Southport Pier is a pleasure pier in Southport, Merseyside, England. Opened in August 1860, it is the oldest iron pier in the country. Its length of 1,108 m (3,635 ft) makes it the second-longest in Great Britain, after Southend Pier. Although at one time spanning 1,340 m (4,380 ft), a succession of storms and fires during the late 19th and early 20th centuries reduced its length to that of the present day.
The pier has been host to famous entertainers, including Charlie Chaplin in the early 20th century. It was visited by steamliners in its heyday, but silting of the channel meant that by the 1920s very few steamers were able to reach the pier, and the service ceased in 1929. The pier fell into disrepair throughout the late 20th century, and by 1990 it was operating at a significant annual loss with rising maintenance costs. The local council sought to have the pier demolished, but were defeated in their attempt by a single vote.
The pier was significantly restored during 2000–2002, and opened to the public in May 2002. The Southport Pier Tramway ran from Southport Promenade to the pier head at various times in the pier's history with various rolling stock, most recently until June 2015.
The pier is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building, first listed on 18 August 1975.
At 1,108 m (3,635 ft), Southport Pier is the second longest in Great Britain.[a] As a result of silting in the water channel, part of the pier now passes overland before reaching the beach, as the silt has allowed land beneath the pier to be reclaimed. The entrance starts at Promenade Road and follows a route inland next to Princes Park, before crossing over Marine Drive and meeting the beach at approximately half-way along its length.
The area that now houses the marine lake and surrounding road at the land-end of the pier was acquired by the pier corporation in 1885, following population growth in the local area and pier extensions in the 1870s. In the late 1920s the council reclaimed a large area of the beach to build an urban park, consisting of a lake, miniature railway and car parking. The pier is a seven-minute walk from Southport railway station, 480 m (0.3 mi) away.