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Latitude: 53.3116 / 53°18'41"N
Longitude: -3.7379 / 3°44'16"W
OS Eastings: 284308
OS Northings: 380818
OS Grid: SH843808
Mapcode National: GBR 2ZB4.KL
Mapcode Global: WH655.K182
Entry Name: Former Pier Entrance Building
Listing Date: 9 May 2017
Source ID: 87734
Building Class: Recreational
Location: On the sea front at Rhos on Marine Drive at the junction with Abbey Road.
Community: Rhos-on-Sea (Llandrillo-yn-Rhos)
Built-Up Area: Colwyn Bay
Traditional County: Caernarfonshire
Constructed c.1895 as the entrance building to Rhos Pier and served as a toll both or entrance building for passengers embarking on the steamers docking at the pier. Passengers would have entered through the landward door of the building to pay their fee and left through the door opposite that led onto the pier.
The pier and entrance building are both shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1890 and in greater detail on the 1914 map. An Act of Parliament for the construction of the pier was granted in 1892 and the pier was opened in 1895. It is likely that the earlier map shows the intended pier before its construction. It has been suggested that the pier was originally built in the 1860s at Douglas on the Isle of Man and relocated to Rhos but this has been discounted with the pier being purpose built at Rhos.
The pier was constructed to a length of 396m to serve the growing holiday steamer trade. It was however not equipped with a landing stage when it first opened so holiday passengers from the steamers could not easily alight and its original operating company went bust in 1896. It was then acquired by a local man William Horton and a landing stage was constructed in 1897. Horton owned the Colwyn Bay & Liverpool Steamship Company and ran 3 steamers across the pleasure cruising routes between the holiday towns on the North Wales coast and Merseyside.
The pier had been constructed to a length greater than allowed in the original Act so Horton was granted a further Act in 1911 to regularise its length, as well as construct a number of other visitor facilities such as a seawater and Turkish baths, which were never built. With the outbreak of WWI most of the steamers operating for pleasure cruises were requisitioned for war use and then in 1917 a storm wrecked the landing stage, rendering it uncommercial. The pier was sectioned for defence purposes during WWII and then damaged by fire. Mr Horton died in 1944, the pier changed hands until it was acquired by the council in 1952 before being demolished in 1954 with the entrance building surviving. The entrance building had been used in the late C20/early C21 for various commercial uses and was unused at the time of inspection in early 2016.
Octagonal single storey structure, sat on ashlar base to seaward side forming part of the sea wall. Rusticated coursed stone with slate pyramidal roof, lead ridging and finial. Shallow offset plinth, corbelled upper course. Main entrance to west (landward) face, doorway and windows with chamfered jambs and cusped stops. Reduced chimney to N (historic images show a 3 stage chimney reaching nearly the same height as the roof finial). Single narrow windows to SW, SE and NE faces, wide window with narrow glazing in fixed frame to S. Further doorway to E seaward face presumably leading onto the now lost pier. Remains of projecting steelwork visible below the plinth course on the 3 E faces, this would have formed part of the pier structure. Attached to the SE corner is a section of ashlar wall about 6m long that returns at its end to meet the sea wall. It has slots at either end and is topped by a later brick wall and railings. This now forms part of the sea wall but was presumably the landing stage of the pier. Later building attached to N not of special interest.
Single room with basement converted for shop and workshop use. Boarded walls and ceiling. Basement accessed by circular stair.
Included, notwithstanding the loss of the pier, for its special architectural interest as a good example of a carefully designed pier structure constructed in a style typical of the area. Also for its special historic interest as a surviving element of the tourist industry in late Victorian N Wales, constructed during a period of rapid growth of the surviving coastal area and an integral part of one of the main attractions of Rhos on Sea.
Other nearby listed buildings