THE owners of a historic attraction have vowed to continue using the landmark to help the community ahead of its milestone anniversary.

Clacton Pier is set to celebrate its 150th anniversary on July 27 while also commemorating the beginning of the seaside town.

The pier was opened in 1871 and was the first building to be built in Clacton after it was established by civil engineer Peter Bruff, who bought 50 acres of land in 1865.

The landmark is now run by Billy and Elliot Ball, who fulfilled a dream when they took over the attraction back in 2009, having been involved in the leisure industry.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Although the pier dates back to 1871 and parts of the original structure are still standing, major improvements have taken place and it has been greatly modernised.

An eye-catching big wheel, for example, which has been installed to commemorate the town’s birthday, has recently been unveiled, as well as other new rides.

Eight free fireworks displays – six of which will take place each week of the school summer holidays - are planned to mark the occasion.

Clacton Pier director Billy Ball, said the pier has played a major and integral part in the town’s history over the past 150 years.

“My brother, Elliot, and I are the current custodians of this iconic seaside attraction and are fully aware of the massive responsibility this entails,” he said.

“We proudly follow in the footsteps of a number of previous owners – the most significant of which were the Kingsmans – and everyone has played their part in maintaining the pier for the enjoyment of many generations.

“Although steeped in history, it is not stuck in the past and has had to modernise greatly in recent years to try to bring in the finances needed to keep the attraction in business - and this is an on-going challenge.

“Clacton Pier has always played a significant role in the community – and supporting the community – and that will certainly continue while it is in our family’s ownership. The health of the town has always been closely linked with the pier and vice versa.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Mr Ball added: “We have worked closely with Tendring Council and other businesses in the town to help promote Clacton as a traditional British seaside resort with a modern twist,” he said.

“There has been a great deal of both public and private investment and we are sure that the town’s popularity will continue to thrive for another 150 years and beyond.”