Penarth pier part 2
One of south Wales' last Victorian piers, near Cardiff
(Photos © urban75, Aug 2009)
Penarth may look like a sleepy coastal resort, but in the 60s things kicked off in no uncertain fashion, with the beach becoming a battleground for fierce Mods vs Rockers battles.
This Wikipedia article give you some idea of the mayhem that took place:
Between 1964 and 1968 Penarth gained infamy across Wales as the scene of riots on the beach and seafront, between rival gangs of "Mods" and "Rockers", that took place annually on 5 November (Bonfire Night). Following the much publicised similar riots at south coast seaside resorts like Brighton, Margate, Bournemouth, Clacton and Hastings during the summer of 1964 the culture spread to Penarth during the autumn. The youth of the town were polarised between the two lifestyles.
The event in 1964 was sparsely attended with only a few hundred mostly local participants and the general mood was almost light hearted. However, by 1965 motorcycle and scooter gangs arrived from all over Wales and the West Country, some even travelling from the West Midlands to take part. The rioters were matched by ever increasing numbers of police, who had been caught unawares the previous year, many now being bussed in from police forces all over the Principality, equipped with protective helmets and early riot shields.
Homes and restaurants in the town centre and along the beach front boarded up their windows in preparation and the fire brigade located their appliances in standby positions. The town started filling with gangs from the early afternoon and the riots kicked off soon after dusk with swirling charges, skirmishes and fights all over the beach and esplanade.
Hand-launched bangers, roman candles and even small rockets were used as makeshift artillery in addition to the many fist fights. Dozens of rioters were injured and many others arrested for public order offences before the hostilities petered out around 10pm. Newspaper and TV media turned up in force to report on the proceedings.
The Penarth riots peaked in 1967 when over a thousand rioters turned up for the 5 November event but the following year numbers dropped off noticeably, aided by atrocious squally weather. In 1969 the police contingent remained on their coaches when it was obvious that there would be no riot that year. The short lived 'Mod and Rocker' lifestyles and fashions were coming to an end all over the country.
Adjusting the flagpoles at the end of the pier.
Looking out across the Bristol Channel.
The pier entrance. Opened in 1929, the Pier Pavilion was been used as a venue for reviews, concerts and lectures, although the lack of heating guaranteed sparse crowds in the winter months.
It's also functioned as a cinema, a dance hall, a club and restaurant, a snooker club and a gym hall, and although parts of it still look a little tatty, its prospects look good thanks to the efforts of local campaigners.
Looking out from the pier to Flatholm and Steepholm in the Bristol Channel.
Looking east towards Cardiff.
Detail of one of the four pier towers.
Exit from the pier on the western side of the pier.
Edwardian Postcard view.
Evening view after we'd disembarked from our steamer trip to Somerset in 2003.
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