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130-year-old buildings set for revamp in next stage of £220k Hythe Pier improvements

Hythe Pier's buildings are in a poor state of repair (pictures: Alan Titheridge)
Hythe Pier's buildings are in a poor state of repair (pictures: Alan Titheridge)

THE next stage in a £220,000 project to restore Hythe Pier will focus on its revamping buildings which date as far back as 1894.

As reported in the A&T, the Hythe Pier Heritage Association (HPHA) recently set out a plan of works to safeguard the future of the historical structure.

Architects and surveyors are looking at the preservation options for the pier head buildings as although the one on the north side, which houses the waiting room, is in reasonable shape structurally, the other is giving cause for concern.

An HPHA spokesperson said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have severely limited HPHA’s fundraising opportunities but its determination to restore Hythe pier and its railway has not wavered.”

Blue Funnel Ferries, which owns the site, is in the process of clearing the building on the south side, which for the past quarter of a century has been used as a storeroom.

Inside Hythe Pier's south building
Inside Hythe Pier's south building

An asbestos survey commissioned by HPHA revealed the presence of a small amount of the hazardous material, which will be removed shortly.

The building on the south side was built in 1894 and extended in 1896 when the one on the north side was erected.

At the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 Hythe Sailing Club, which was the tenant of the south side building, handed their clubhouse over to the authorities for use in the war effort. Later, the premises were let to the YMCA.

During 1921 the Royal Motor Yacht Club took up residence and undertook an extensive modernisation. Work was completed in March 1922 and included the addition of a large dining room, galley, bar and four-berth sleeping cabins.

During the years following the Second World War, the south side building was used in a variety of ways and was a restaurant until 1976. During the 1980s it was planned to install an aquarium, but the project failed.

Since then, it has been a meeting room, an exhibition room and for two years White Horse Ferries used it as an office.

The HPHA charity plans to undertake temporary protection measures while seeking funding for permanent repairs and restoration. To donate, visit www.hythepierha.org.uk

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