Historic Burnham-on-Sea Pavilion under new ownership
PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 January 2018
A well-known Somerset landmark has new owners after being sold by the family who managed the site for nearly 50 years.
Burnham-on-Sea Pavilion, in the Esplanade, has been sold by the Parkin family to J Holland and Sons, a national entertainment company, after 49 years of ownership.
The pavilion opened in 1914 and is famous for having the shortest pier in the country at only 37 metres in length.
It has long been a popular attraction and despite its short length houses a café, restaurant, small shops and an amusements hall.
Former owner Louise Parkin said: “It is both a happy and sad time for us. After having it in the family for almost half a century, it is strange to pass it onto someone else.
“But due to ill health in my family, it has been more difficult over the years to run and we decided the time was right.”
The pavilion was first listed for sale in 2016 in a trade magazine which described the site as being a ‘freehold property, with plans to extend’.
Louise’s father, Harry Parkin, took over the derelict pavilion in 1968 and the family dedicated a lot of funds to both renovating and maintaining the historic site.
Construction work began in 1911 and the building was completed just before World War One.
The National Piers Society says the pier’s design was inspired by the work of famous Bristol mechanical and civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was the first concrete structure of its type in Europe.
Granite chippings used in the pier’s original construction are still used today for routine maintenance.
The Parkin family have faced many obstacles and council interventions during their ownership, something which Louise fought hard in her other position as a Burnham and Highbridge town councillor.
She said: “Now is probably the right time for us to move on and allow a new owner to come in and take things in another direction.
“I am sure the owners will have their own plans and vision for what they want to do to the pavilion.
“In the last few years, running the pavilion has become like a full-time job because it comes with a huge responsibility and the cost of running it is high.”