13 June 2023

Piers on Posters Exhibition  

As part of its celebrations for ‘Year of the Pier 2023’ the National Piers Society has curated a travelling exhibition of Golden Era railway posters featuring piers. These nostalgic images, most of which date from the 1920s to the 1950s, promote a stylised and sun-drenched vision of the Great British Seaside when pleasure piers still played an important part in holiday infrastructure as landing stages for paddle steamers.  

With the full exhibition featuring more than 50 poster images, visitors are invited to take a tour around the piers of England, Scotland and Wales as depicted by some of the best commercial artists of the twentieth century including Charles Pears, Tom Purvis and Frank Henry Mason. See how your favourite resorts once looked and enjoy the artistic licence that helped sell them to the masses of railway travellers in the past. 

These glorious travel posters date from an era before cars took over as the main form of holiday transport and British resorts had yet to feel the full impact of competition from cheap foreign package deals. By the time the National Piers Society was founded under Sir John Betjeman in 1979, many piers were in trouble and needed the voice of a dedicated national organisation to back local supporters trying to save these structures for the future. In the Piers on Posters exhibition, you will find some of our lost lamented piers alongside many of the 63 wonderful piers that survive today.  

The exhibition is free to enter and will be touring the following piers: 

  • Claremont Pier, Lowestoft -  22 April – 13 May
  • Britannia Pier, Great Yarmouth - 15 May – 2 June
  • Grand Pier, Weston-super-Mare - 6 June – 25 June
  • Swanage Pier - 1 July – 15 July
  • Pavilion Theatre Atrium, Worthing Pier - weekends of 22/23 July and 29/30 July, 10am-4pm
  • The Jolly Roger, Clacton Pier - 5 August – 29 August

The National Piers Society would like to thank Richard Furness, expert author of the Poster to Poster 
book series, for the use of images from his collection and Barry Thompson, railway enthusiast and National Piers Society member, for compiling the selection and providing the text. 

Related articles

  • Swanage Pier Big Summer Raffle

    05 July 2024

    Swanage Pier Big Summer Raffle

    Our Big Summer Raffle 2024 is back, offering a chance to win fabulous prizes, including an original painting by the acclaimed local artist Ben Spurl...

  • Swanage Radio Station Closure

    18 January 2024

    Swanage Radio Station Closure

    Following the report in October last year, Purbeck Coast FM has been struggling due to a lack of funding and practical pressures. Despite everyone&r...

  • Christmas on Swanage Pier 2023

    13 November 2023

    Christmas on Swanage Pier 2023

    Lighting up Lives Our Christmas ‘Lighting Up Lives’ is back, over the last two years this magical event, lighting up the iconic Swanage ...

  • 04 May 2023

    Swanage Pier Big Summer Raffle 2023

    It's that time of year again... the Swanage Pier Summer Raffle! As part of our Summer Raffle this year, we have some fabulous prizes including...

  • 21 March 2023

    BBC Antiques Roadshow is coming to Swanage Pier

    Fiona Bruce and the Antiques Roadshow team will be back on the road this summer filming the 46th series of one of the BBC's most loved programme...

  • 07 December 2022

    Barnet Christmas Tree 2022

    For the third year Julie, Natalie Terry and Joanne Avery have donated a Christmas tree to The Pier in memory of Julie’s mum and Natalie and Jo...

  • 11 November 2022

    Christmas on Swanage Pier

    Christmas on Swanage Pier This year we are in full festive swing. We have live music, Christmas donkeys, be entertained by Christmas characters an...

  • 28 October 2022

    Poppy on the Pier 2022

    In support of remembrance, the Poppy on the Pier is back for its 5th year. So far over £1,500 has been raised for the Royal British Legion Pop...

  • 04 October 2022

    Pier Closure

    The Pier will close for the month of November 2022 to enable Swanage Pier Trust to complete the schedule of works which were started earlier in the ...

  • 30 June 2022

    Wellbeing Weekend on Swanage Pier

    Come along for the weekend of Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July and try a range of activities or simply wind down and relax on the Pier, with the b...

  • 29 March 2022

    Swanage Pier 125th Anniversary Raffle

    Did you know...? The new Pier was officially opened 125 years ago today. When George Burt started a steamer service between Swanage, Poole and B...

  • 07 February 2022

    Swanage Pier Regeneration Project

    At the top of our agenda this year is further main repair works to the wooden Pier structure. We plan to start in mid-February with the renewal of a...

  • 21 December 2021

    Barnets Memory Tree

    My mum Jean sadly passed away suddenly at Christmas time, a time of year she loved so much. She was an amazing mum and Nan and we all found it so ...

  • 15 November 2021

    Lighting Up Lives on Swanage Pier

    Shine a light on someone special or a group of People this Christmas. This December on Swanage Pier you are invited to dedicate a light to someon...

  • 02 November 2021

    2021 The Poppy on the Pier

    Since 2018 the Poppy installation has been erected for the 11th November then stored away, sadly over this time the chicken wire has perished and ha...

  • 25 October 2021

    New Art Exhibition on Swanage Pier

    Working with local artist Heidi Steller, we ran two mosaic workshops over the summer, which involved visitors to the Pier creating mosaics depictin...

  • 15 October 2021

    Half Term Activities on Swanage Pier 

    This half term on the Pier is set to be fun packed with some exciting activities, from finding spooky creatures on the Pier as part of our Halloween...

  • 03 June 2021

    Upcoming Pier Events

    We are delighted to say after a period of closure between January and April, due to Covid-19, the Pier is now fully open, along with Marine Villas s...

  • 12 March 2021

    Swanage Pier Trust Reopening

    Following the Government's announcement, a couple of weeks ago regarding the roadmap out of lockdown, I am delighted to announce that the Pier a...

  • 23 February 2021

    Swanage Pier awarded nearly half a million pounds

    The National Lottery Heritage Fund has announced that Swanage Pier Trust is to receive a substantial grant to get its restoration project back on tr...

  • 22 December 2020

    A Glimpse into a Hidden World Exhibition - BBC Radio Solent Interview

    Find out more about the forthcoming online exhibition a glimpse into a hidden world by listening below to Lucy Ambache from BBC Radio Solent intervi...

  • 16 December 2020

    A Glimpse into a Hidden World

    Swanage Pier Trust is to host an online exhibition of underwater photographs, taken under Swanage Pier by award winning photographers Paul and Aliso...

  • 15 December 2020

    Swanage Pier Presents a Christmas Story

    Swanage Pier Trust proudly presents their first Christmas Story as part of the Pier’s Christmas Experience written and told by one of our wond...

  • 10 December 2020

    Christmas Opening Hours 2020

    Why not enjoy a winter walk along the Pier, come and see our Christmas trees, pop into The 1859 Pier Cafe & Bistro for something hot or finish o...

  • 19 November 2020

    Swanage Pier Big Winter Raffle 2020

    ❄️ It is that time of year again... for the Swanage Pier Winter Raffle! To enter answer one simple Pier question and purchase your raffle ticke...

  • 30 October 2020

    Halloween Fun with Swanage Pier

    Halloween is a celebration on the night of October 31st. It's often referred to as the scariest time of the year! To celebrate this year's H...

  • 29 October 2020

    The Poppy on the Pier is back for 2020

    In support of remembrance, Swanage Pier Trust is bring back the Poppy on the Pier. "It is an honour to have the Poppy back on the Pier again ...

  • 28 September 2020

    Friends of Swanage Pier

    The Friends of Swanage Pier was formed in 1995 to support and promote the pier and to help raise vital funds. We have recently reviewed the entire...

  • 30 June 2020

    Swanage Pier Reopening Update

    UPDATED - TUESDAY 30TH JUNE 2020 We plan to reopen the Pier by Saturday 4th July once we have all the necessary measures in place to ensure the...

  • 29 June 2020

    Pier into the Past

    Swanage Pier presents a series of talks about the maritime and coastal history around the Purbeck Coast. Pier Volunteer, diver and amateur maritime ...

  • 27 March 2020

    Swanage Pier is closed due to Coronavirus.

    We miss you! As a charity we rely on visitor income to maintain Swanage Pier and keep it open for the public to enjoy. If you love Swanage Pier, p...

  • 13 December 2019

    Name the Christmas Bear Competition

    *** We did the draw on Monday 23rd December and the Christmas Bear was names Jingle. The Swanage Pier Trust Christmas Bear needs a new name and a...

  • 03 December 2019

    Barnets Memory Tree at the End of the Pier

    Julie, Natalie Terry and Joanne Avery have donated a Christmas tree to the Pier in memory of Julie’s mum and Natalie and Joanna's grandmot...

  • 05 November 2019

    Big Winter Raffle

    UPDATE: *Raffle now closed - thank you to everyone who supported the Swanage Pier Trust. You raised £1200!* It's that time of year agai...

  • 31 October 2019

    Poppy on the Pier is back for 2019

    In support of remembrance, Swanage Pier Trust is bring back the Poppy on the Pier. Which last year raised over £750 for the Royal British Legi...

  • 27 September 2019

    Trip the Light Fantastic on Swanage Pier

    Swanage Pier will be lit up with a spectacular display of colourful lights on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October 2019. The immersive lighting ...

  • 20 September 2019

    Walking Together for the Anthony Nolan Trust

    While on the pier yesterday (19th September) one of our volunteers Rena Lang bumped into mother and daughter, Jane and Stephanie Wilson and dog Barn...

  • 14 August 2019

    Music on Swanage Pier

    On Saturday 24th August Swanage Pier welcomes local bands and choirs on to the Pier for a full day of music, with the perfect setting of the Pier an...

  • 06 August 2019

    Big Summer Raffle

    It's that time of year again... the Swanage Pier Summer Raffle! Tickets are just £1 each, on sale at the Pier gate. All proceeds raised go...

  • 05 July 2019

    New Season, New Things to Explore at Swanage Pier

    Further to the major Pier refurbishment work carried out last year as part of the Heritage Lottery funding, we have a whole host of different activi...

  • 18 June 2019

    Bournemouth & Poole College students sponsored walk in aid of Swanage Pier

    Students from Poole and Bournemouth Landsdowns College took part in a sponsored walk in aid of Swanage Pier on Friday 14th June, as part of their le...

  • 12 June 2019

    Swanage Pier Writers

    The new creative writing and walking season has started this June on Swanage Pier, with the first session during Purbeck Arts Week finding inspirati...

  • 21 May 2019

    The Reopening of Swanage Pier

    On Wednesday 3rd April, National Piers Society Patron, Timothy West, reopened Swanage Pier after 18 months of significant repairs and refurbishment ...

  • 19 March 2019

    Shop at Co-op? Support our Community Radio Station

    Here at Swanage Pier we are setting up a media centre and community radio station serving the Purbeck area. Shop at Co-op? We want your support! H...

  • 05 February 2019

    Foundations for the Future nominated for prestigious planning industry award

    Swanage Pier restoration project, Foundations for the Future, has been named as a finalist in the category for Excellence in Planning for Heritage a...

  • 13 December 2018

    Welcome to the New Marine Villas

    Cafe The 1859 Pier Café & Bistro (named after the construction date of the original Swanage Pier) opened in mid July and is now well esta...

  • 06 December 2018

    Big Winter Raffle 2018

    UPDATE: *Raffle now closed - thank you to everyone who supported the Swanage Pier Trust. You raised £1000!* It's that time of year again...

  • 03 December 2018

    Have you seen our Marine Aquarium?

    As part of the regeneration of Marine Villas, the new exhibition space houses a marine aquarium. Stocked with marine life taken directly from under ...

  • 01 December 2018

    Christmas Opening Hours 2018

    Why not enjoy a winter walk along the Pier, come and see our Christmas trees, or pop into The 1859 Pier Cafe & Bistro for something boozy and ho...

  • 19 October 2018

    Poppy on the Pier

    In support of remembrance, Swanage Pier Trust is installing a large Poppy on the Pier, which will be lit up at night. "It is important to ta...

  • 04 September 2018

    Waverley Returns to Swanage Pier

    The majestic Waverley is returning to Swanage Pier this September for a series of South Coast Sailings. These will take place between 7th and 20th S...

  • 24 April 2018

    Foundations for the future

    Thank you to everyone who helped us raise the funds we needed to begin the restoration project. The work is now getting underway and exciting thin...