Plymouth Promenade Pier was first opened to the public on 29 May 1884. It was the brain child of Edward Lancaster who had a tailoring and outfitting business in Old Town Street. A company was formed, £45,000 was raised locally by public subscription and in 1880, work started.
Things did not go well though and by the following year, little progress had been made. Towards the end of 1882, a new contractor was brought in and a resident engineer - a local man called Robert Dawson - was appointed to supervise the work on a daily basis.
A contemporary description of the pier says:
"It is one of the latest additions to the many attractions of Plymouth and is one of the finest structures of the kind on the coast, its total length being 480 feet. On the pier head is erected a handsome windscreen, enclosing a space 120ft by 109 ft in which the bandstand is erected, also a large number of reserved chairs for the use of visitors not wishing to promenade during the concerts which are its chief attraction, the Royal Marine and other Military Bands, which it is the good fortune of Plymouth to have stationed in her midst, performing frequently.
In providing good landing accommodation for all kinds of vessels at any time of tide, the Pier has supplied a long-felt want, and it is anticipated that yachting at the port will receive quite an impetus, not that the cause of complaints in this respect has been removed.
We must refer visitors to the time bills for particulars of the large number of pleasure steamers leaving the Pier, for the enjoyable water excursions to the celebrated Eddystone Lighthouse, up the River Tamar, and other rivers, all of which are well worth a visit."
At the Opening Ceremony, the Mayor opened the Pier, Edward Lancaster had a place of honour and the Band of the Royal Marines played to some 30,000 people, many of whom were on the new pier. And just as everything seemed to be going so well, in 1887 the decision was made to sell off the Pier.