A 19th-century pier on the east coast of Scotland could soon be restored to heritage standards, after years of disrepair have left it crumbling, with many large sections lost to the sea.
Lower Largo Pier, which has been on the Buildings at Risk Register (BARR) since 2018, was once part of the Fife village’s fishing industry, and now, according to Fife Today, has had enough funds raised by the Largo Communities Together group to have temporary repairs.
However, the chairman of the pier sub-group, Jimmy Simpson, is calling for more long term plans and action to preserve the pier for future generations.
“Last year we raised some funds and got civil engineers to look at the pier to say what we should be doing,” explained Simpson. “We were given three options.”
The group held a consultation with residents, giving them several options to choose from:
- Conduct short term repairs only
- Repair the concrete and rebuild the pier on the current structure
- Rebuild using modern technology and methods
- Rebuild the pier to heritage standards
- Rebuild the pier to heritage standards but at the current length of the pier
“The feeling is that people do support us and that they would like to see the pier rebuilt to heritage standards,” said Simpson. “The community is behind us. They don’t want to see the pier in a state of disrepair. The harbour is part of the village.
“It is slow, but we never anticipated that it would be fast.”
Lower Largo forms one of a pair with nearby Upper Largo. The village has carried several different names over the years, including Nether Largo and Seatown of Largo, or further back in time, Largow Burnemouth.
Lower Largo’s heart lies where the Keil Burn flows into the Firth of Forth. The river mouth here was already established as a harbour serving a significant settlement by 1500. In 1827 the pier was built on the east side of the river mouth to provide additional protection, but a full-blown harbour of the sort found in other Fife villages on this coast never emerged.
By the mid-1800s, Lower Largo had a steam ferry service to Newhaven near Leith. This connected with a coach that ran to the southern terminus of the Tay Ferry to Dundee in Newport-on-Tay. The river mouth harbour also became home to a herring fleet of nearly 40 fishing boats, and coal was exported from the pier.
Lower Largo continues to focus on its original river mouth location, though today this is home to pleasure craft rather than fishing boats. The west side of the mouth of the burn is home to a range of attractive cottages and houses.
The group is now faced with raising £1.2 million to bring the pier back to heritage standards. The pier remains the property of the owners of the Crusoe Hotel in Lower Largo, but they have permitted the group to carry out repairs.
For more information about the project, and restoration progress, visit the group’s website.
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