[ILN 18 Sep 1869]
The Promenade Pier at Douglas, Isle of Man
The town and port of Douglas, in a noble bay on the south-east side of the Isle of Man, accessible from Liverpool by a daily service of commodious and well-conducted steam-boats, which perform the voyage of about seventy miles in five hours and a half, may now claim to rival the Channel Islands as a convenient place of resort for health-seekers and holiday folk. The climate of the Isle of Man, with its atmosphere of cool, fresh breezes, compounded of sea air and mountain air, is less relaxing in summer than that of the west and south of England ; while the picturesque features of its rocky coast and diversified inland scenery, with the distant views of the English, Scottish, and Irish shores, present a great variety of interesting objects for the tourist to observe. Douglas a town of some 16,000 people, le rapidly improving, and contains many good lodging-houses, with several first-class hotels, one of which, indeed, was built for the mansion of the Duke of Athol, and stands in its own park or pleasure-grounds. The attractions of the place have now been increased by the opening of the new Promenade Pier, shown in our Illustration, which runs out l000ft. into the sea from a point about the centre of the semi-circular shore of Douglas Bay, but nearly a mile distant from the old and busy part of the town, with its narrow, crooked streets and overcrowded quay. The construction of this pier is due to the enterprising spirit of several inhabitants of Douglas, including Mr. Harris, the High Bailiff ; Mr. H. B. Noble, Dr. Okell, Mr. Killey, Mr. D. Lewin, and Mr. G. Sherwood. The work was designed and executed by Mr. John Dixon, of London, who built the pier at Southport, on the Lancashire coast. The Douglas pier has been completed within five months, under the superintendence of Mr. Waynman Dixon, as resident engineer. It is a light structure, carried forward upon seventy-eight cast-iron piles, which support, by pairs of columns, the wrought - iron girders, overlaid with a timber floor 17 ft. wide, but spreading to a width of 40 ft. at the seaward end. The approach is by a broad flight of steps from the road in front of Villa Marina, near the Esplanade. There is an office, like a small Chinese pagoda, for collecting tolls, with handsome gates, and a recording turnstile for the visitors to pass through. They are protected by a secure railing along each side of the pier. At the seaward end, where a band of music will play in the summer evenings, is a refreshment-saloon, with a smoking-gallery upon the roof above. Boats can embark passengers at the pierhead in all states of the tide. The whole structure is prettily decorated and painted. The ceremony of naming and opening the new pier, as we mentioned last week, was performed by Mrs. Loch, the wife of Mr. H. B. Loch, C.B., Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Man, and formerly of the British Consular Service in China. Another pier is still under construction at Douglas of a more substantial and utilitarian character.