Taken from the book: Ryde Isle of Wight Its Sports and Attractions:
One of the most characteristic features of Ryde is its pier, which projects into the sea for the distance of half a mile and affords a beautiful panoramic view of the Solent, Spithead and the town.
Opened in 1814, it was the first pier in the country to combine purposes of traffic and pleasure. Eleven years later a steam packet service was established with the mainland, and now 100 steamers arrive and depart daily in the season. Numerous water trips are provided, the choice of destination between Weymouth on the West, Brighton on the East, Cherbourg, round the Island, or any seaside town on its shores. Nowhere can first class yachting be more conveniently seen. It is no wonder then, that the number of persons using the pier annually is nearly a million. During the Ryde week, it presents one of the gayest and most animated scenes imaginable. Passengers land and embark in their thousands; the Solent is covered with craft of all sizes, from the ocean-going steamer to the tiny Redwing yacht; and the Pier Head is thronged with promenaders. A double line electric tram runs up the pier and is naturally a popular mode of conveyance, as it carries the passenger from either end of the pier to the other for the small sum of one penny. This was the first Electric Railway in England under the Board of Trade, having been opened in March, 1866. There is an exceedingly pretty Pavilion, which will accommodate about 750 persons, at the north end of the pier. This was erected in 1895, at the cost of £7,500. Musical and dramatic entertainments are given here nightly during the season and the finest military bands from Portsmouth can be heard all the year round. On Sundays sacred concerts are held during the summer. An unsurpassable view can be obtained from the roof of the Pavilion. Promenade concerts are given in the open-air every morning during July, August and September. Yachtsmen are allowed to land free when their vessels are on the Ryde station; and by an arrangement with the Ryde Corporation, who own the Water Works, yachts’ crews are supplied gratuitously with excellent drinking water.