Victorian seaside pier for sale: A DIY lover's dream

LONDON Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:15pm EST

LONDON Nov 19 (Reuters) - A Victorian-era English seaside pier, famed for appearing in The Who rock opera "Tommy", is expected to sell for less than the price of an average home when it goes up for auction next month.

The South Parade Pier is going under the hammer with a guide price of between 190,000 pounds ($300,000) to 210,000 pounds, estate agent Clive Emson said on its website.

The average house in the area near the naval base of Portsmouth costs more than 220,000 pounds, according to the Halifax House Price index.

Safety fears have left the pier partially closed and its owners have decided to sell, auctioneer Robert Marchant told Reuters. But there is hope the structure could become a popular tourist attraction again.

"Many people would consider the pier to be the grande dame of the seafront, and this is an opportunity for restoring it to its former glory ... but it needs some serious money spending on it," said Marchant.

First opened in 1878 by Queen Victoria's son Prince Edward, the South Parade Pier was mainly used as a port for ferries to and from the Isle of Wight, the Southsea Pier website said.

It was completely rebuilt after a fire in 1904, and wrecked by fires in 1967 and again in 1974, during the filming of a scene for the British film musical "Tommy", on The Who's 1969 rock opera album, the Southsea Pier website said.

The pier played a "key part" in the D-Day preparations of World War Two, according to the listing. (Reporting By Dasha Afanasieva, editing by Paul Casciato)

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