THEY attract thousands of visitors each year with people flocking to get a photo of them. 

But how much do you know about Bournemouth and Boscombe piers? 

Here we look at 11 things you may not know about our historic landmarks. 

1. The world’s first ever water polo match took place off Bournemouth Pier in 1876.

2. In 1993, an explosive device was found under Bournemouth Pier. It was one of six bombs believed to have been planted by the IRA throughout Bournemouth town centre. Maples furniture store was destroyed and three other shops seriously damaged. No one was hurt during the blasts but the damage was estimated at £1million.

3. The first pier at Bournemouth was completed in 1856 and consisted of a short wooden jetty.

4. In 1861, a much longer wooden pier designed by George Rennie was opened but it had to be replaced with an iron structure in 1866 after it was infested by Teredo worms.

5. The iron pier didn’t last very long as the T-shaped landing stage was swept away in a gale later that year.

6. Disaster struck again in 1876 when another storm caused it to collapse and it had to close.

7. World famous pier designer Eugenius Birch was commissioned to design a new pier for Bournemouth, which cost £21,600 and opened in 1880.

The Whale, Boscombe Pier, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset

8. In 1897, a whale washed up on one of Bournemouth’s beaches. The coastguard auctioned it off to a local man for £27 who wanted to display its bones. The whale skeleton went on to be displayed on Boscombe Pier, attracting crowds for around 30 years. The 65-ft mammal, believed to be a blue whale, was eventually removed and ground down as fertiliser.

Bournemouth Pier, Bournemouth, Dorset

9. On July 5, 1940, as a precaution against German invasion, soldiers from 18th Field Park Company of the Royal Engineers partially demolished Bournemouth Pier, blowing up the last three sections. After WW2 ended, the pier was repaired and re-opened in 1946. 

10. Bournemouth’s Pier Theatre opened in 1960 but closed in 2012 and was transformed into an indoor adventure centre. A number of household names appeared at the venue over the years including Sid James, Ted Rogers, Sooty and Bernard Bresslaw.  

11. Boscombe Pier first opened in 1889 although the pier head was not added until 1926. The building at the end of the pier was used as a theatre, a roller skating rink and amusement arcade but went on to close in 1989.