Hythe Pier Heritage Association

Blue Funnel Ferry Crowdfunder Appeal

Dear members, volunteers and to all those who follow and support the activities of the Hythe Pier Heritage Association.
I wanted to share with you our message of support for Blue Funnel Ferries, the operator of Hythe Ferry. I am sure that you are all aware that on April 18th the ferry operations were suspended due to the dramatic turn down in passenger footfall that followed the extraordinary measures imposed by central Government to control the Covid-19 epidemic here in the UK. Blue Funnel like so many small and medium sized businesses is now facing real challenges with great uncertainty and a complete collapse in demand for its services.
As you know the Hythe Pier Heritage Association has been working with Blue Funnel since 2017 in an effort to secure a new future for the Hythe Pier and the Hythe Pier Railway. The plans for the restoration of both of these assets are now taking shape and legal agreements between ourselves and Blue Funnel are at an advanced stage.
With design development for the pier restoration in progress and works to restore the pier railway all set to begin, this national emergency and health crisis could not have come at a worse moment.
The continuation and development of a vibrant and viable ferry operation is essential to the long term success of our community project. It would be a disaster if the ferry operator were to fail.
Our objects and purposes are two-fold, the first is to preserve, protect, restore and redevelop the pier, train and associated buildings and structures for the benefit of the community and the wider public. The second is to share and advance the education of the community and the wider public in the history and heritage of the pier, train and ferry.
This crisis is unprecedented and the circumstances are exceptional. Without the ferry our pier has no central purpose, without the pier the ferry has no landing place, the two are intrinsically linked, right now there is a common purpose and I have today made my own personal contribution. I therefore have no hesitation in asking you to support their appeal and I am sharing it on our face book page.

Peter King

Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation grant puts railway restoration plan on track

Good morning,
I realise it will be a little early for many of you but I had a moment so thought this as good a time as any to bring you some news. As you know we have recently begun to plan and organise the project to restore our historic pier railway. Well I am delighted to confirm that we have received our first significant financial support with a grant of £10,000 from the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation. This really is a fantastic start to our fundraising campaign to restore the 98 year old pier railway. As we head towards its centenary of almost continuous operation we have put together an ambitious plan to raise over £200,000 to fund this element of the project.

Of course we recognise that right now our public interest is our common interest and so we have suspended most of our operations and activities during the Covid-19 health crisis. However as soon as circumstances permit we will resume working hard to secure the funding we need to ensure the future of this unique piece of our heritage.

Here is the press release we have issued regarding the grant. 
If you would like to help us keep the railway restoration plan on track then email us on info@hythepierha.org.uk or message us here Hythe Pier Heritage Association – HPHA

Enjoy your weekend

Stay safe


Peter King

Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation grant puts railway restoration plan on track 
Hythe Pier Heritage Association has received support for its plans to restore the historic Hythe Pier railway with a grant of £10,000 from the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation, a charity established to support local organisations and individuals. 
Peter King, chair of HPHA welcomed this support saying, “this is a great start to our funding campaign to support the restoration of historic and much loved pier railway. We are very grateful to the Beaulieu Beaufort Foundation for their support and endorsement of our plans”.
He added “these funds will be used to buy the materials we need to begin the work to rebuild the railway carriages which are in a poor state of repair. The work will begin once the current restrictions imposed due the Covid-19 Coronavirus crisis have been lifted “.
The Hythe Pier railway first began operating in the summer of 1922 and apart from a short period following the collision with the pier by the dredger ‘ Donald Redford ‘ in 2003 it has been operating continuously throughout the last 98 years. It is recognised in the renowned Guinness Book of Records as the ‘longest continuously running electric pier train in the world’.
The Hythe Pier Heritage Association was established as a community group during the autumn of 2016 following the announcement by the former operator White Horse Ferries, that the ferry service between Hythe Pier and Town Quay in Southampton might close, It has since registered as a community benefits society in February 2018 and was granted exempt charitable status by HMRC later that year. Volunteers are now working on a plan to secure a long term lease of the Victorian pier and seek major funding to restore and redevelop it to create a community facility for public benefit and to advance the education of the history and heritage of the pier, train and ferry in the community.

Project Update 17th March 2020

In response to guidance from HM Government in relation to the health crisis caused by the Coronavirus epidemic.

Well, I don’t think that anyone could have predicted that we would be in the midst of the single biggest international health crisis that we have faced in modern peacetime. We are in a very fast changing and developing situation. It seems that no one can be quite certain what the outcome will be, indeed right now it seems unclear what will happen tomorrow let alone during the coming weeks and months.
What is clear is that like any responsible organisation we need to take the steps necessary to reduce the risk in what we do in order to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
I know that many of our members, volunteers and supporters are retired and may be more vulnerable at this time. Your help and support is invaluable, without it we would not be able to achieve anything. We have therefore decided to suspend all our current activities until this health emergency is over.


  • We will not proceed with our planned spring event at the Pier.
  • We will not undertake any other activities that would require even small gatherings or group meetings.
  • Work on the restoration of the railway carriage working with the volunteers at the The Shed at Hythe Pier will be suspended with immediate effect.
  • We will suspend any planned attendance or participation at other community events for the next 12 weeks.
  • Our AGM for members, which would normally be held in May, will be postponed for at least three months.

We will keep this situation under close review and keep you informed as to the future plans and any changes we make. We will consider different ways for us to connect and share ideas and information.

The management team and key volunteers will continue sharing information and working on the project plans and other matters that are currently in progress.

What I do want to say is this, the pier, the train and the ferry have been here for a very long time, they will still be here when this crisis is over. Right now there are more important things to consider, your well being, the health and well being of your family, your friends and the whole community. This is what matters right now.

So please stay safe, take care and be assured that we will come together again to meet and enjoy events on the pier and support this project.

With my very best wishes to all of you.

Peter King

Project Update 24 December 2019

Well here we are on Christmas eve, I do hope you will all enjoy a break from everyday life and celebrate with family and friends. Whilst I don’t want to distract or disturb you I thought this might be a good moment to update you on where we are and what has been happening with the community project. We are ending the year on a high note with great support from the community and real progress with our plans. This will provide us with a great platform to start the new year and make the 2020’s a decade of action.

Project Update 6th October 2019

With summer having disappeared over the horizon, autumn has arrived with all the changes that go with it. There are however always positives to be found, this is a lovely time of the year, so it seems like a good moment to provide you all with an update on what has been happening over the last couple of months and where we are heading with the project.
Some of you are probably aware that I enjoy sailing. Before any sailing trip I make a plan and I always have contingency plans, the weather often impacts and I have to change course. I often have to detour or break the passage into smaller legs, sometimes I seem to be sailing in completely the wrong direction! I have however learned not to panic. I always keep in my mind the main objective and where I want to end up.
In many ways we are on our own journey with Hythe Pier Heritage Association and we have already had to adjust our plans and make some changes to the route we thought we might take. The reality is that this is a big undertaking and we are still at the beginning of the project. We have agreed our primary objectives, we know where we want to end up and we know that we can bring real benefit to the community and the wider public.
We are seeking to do something quite different. The Hythe Pier has been owned and operated by a private commercial company throughout its long history. Our proposals will make the community a stakeholder in the pier with the new community business we have formed operating a restored and redeveloped pier with new facilities and amenities for public benefit. All this done working together with the current ferry operator to create a new sustainable future.
We have been working hard to develop our organisation over the summer, we are building a robust IT system and working to improve how we communicate and share information so watch out for the new web site which will be on line soon.
We have also welcomed three groups of architects to the pier to discuss our plans. They have now provided their fee bids to undertake the next stage of design development which involves a detailed feasibility report on the restoration and options for the redevelopment. This will help to inform our business plan that we need to complete over the coming months.
Sadly one of our board members resigned over the summer so we will be seeking to bring our management team up to full strength during the next month ready for the next exciting phase of this project.
Most importantly we are working through the terms and conditions of the legal agreements that we need to put in place with Blue Funnel before we can make a real start to the work that we all know is needed to protect and preserve the pier. The details of the proposed transfer of ownership that was announced earlier this year have proved difficult to finalise. I am only too well aware that some of you may be a little uncertain, even frustrated that this is all taking longer than necessary. Don’t panic, be patient and keep the main objectives in mind. With goodwill and commitment from both parties and with your support we will find a means by which we can progress.
Finally don’t forget to put a date in your diary for next Saturday October 12th when we will open the pier for our Heritage Day. We have a great event planned for you including our pop-up café in the waiting room offering teas, coffee and cakes all provided by our fantastic volunteers, the railway workshop will be open for those railway enthusiasts to get up close to the railway carriages and we will be naming one of those famous tractor units that really are the heartbeat of Hythe . We will have a raffle, tombola and entertainment at the entrance from the New Forest Brass Band, Good Night Sweethearts and Wire JD of Rock the Pier fame. We also have a heritage trail along the pier highlighting life through the decades and the heritage and history of the pier train and ferry.
We will hope the weather is kind to us and look forward to seeing you there.
This is your project and on behalf of the whole Management Board of Hythe Pier Heritage Association I want to thank you for your continued support.