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Ryde Pier
Ryde, Isle of Wight
associated engineer
R.E. Cooper
date  1813 - 1814
era  Georgian  |  category  Pier, seaside  |  reference  SZ592933
ICE reference number  HEW 433
This pier was built for promenading and to service holiday ferry traffic between the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth. It was the first major structure of its type in Britain and has been through many incarnations.
This is also the only British seaside pier to have had three deck sections.
The architect John Kent made the first designs, showing a 20ft wide pier of stone and brick. This was considered to be too expensive, so oak timbers were used instead and the width reduced to 12ft, with 20ft passing places at intervals. R.E. Cooper built the revised design.
When built, the pier was 1,740ft long and, in response to the growing size of the ferries, was expanded several times to reach 2,250ft by 1842. The pierhead was extended in 1859 and now incorporates a railway station, though the original pavilion has been demolished.
In 1864 a two-track, horse-hauled tramway was added on a separate structure alongside. Twelve years later, steam traction was used and in 1886 third-rail electric traction was introduced, making Ryde the first standard gauge electric railway in Britain.
Two years earlier, Ryde station had opened, and public pressure for a pierhead terminus was growing. A two-track jetty was built in 1879-80, borne 2,178ft over the water on timber decking set on an iron support structure, the legs of this being driven to the seabed through quicksand as deep as 50ft.
The structure consists of 45 wrought-iron trestles made from 12in diameter tubing with longitudinal fins riveted externally, six per tube, followed by 42 trestles on cast-iron screw piles, each with three sets of wings.
Between 1884 and 1890 major renovation of both piers was undertaken. Timber structures were replaced with wrought iron, and the deck of the jetty was replaced with reinforced concrete in 1906.
Vehicles with internal combustion engines replaced the electric in 1927, and by 1967 the island's railway service overall was so reduced that electricity was reintroduced to make use of ex-London Transport rolling stock.
All tram service ceased two years later and the tram pier was redecked for the road vehicles which formerly used the promenade section.
Research: PD
reference sources   CEH SouthSurvSP

Ryde Pier