Mumbles Pier was originally built and opened in 1898 to extend the Swansea to Mumbles railway and serve as the new terminus. Costing around £17,000, the construction of the pier was a relatively late addition to Britain's popular Victorian seaside architectural ideal. Designed by W. Sutcliffe Marsh, the construction of the pitch pine deck, upon lattice steelwork and cast iron piles was styled as a simple landing jetty. The pier seemed unusually devoid of the typical ornate entertainment buildings fashionable with other period piers.
Nevertheless, the pier proved very popular with local people, attracted by the small bandstand, amusement stalls and the regular steamer excursions to nearby North Devon and Somerset. 'The Pier Hotel' was built alongside the pier during the same period.
The RNLI lifeboat slipway was added to the pier in the summer of 1916 and the boathouse was finally built upon it in 1922; these are still used to this day. The association, Amusement Equipment Co. Ltd. (AMECO) gained a licence from the Mumbles Railway to operate the pier from 1st October 1937 and currently continues to run and successfully maintain the pier and its amusements.
Similar to other significantly placed piers, during the Second World War, Mumbles Pier was employed as a defence measure from 1940. The pier did not re-open until 9th June 1956 after substantial repair work and a three-tiered landing stage was added to the pier head (currently used by anglers). The following year, AMECO gained freehold of the pier. Sadly, the grand re-opening of the pier was quickly followed by the closure of the Swansea to Mumbles railway in 1960.
AMECO built a new amusement complex at the land end of the pier in 1966. This proved to be an invaluable attraction to visitors, whilst much-needed restoration work was completed between 1975 and 1985. During these years, £25,000 to £30,000 per annum was spent on the maintenance and replacement of the pier's structural steelwork. The pier was closed on 1st October 1987 but later re-opened on Good Friday 1988, after another £40,000 was spent on renewing steelwork at the entrance end of the pier.
Since the building of the original 1960s amusement pavilion, this has been redeveloped and redesigned, in keeping with the Victorian period detail of the pier and the nearby 'Pier Hotel'. The pavilion now houses a bowling alley, arcades, bar, shops, restaurant and ice-skating rink (formerly Cinder's nightclub).
Many of Britain's piers have suffered the ravages of time, by way of fires, war, corrosion and storms; but Mumbles is fortunate to have retained its claim to this piece of Victorian antiquity, mainly due to the endeavours of AMECO. Mumbles Pier is, however, far from in mint condition. Today's visitor will note the need for, and the progress of, continual restoration work. Currently, the old pine wood planks, suffering from rot, are being replaced section by section with new timber. The pier remains fully open except for a small section of deck that is still undergoing the restoration work that has ensured Mumbles Pier's long history.