Focus Friday - Pleasure Piers

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Friday, Jul 16 2010 by

Pleasure piers were first built in England, during the 19th century. The earliest structures were those at Ryde, built 1813/4, Leith(Trinity Chain) 1821 and Brighton (Chain) 1823. Only the oldest of these piers still remains.

Ryde Ferry Terminal pier (Google Maps)
Ryde Ferry Terminal pier

At that time the introduction of the railways for the first time permitted mass tourism to dedicated seaside resorts. However, the large tidal ranges at many such resorts meant that for much of the day, the sea was not visible from dry land. The pleasure pier was the resorts’ answer, permitting holiday makers to promenade over and alongside the sea at all times. The longest Pleasure pier in the world is at Southend-on-sea, Essex, and extends 2,158 metres (1.34 mi) into the Thames estuary.

Southend Pier (Birds Eye)
Southend Pier

The longest pier on the West Coast of the United States is the Oceanside Pier.

Ruby's Diner on Oceanside Pier (Birds Eye)
Ruby's Diner on Oceanside Pier

Pleasure piers often include other amusements and theatres as part of the attraction. Such a pier may be open air, closed, or partly open, partly closed.

Casino Pier (Birds Eye)
Casino Pier

Pacific Park (Birds Eye)
Pacific Park
Morey's Piers - 25th Avenue Pier (Birds Eye)
Morey's Piers - 25th Avenue Pier

Central Pier (Birds Eye)
Central Pier

Sometimes a pier has two decks.

Pier of Scheveningen (Google Maps)
Pier of Scheveningen

Early pleasure piers were of wooden construction, with iron structures being introduced with the construction in 1855 of Margate Jetty, in Margate, England. Margate was wrecked in storms in 1978 and was never repaired.

Remains of the first iron pleasure pier - Margate Jetty (Google Maps)
Remains of the first iron pleasure pier - Margate Jetty

The oldest iron pier still remaining is in Southport, England, and dates from 1860.

Southport Pier under restoration (Google Maps)
Southport Pier under restoration