Welcome to Victoria Pier , Colwyn Bay

Victoria Pier in the 1900s


After just one year of construction, Victoria Pier and Pavilion is officially opened. She stood 40 feet long and 316 feet wide.
The pavilion seated 2,500 people, and as well as the theatre it provided a cafe-lounge and refreshment room, together with shops either side of the main entrance. The auditorium was ventilated by a 48 inch electric fan fixed in the dome.
The entire pier and pavilion was lit by electricity - a novelty in the day.
Mr A. F. Lelande was appointed secretary and manager.
The venerable M. Jules Riviere was secured as musical director. His names was emblazoned across the front of the pavilion.
The deputy conductor, M. Henri Verbruggen, was one of the finest living violinists.
At 7pm, a huge crowd resulting from the 3,000 invitations that had been sent out assembled at the front of the pier. Mr Littlewood of Magnall and Littlewoods presented a gold key to Mr Mason, the Chairman of the Pier and Pavilion Company. On one side of this key was an illuminated view of the pier and pavilion, on the other the inscription:
"Presented to W. F. Mason Esq., by the architects, on the occasion of the opening of the Victoria Pier and Pavilion, Colwyn Bay, June 1st 1900. J. & W. H. Littlewood, Architects and Engineers"

The day after the official opening of Victoria Pier, Madame Adelena Patti (Baroness Cederstrom) performed the opening concert in the pavilion. Madame Patti was given star treatment, with a civic reception at the railway station, which was red-carpeted for her arrival.
George Bevan, chairman of the Urban District Council, presented her with an illuminated album bound in sage-green containing 14 photographic views of local scenery. It was inscribed:
"Presented on behalf of the town and members of the District Council of Colwyn Bay and Colwyn, by George Bevan, Esq., to Madame Adelena Patti (Baroness Cederstrom) as a memento of her visit to the new Victoria Pier - June 2nd, 1900"
Marine Drive, the roadway from the station to Victoria Pier, was decorated for the occasion including a blue banner with white lettering strung across the road reading "WELCOME TO THE QUEEN OF SONG". Afterwards the road was renamed Victoria Drive - the name it retains to this day.
Madame Patti was accompanied on her visit by Baron Cederstrom. Their carriage journey to the pier was lined with crowds, who finding they were unable to catch a glimpse of the singer shouted "Pull down the hood!", their request was obliged and Madame Patti was cheered all the way to the Pier.
Madame Adelena's performance included Gounod's "Jewel Song" from Faust, followed by other songs in Italian. She finished with "Home Sweet Home", the song associated with her name.
In the evening, a welcome was given to M. Jules Riviere. The programme opened with "God Save the Queen" and "God Bless the Prince of Wales"

The Pier opened to the Public in June 1900. This is the earliest piece of memorabilia we have at the moment. It reads as follows:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, It is perfectly true that MR FREDERICK DAWSON (England's Greatest Pianist) is engaged for our Grand Special Concert on Wednesday Evening, August 22nd, 1900. Yours respectfully, A. F. LALANDE.
N.B. On Thursday 23rd, at 3 p.m. Piano and Violin Recital by Messers. F. DAWSON & H. VERBRUGGHEN.
Vocalist for the week commencing on August 18th, MISS LUCY CLARKE."

M. Jules Riviere died aged 81 years old. He is buried at Llandrillo-yn-Rhos Churchyard. A stained glass window in the church commemorates him, as does a road in Colwyn Bay "Rivieres Avenue"
The Rivieres Ochestra kept his name alive, by continuing to perform at the pier twice daily.


Victoria Pier is extended to her present length of 750 feet.