The history of Ryde Pier is well documented, but articles about its development appear regularly in the 19th century newspapers. It’s interesting to read the thoughts and opinions of the people who were involved in this process. Some footage from the 1930s appears on Youtube, by Southern Railway Films, and some more old footage of Ryde and the Isle of Wight in general appears here and here.

If you wish to learn more about Great British piers, please go to the National Piers Society website.

The beginnings of Ryde Pier

Ryde Pier in the 1850s

Ryde Pier in the 1860s

The Victoria Pier

Ryde Pier in the 1870s

Ryde Pier in the 1880s

Ryde Pier in the 1890s

ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 27th AUGUST 1874

TORPEDO EXPERIMENTS – Many persons watched with interest from the Pier &c., another of the series of torpedo experiments which took place on Friday afternoon. The Oberon was anchored in Stokes Bay, about 800 yards from Fort Monckton, and the only difference between this experiment and that described a fortnight ago was that the mine was placed at a horizontal distance of eighty feet from the ship instead of a hundred, and that the five-hundred pounds of gun-cotton with which the mine was charged was somewhat more saturated with water. On the explosion of the mine the ship lurched and rolled and an immense column of water was thrown into the air. The devastation among the fishes was scarcely so great as before. On board the Oberon the dead lights, bunker plates, hatches are other moveables were disarranged, but beyond a few plates nothing was broken. Two sheep and seven rabbits were entirely uninjured. The Oberon was towed into harbour, but, we believe has not sustained any material damage.

ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER 29th AUGUST 1874

LOST AND FOUND – We were sorry to hear that Mr J W FISHER. Superintendent of the Ryde Pier, while in the act of showing a lady friend the handsome breast pin presented to him by the Crown Prince of Germany, accidentally let it slip into the sea through one of the apertures of the pier. On Friday morning, however, the treasure was recovered by a professional diver, who, after making several unsuccessful dips, fortunately secured the lost gift and restored it to its owner.

THE TOWN REGATTA – On Tuesday and Wednesday next our time-honoured regatta will take place off the pier with promises of more than usual éclat and spirit. The programme issued by the committee promises fair to give two good days’ sport and enjoyment to the sight-seeing public. There is something of one sort or another which cannot fail to please the most fastidious. There is sailing, rowing, sculling, canoeing, aquatic Derby and mortal combat carried out in true martial style, and the everlasting pig hunt, which never fails to cause endless amusement. The committee promise a grand display of fireworks, and we only need a recurrence of the splendid weather to ensure a successful regatta. Great praise is due to the active committee and their indefatigable assistants for the strenuous labours which they have exerted to provide entertainment for our visitors and amusement for all.

THE REGATTA FIREWORKS – For the convenience of persons attending the Ryde regatta on Wednesday and wishing to witness the display of fireworks in the evening, there will be an extra tram from the pier head at 10 o’clock, in connection with a special train to Ventnor, calling at intermediate stations on the Isle of Wight Railway.

ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 7th MAY 1874

BASS FISHING OFF RYDE PIER – These game and lusty fish are now being taken in considerable quantities off Ryde Pier by the rod and line. I hear of one gentleman ( a Colonel N) taking two or three dozen of bass in a single tide, and of another three or four dozen in two or three hours, ranging in weight from 1lb to 3lb each. One of my correspondents says – “They run at the Header spinner three or four at a time”. Thus, if the tides are consulted, an angler may quit London in the morning by the South Western, per return ticket, to the Isle of Wight, have a long day, with plenty of ozone and exercise congenial to his temperament, and back, if he will, to a dinner partly consisting of the delicacy he has secured from the sea. GREVILLE F. In the Field.