LOOK BACK IN TIME: 14 February 1857

The original Ryde Pier opened on July 26, 1814. Before then ferry passengers had to be carried ashore on the back of a porter – an undignified and uncomfortable state of affairs. The pier was originally 576 yards (527m) long, but had been extended to 745 yards (681m) by 1833.

The Isle of Wight Observer published on 14th February, 1857 reported on the decision to erect a new pier alongside the first, which would carry horse-drawn trams from the pier head to the Esplanade. The IW Observer reporter was correct that this would not happen quickly – it did not open until August 1864. The third pier, carrying the railway line opened in July 1880.

RYDE AND STOKES BAY STEAM FERRY. After great discussion and consideration of the subject, the directors of the above Company have decided upon erecting a pier at Ryde, instead of an inclined slipway as originally proposed, to communicate with the Steam Ferry, which will run in connection with the Stokes Bay Railway. They have also taken offices at No. 1, Pier-street, so that every information relating to the scheme, as well as to future traffic, can be readily obtained first hand, in contradistinction to the United Steam Company who have two offices at Portsmouth and none at Ryde. The particulars will be found in an advertisement. There will be a meeting of the joint Committee of Commissioners and the Directors of the Company during the present month, when, it is expected, all preliminaries will be settled, and the works forthwith commenced. The share list, we understand, is rapidly assuming a very encouraging appearance. It is intended that the pier shall be constructed sufficiently substantial and extensive to admit of the ingress and egress of railway carriages, in the event of a line being constructed in the Isle of Wight, while the footway will be spacious and protected by a handsome iron rail, and at the end there will be a grand head available for the purpose of promenading, and sufficiently distant from the traffic to make it agreeable, while there will be the option afforded of riding to and from the place of promenade – a great acquisition in sultry or showery weather. We are unable to state whether it will be opened for traffic during the coming season, but are inclined to think it will not.