Amazing Structures of the Past Still Standing Thanks to Helical Piles

July 2, 2016 10:26 am

Helical Piles aren’t a new concept; they’re gaining popularity fast thanks to their recognition as one of the most underrated engineering feats of the 19th century and as we learn more about the environment, we’ve naturally come to realise that Helical Piles are by far the kindest foundation solution when it comes to ecological awareness.

Because Helical Piles use less machinery, less manpower and no concrete, their impact on the environment is significantly less than that of traditional foundations.

They are also extremely effective…there are some very well-known landmarks which are still standing in the UK today thanks at least in part to their Helical Piles.

Many historically interesting coastal structures were completed using the then, innovative and brand new system including the famous Margate Pier which was in fact the very first pleasure pier to be built with Helical Piles.

Margate Pier was built in 1853 and designed by Eugenius Birch; it was his first pier and he used Helical Piles in its construction. It opened in 1855 and was also the first iron pier in the country. After numerous near misses over the ensuing years when the pier was almost lost to fire and weather, it was still standing during WWII when it was utilised for troop and supply movements.

It came to a sad end in 1978 in a severe storm but a small section of it remains to this day as a testament to the earliest efforts of the engineers who pioneered Helical Piles.

Gunfleet Lighthouse in Frinton-On-Sea Essex was built in 1850 by James Walker. The screw pile lighthouse is still standing, mounted on 7 piles and includes living accommodation.

It is now used as an automated weather station.

The Palace Pier in Brighton was opened in 1899 following a fraught few years in which progress had been blighted by storms. The Palace Pier was built to replace a much earlier pleasure pier which had been completed in 1822.

The new pier was heralded a triumph and included 330 screw piles to counter the shifting sands upon which it was built.

The pier was briefly up for sale in 2011 much to the dismay of the general public but was subsequently withdrawn from the market by its owners; it remains Britain’s most visited pier.

The UK’s coastal structures form a valuable part of our heritage; with so many beautiful and long-lasting period landmarks still standing thanks in part to Helical Piles, we can only hope that there are yet more, innovative and exciting heritage buildings yet to come.


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