Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Ramsey's Queen's Pier: Lease signing a 'momentous day'

The Queen's Pier in Ramsey by Ray Collister Image copyright Ray Collister
Image caption The 130-year-old Queen's Pier in Ramsey was closed in 1990 due to concerns about its safety

Conservationists have said they are "delighted" work can begin to restore Ramsey's Queen's Pier after they signed a lease with the Manx government.

The Queen's Pier Restoration Trust (QPRT) want to restore the 130-year-old Victorian landmark, which has been closed since 1990, to its former glory.

Chairman Tom Durrant said it is a "momentous day" for the project.

The five-year lease was signed by Mr Durrant and Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer in Douglas on Wednesday.

Mr Harmer said of the pier: "It is as significant a piece of Manx heritage as the Laxey wheel and we should lose it at our peril."

He said the Manx government had already invested several million pounds in securing and making safe the structure.

He added: "I am delighted for Tom and his team - they are extremely passionate and have a clear goal.

"I believe the pier could be a shining beacon for future projects on the island.

"It is vitally important to look after our heritage as it is an important part of our identity."

Image copyright Manx National Heritage
Image caption The last steamer called at the Pier Head in 1970

The first phase of work on the pier, which closed 27 years ago because of safety concerns, will see important steels replaced on its first bay and entrance.

Mr Durrant said the Trustees and Fundraising Committee have "worked tirelessly to reach this momentous day".

He said: "We are now in a position to accept all the promises of help and funding offered prior to signing the lease.

"We know exactly what we need to do and we're going to employ as many Manx people as we possibly can."

A colleague said the first bay is expected to cost about £60,000 to replace, with each of the 54 subsequent bays costing about £25,000.

The Trust is hopeful it can complete the first three before the end of the current lease in 2022.

It is estimated the overall restoration of the pier could cost about £1.5m.

The 700m structure was built for the Isle of Man Harbour Board in 1886.

Image caption Mr Durrant said it was a "momentous day" in the history of the pier
Image caption The gates of the Victorian pier were officially unlocked in 2016
Image copyright Manx National Heritage
Image caption The structure was built for the Isle of Man Harbour Board for about £45,000 in the late 19th Century
Image copyright Queen's Pier
Image caption The original drawings were produced in 1883

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