide led alot of people into a false sense of security and also perhaps gave a misleading impression as to how Pier Road will be for the duration of the works.

Surprisingly, no one I spoke to, apart from the businesses owners seemed to have any idea of why the road was closed. There seems to be a general unawareness that these works were due to take place.

Despite the awful weather, the Environment Agency have confirmed that they achieved all their first week’s goals and they’re on target.

These goals included:

  1. Closing the roads
  2. Erecting the heras fencing
  3. Completing road surveys and various other works that they’ve been unable to do while the road was open
  4. Preparations began for the new site for Riverside Fish Kiosk.

Our own business in Pier Road (Coastal Cycles) had a welcome boost to our sales with the sale of a fleet of four bikes to VolkerStevin the contractor whose building the scheme.

The bikes will be used by the contractors to cycle to and from the various locations that they’re operating from. Remember, or if you’re already not aware that this Project comprises of a number of areas divided up into  a number of ‘Reaches’ with the main contractors HQ now located at Railway Wharf in Littlehampton Harbour Board’s land.

 Reach 1  – Arun Parade

Reach 2 – Pier Road

Reach 3 – River Road

Environment Agency Bikes for the SchemeRepresentatives from the Environment Agency, VolkerStevin and the directors of Coastal Cycles hand over the new bikes for use during the scheme, which I am delighted to say, are already in regular use.

Week 2

The following Monday morning, work began on placing the heras fencing into its final position in preparation for the main works to come.

Littlehampton Sea Defence worksIt’s hard to describe how different the road feels with this reduced width. The pavement area is now only 2 metres wide something we all argued about during the consultation process as not being wide enough.

There were some shocked faces when they saw just how narrow this pavement is going to be. Remember, it’s going to be like this until June 2014. I can’t imagine the Easter weekend, let alone early summer.

You could argue, of course that this is nothing narrower than the existing pavement as was pointed out to us during the consultation process. However, as we pointed out back – you must measure this against the loss of the opposite side pavement and the fact you no longer side step momentarily into the road to create space for passing buggies, mobility scooters, pushchairs, prams and, how do I say this without causing offense? The wider amongst us..

Pier Road works by Environment AgencyAbove shows just how narrow the pavement really is and I think this is going to be one of the biggest challenges of the scheme – the free flow of pedestrian traffic.

Pier Road Sea Defence worksTo everyone’s relief the Green portable building pictured earlier was removed and is now located by the Oyster Pond. This green building will be the Scheme’s Information Centre and will be manned by Eric Smethurst, the scheme’s public liaison officer. And what a great guy he is. When we were first told by the Project Manager that the scheme would have a Liaison officer, my thoughts turned to bureaucracy personified with a high viz jacket and a rule book. But, Eric is just what’s needed for this scheme. A man whose enthusiasm and laughter is infectious and obviously loves what he does and has enormous engineering experience with projects just like this one.

I’m delighted to say that Eric has agreed to take part in a future  interview with the Pier Road Diaries where we’ll get an opportunity to ask him about his Visitor Information Centre, which incidentally, should be operational early next week, and his role.

Visitor Information Centre for the Sea DefencesThe Green Building located by the Oyster Pond is the scheme’s Visitor Information Centre, manned by Eric Smethhurst who’ll be happy to answer any questions and talk you through the details of how the flood defences will be built. There will also be lots of visuals and useful information.

works in Pier Road LittlehamptonAll the charter fishing boats have now been relocated to the Visitors Mooring area and local firm, Littlehampton Welding LTD have been busy working on the pontoons now that everything is being moved around.

Sea Defence work LittlehamptonThe ‘Nelson Steps’ have now been removed. These being the steps at the back of the Riverside Fish Kiosk and are regularly used by the local fishermen to land their catch to the fish kiosk. I’m not too sure where they’ll land their fish in the future as the whole area will be off limits for some time to come. Knowing Bob (the owner of the kiosk), I’d imagine he’s got it sussed.

Sea Defence Works LittlehamptonI had a very interesting and informative chat with the crane operator/driver who explained that this crane is a ’40 tonner’ and a mere baby to the 100 tonner that is due to arrive in Littlehampton next Wednesday. This larger crane will be used to lift in the heavy duty equipment to drive in the piles

At a previous consultation meeting, Andy Hills from VolkerStevin explained they will be using a ‘Vibro Piling Hammer’, which apparently, despite it’s name reduces the likelyhood of vibration on the surrounding area.

So if you want to see the heavy duty equipment arrive and be installed, next Wednesday (6th November) is the scheduled day for it all too arrive.

Fish Kiosk LittlehamptonThe Riverside Fish Kiosk, Pier Road’s hugely popular Fish Mongers is closed at the moment. This was pre-planned as the contractor needs to prepare the kiosk ready to be moved to it’s new, temporary location opposite the Nelson Hotel.  I spoke to the contractor earlier today and he explained to me although it will be lifted by the 40tonne crane, it won’t be specatularly flying through the air on it’s journey, more of being lifted a couple of mms off the ground and carefully, very carefully swung into position.

Once the Fish Kiosk re-opens, we’ll tweet this to our followers – so please make sure if you want to keep up-todate with all that’s going on you follow the Pier Road Diaries Twitter account @Pier_Road  make sure also you sign up to receive an email to advise you when the Pier Road Diaries are updated. With the scheme now underway, I’m hoping for at least twice weekly photo-blog posts, hopefully more.

All going to plan and on-time?

There’s been criticism that the Environment Agency haven’t yet erected the large banners they’d promised, advertising that all our businesses are open, haven’t yet been erected.

I have to take some of the blame for this as despite Andrew Walker’s (Environment Agency) continued reminders to me about supplying our logos, I’m afraid I didn’t get them to him until the Friday before before the road closed. But, I wasn’t the only one….(you know who you are)

In terms of time-scales.

At our last consultation meeting, we were given a presentation by the Contractor, Andy Hills who outlined the first three week’s programme and without boring you with a blow-by-blow programme, the project is on target, despite the appalling weather.

Can I just say a big thank you to Eric and his colleagues from VolkerStevin and Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency for being so helpful in allowing me to take pictures for the Diaries and also answer my many questions. With this sort of co-operation I should be able to keep you updated with all that’s going on.

And, please do remember, Pier Road is open as usual and there’s free car parking available in the West Green Car Park – just look out for the signs.