Were you among the crowds who gathered to watch the demolition of Weymouth's Pier Bandstand in 1986?

It cost £30,000 to demolish part of the crumbling structure - deemed unsafe and too costly to repair by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

Thousands of people lined Weymouth seafront 33 years ago to watch a symbol of the resort's holiday history sent crashing into the sea.

Dorset Echo:

Demolition starts in April 1986

Dorset Echo:

Demolition starts in April 1986

Dorset Echo:

Dorset Echo:

The Pier Bandstand was designed by V J Wenning and its construction by Christiani Neilson began in January 1938 using mostly local labour.

Mr Wenning, from London, was the winning entry chosen from 26 architects who entered a competition to design the building.

Around 3,000 tons of concrete, 180 tons of steel, five-and-a-half miles of electrical conduit, 757 metres of neon tubing and 1,200 light bulbs were listed as materials used during the nine-month project.

The Pier Bandstand was officially opened by Mayor of Weymouth J T Goddard during a special ceremony featuring music from the Municipal Orchestra on May 25, 1939.

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A postcard picture of Weymouth's former pier bandstand

The structure, which was 60 metres long, sat slightly back from the resort's Esplanade on a semicircular stand projecting towards the sea.

Critics argued that it stood out too noticeably and awkwardly broke the gentle curve of Weymouth bay.

Nevertheless the building proved popular and went on to become the venue in the town for band concerts, open-air dancing, roller skating and even wrestling.

The Pier Bandstand was a symbol of the resort's holiday heyday in the 1950s and 1960s and also used to stage the crowd-pulling Miss Weymouth contest.

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By the 1970s the complex had become a massive open-air amusement arcade and also boasted a gift shop and restaurant.

But the seaward end became unstable and dangerous and local councillors were told it would cost around £300,000 to shore up and preserve.

They decided that was far too expensive and opted to demolish part of the symbolic landmark - for the cut-down price of £30,000.

The pier was blown up during a stunt on May 4, 1986, organised by Weymouth's leisure director Harvey Bailey. He turned the demolition into a Bank Holiday weekend attraction that brought in crowds of sightseers and photographers.

Two Birmingham schoolgirls - Carol Firth, 14, and sister Susan, 11 - pushed the button to trigger the big bang after winning a national competition.

Following the destruction there were rumours aplenty of the building being spotted rising majestically out of the water - an eerie sight allegedly captured on film by a local snapper.

Although the seaward end of the structure was blown up, the amusement arcade at the entrance lived on.

But fresh plans to extend it some 20 feet across the Esplanade provoked angry reactions among councillors, some of whom argued it should all be torn down.

It survived and was later refurbished - the original 1930s art deco style was restored complete with a brand-new restaurant.

The Sea Palace Chinese restaurant was officially opened in July 2002 enjoying stunning views across Weymouth Bay. The space is now occupied by Al Molo restaurant.

We'd love to track down the two sisters from Birmingham, Susan and Carol Firth, who won the competition to trigger the big bang. It'd be great to hear where they are now! Email joanna.davis@dorsetecho.co.uk