Whitby Piers, those two iconic images of the entrance to Whitby as they reach out into the North Sea to welcome the visitors and fisherman to the safety of the harbour.
The piers have been in existence since the 1500s but initially were constructed of timber (oak). Over the next century, the timbers were partly replaced with stonework until in 1632 Sir Hugh Cholmeley, the Lord of the Manor, raised money for the total replacement in stone of both the West and the East Pier.
Both piers were rebuilt again in 1735, each measuring approximately 183m. In 1814 the West Pier was further extended to reach a length of 309m. In 1905, both the piers were again extended each to a lengh of 152m .
The lighthouse on the West Pier was built in 1831 and is a stone column tower reaching 83 feet with the lantern on top but in 1914 there was a replacement light erected on a wooden framework at the very end of the extension pier which is currently operational.
The lighthouse on the East Pier was built of stone in 1854 and is a 55 feet high tower column with the lantern on top. This too was replaced by a similar wooden framework light at the end of the extension pier which is is currently operational.
Sadly, over the years, there has been a steady deterioration of the stonework on the piers and the pier extensions, so much so that the East Pier extension is now inaccessible. It has been reported that there has been over £4 million awarded to Whitby by the Environment Agency to fund essential repairs to the structure of both piers to safeguard these vital sea defences. This, unfortunately, does not include the extension on the East Pier and most of the work which will be carried out at a later date will only strengthen the structures and not enhance it which is what the people of Whitby are concerned about. The Whitby Piers are an important part of the town, and as such, should be protected and preserved.