0) What can you find on some piers these days?
A. A railway.
B. An amusement park.
C. Luxury restaurants.
1) Why were piers first developed?
A. As a place for enjoyment.
B. For getting on and off boats.
C. For walking along the coast.
2) What were early pleasure piers made of?
3) What was responsible for an increase in the popularity of pleasure piers?
A. Bigger and more ornate pleasure piers.
B. Increased employment.
C. The development of the railways.
4) How many of the pleasure piers that existed in the late 19th century still exist?
5) What are the reasons for today's most successful pleasure piers?
A. They are bigger, longer, and more spectacular.
B. They create employment.
C. They have combined tradition with entertainment.
6) How have piers adapted to the changing leisure climate?
A. They are more natural and ecological.
B. They are wilder and more fun.
C. They provide enjoyment to all sorts of people.
7) Why should Britain's piers be protected?
A. They create jobs.
B. They are part of everyone's memories.
C. Both of the above.
Walking on water is easy at most British seaside resorts. Stretching elegantly out to sea, stepping across the waves, pleasure piers are the iconic structures of Britain's coast. And there's more to piers than merely promenading: many have cafés, ice cream parlours and seafood stalls, entertainment halls and amusement arcades. (0) Some are so long they even have railways running along their length.
Piers began life in the 18th century (1) as landing stages for boats: on a small island without proper roads or railways, this was a good way to travel. Ships from continental Europe were also able to dock in the deeper water at the end of the piers.
Pleasure piers began to develop in the 19th century. The earliest examples were simple structures (2) built out of wood. During the 1860s to 1880s, however, Victorian engineers and entrepreneurs built ornate cast-iron structures with magnificent music halls and pavilions. (3) The expansion of the railways brought holidaymakers flocking to the seaside. The main attractions were promenading, dancing, music and theatre. As more visitors arrived, piers became bigger, longer, and more spectacular.
At one time, during the late 19th century, there were almost 100 piers around the British coastline: (4) today only half survive. The most successful pleasure piers have adapted to the changing leisure climate and now (5) combine heritage and tradition with the demand for cabaret, music and nightclubs. (6) During the day they offer family fun, fishing, candy floss and leisure rides. By night there is eating, drinking and dancing. Some piers even offer a touch of the wild: at Southend, for example, you can enjoy birdwatching over the Thames Estuary. On a practical level, (7) piers also create jobs in resorts where unemployment rates are often high, but there is another, more important reason that Britain's piers should be treasured, says Tim Mickleburgh of the National Piers Society:
I regard piers as being part of Britain's heritage and everyday seaside heritage. Seaside, maritime, is very much appropriate for Britain, being a country completely surrounded by sea, but, on the other hand, (7) piers are everybody's form of history, a lot of the emphasis you get with organisations like the National Trust, they do a very, very good job restoring stately homes, castles and the like. But they're not really structures that everybody has got memories of, they're very, very much geared to one particular group of people in society. I like to look at piers as being everybody's part of history.
1B 2C 3C 4B 5C 6C 7C