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Ryde Pier, Ryde

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#13 of 32 in Things to do in Ryde
Ryde Pier is an early 19th-century pier serving the town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England. It is the world's oldest seaside pleasure pier.Before the pierBefore the pier was built, passengers had the uncomfortable experience of coming ashore on the back of a porter and then, depending on the state of the tide, having to walk as far as half a mile across wet sand before reaching the town. The need for a pier was obvious, especially if the town was to attract the wealthy and fashionable visitors who were beginning to patronise other seaside resorts.The original pierThe pier was designed by John Kent of Southampton, and its foundation stone laid on 29 June 1813. The pier opened on 26 July 1814, with, as it still has, a timber-planked promenade. The structure was originally wholly timber, and measured 576 yards. By 1833, extensions took the overall length to 745 yards. It is this pre-Victorian structure that has, with some modifications, carried pedestrians and vehicles ever since.AdditionsA second 'tramway' pier was built next to the first, opening on 29 August 1864. Horse-drawn trams took passengers from the pier head to the esplanade. Before construction of the railway pier, the tramway continued to Ryde railway station at St John's Road. From 1886 to 1927 the trams were powered by electricity from a third rail, and from then until 1969 were petrol-powered.On 12 July 1880 a third pier was opened, alongside the first two, providing a direct steam railway link to the pier-head. The railway was owned jointly by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway and London and South Western Railway, as far as Ryde St John's Road, to connect with their ship services to Portsmouth. However, trains were run by the independent Isle of Wight Railway and Isle of Wight Central Railway, who owned the tracks beyond St John's Road and operated services to Ventnor and Cowes via Newport respectively.
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Ryde Pier Reviews
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  • A pleasant walk out to sea, without bright lights and deafening noise, no I'm not a grumpy old man, more interested in what's left of the old pier and the "Tube train" Tried to book a ticket to Marble...  more »
  • A nice pier where you can drive to the end, with great views back to the coastline. A Costa Coffee is at the end so you can sit and watch the ferries come and go ans well as the train.  more »
  • Cold windy walk in February. But plenty of good views all around, the existing railway tracks in the middle have gone and rebuilt at some point on the side of them but the whole pier is rather neglect...  more »
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