After the passing of a parliamentary act in 1812, plans were drawn
up by John Kent of Southampton. Work commenced on 29th July 1813,
and the 1740 foot pier opened on 26th July 1814. It was extended
in 1824 to 2040 feet and the pier-head was enlarged in 1827.
Further extensions in 1833 took it to 2250 feet while the
pier-head was expanded again in 1842 and 1856-60. A tramway pier
which opened on August 29th 1864 was added alongside. The railway
pier, adjacent to this, opened on July 12 1880.
A concert pavilion was
constructed at the pier-head in 1895, and from then until 1911,
the wooden piles were gradually replaced with iron. The lifeboat
station closed in 1922 and, in June 1924, the Southern Railway
took over the pier. In the early 1930s the pier was rebuilt in
concrete. After the Second World War, the pavilion concert hall
was used as a ballroom.
In 1969, the tramway closed
and the pier was partly dismantled, leaving gaps between the
promenade and railway piers.
In December 1976, a five year
re-planking operation was completed. In the early 1980s, a covered
waiting area replacing the Victorian waiting rooms, was
constructed on the pier-head. More parking spaces were also
Trains still leave from the
pier-head and ferries maintain a regular service from this 2305
foot pier to Portsmouth harbour.
In August 2010, the pier was
closed to vehicles after the structure failed a routine
maintenance check. Wightlink then announced that car drivers would
have to pay towards repairs to Ryde pier with the re-introduction
of a charge for vehicles using the pier. And the company said that
the pier would remain shut to vehicles until March 2011.
In July 2012, a car collided with the railings of the pier causing £10,000 worth of damage.
In April 2013, Wightlink, the pier owners, organised a special Party on the Pier to celebrate the 200th
anniversary of the laying of the pierís foundation stone. A calm, sunny day saw hundreds attend the event
which delved back into musical history.
The following month, a small section of the 3m long gangway at the pier's main berth collapsed into
the sea as it was being retracted following a ferry service. No-one was injured but the
main berth had to be taken out of service for repairs.
Note: See also Ryde Victoria
Pier in the Lost Piers section