The Victoria pier
About 500 yards east of the Promenade Pier, work began on the Victoria Pier in 1859, Messrs Langdon & Son having worked driving the piles, however, work was severely hampered after the pier was badly damaged by gales. The first section was eventually completed. It was locally known as The Penny Pier due to the 1d tolls. It was funded jointly by the Stokes Bay Pier and Railway Company and the Isle of Wight Ferry Company to link the new Gosport ferry service from Stokes Bay, to Ryde. There was a small toll-house at the entrance, built to the same design as the two at Ryde Pier.
The Victoria Pier was a much more attractive structure than the Ryde Pier, with elaborate ironwork, and the narrow supports giving it a finer appearance.
Built to 970 feet, it was originally meant to be the same length as the existing pier but disagreement between the companies and the Town Commissioners together with a shortage of funds restricted its length. It opened on 1 November 1863 but with an infrequent ferry service from Stokes Bay, and the tide restrictions where it was left high and dry at low water, business was very disappointing. Part of the structure was damaged in a gale and the shareholders, in financial difficulty, were forced to sell it to the Ryde Pier Company in 1865.
The Victoria Pier was then used as a bathing station with public baths erected at the Pier Head and a free bathing stage at the shore end. Hot and cold ozone baths were advertised in 1876 with tickets costing 6d each. It was very popular until the end of the 19th century when the custom declined. An Act of Parliament allowed its demolition in 1916 and finally the remaining traces were washed away in 1924.
Sources: IW Observer & RSHG Archive
Images: Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett