Fish and chip shop family take over town’s 117-year-old pier
PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 09 August 2020
A family who now own a 117-year-old pier have taken inspiration from the past as they look forward to the future.
The new owners of the iconic Claremont Pier in Lowestoft have been working tirelessly during the past three weeks to open new facilities – having only picked up the keys to the venue on July 20.
The multi-generational family of seven had only toured the facility on June 17 before they decided to take the plunge and put in an offer the following day, which was later accepted.
And now, just 20 days into their new business venture, the new owners have their sights set on restoring the landmark seaside structure back to its former glory.
The family who jointly own the pier are Eddie and Charmaine Mayne, their eldest child Victoria Manning and her husband Michael Manning, son Ernie Mayne and daughter Charmaine Llewellyn and her husband Ben Llewellyn.
They have been joined by Mr and Mrs Mayne’s eight grandchildren in helping to already unveil a raft of changes.
With Eddie and Charmaine Mayne owning the nearby Pinky’s ice cream parlour and Michael’s fish and chips on The Esplanade in Lowestoft for the past four summers, they admitted it had been a “very busy time”.
Charmaine Mayne said: “Obviously for us its all new as we are starting Claremont Pier from scratch.
“We want to make it a family pier.
“We are working the pier as a family and we want to work the pier as we have done with Pinky’s.
“Having owned Pinky’s for four summers now this is what we have done here – turned it around – and we hope to do the same with the pier.”
The changes have already seen Rock Salt turned into a new gift shop - Pinky’s Beach Shop – while the amusement arcade has been renamed and extended to become Lucky Lucy’s.
Bar 1903 has been opened once more, along with the new Fish and Chips @ The Pier.
The family said the pier had been getting “busier and busier” over the past couple of weeks with positive feedback from the community.
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Mrs Mayne said: “We actually only got the keys to the pier on July 20, meaning we have had to get everything completed very quickly.
“Luckily a lot of the old staff have come back again and we’ve taken on quite a few of the staff.
“We are trying to support the local people and those that had the jobs there previously.
“We’ve extended the arcade back to what it was about 14 years ago and obviously the top part of the pier is all closed under the current guidelines.
“We are still undecided on what to do with that.”
The Claremont began life in 1903 as a landing stage for Belle steamers.
And now the Pier’s new owners will be hoping to attract some grant funding or lottery financial support to allow them to open the structure up to the public so they can walk along, and potentially run a ferry service in the future.
With the Claremont Pier being a member of the National Piers Society, Charmaine Llewellyn said: “We are in talks with the society and they have said they will try and help us.
“We’ve also been in touch with a company that have done up three other piers to get an idea of the costs and the scale of the project.”
The new owners hope that if they can attract some grant funding or financial lottery support they can get the seaward end of the pier back up and running for people to walk along it.
Mrs Llewellyn said: “We hope to bring the pier back to its former glory and look towards the future.”
Mrs Mayne added: “One of the main things we are trying to see is if we can get some form of grant to bring the actual pier back up to get people walking along it.
“We would like to see people walking on the pier and enjoying rides and attractions.
“The aim is to put it back to what it was as we want to make it enjoyable for local people and visitors so they can enjoy walking on it and fish off the end of the pier.
“We want it to be for the local people to enjoy the pier.”
The family said they are also speaking with the local councils and they added: “We are trying to bring it back up to what it was, and if we can do that it will help the local businesses as well.”
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