New Brighton has been long noted as a favourite resort for visitors, who, in the summer months especially, crowd the sands in thousands, and enjoy themselves in a variety of ways. Beautifully situated at the mouth of the Mersey, the locality possess attractions of no ordinary character. The sloping shore, extending beyond the Red Noses, affords excellent facilities for bathing, and from the sandhills and elevated ground at the back magnificent views are obtained of the Cheshire and Lancashire coasts, as well as of the boundless expanse of sea in front. During the last quarter of a century the place had undergone a wonderful change for the better. Of late years a great improvement has been effected in the district by the Wallasey Local Board, and palatial residences and splendid hotels and lodging houses have sprung up in every direction. The former miserable landing place was a serious drawback to the prosperity of New Brighton. The local board were fully alive to the importance of the place, and with commendable spirit they applied to Parliament for powers to borrow money to enable them to erect a new landing stage. This power was obtained, and as a result New Brighton now posses a fine landing stage, connected with the shore by an iron pier about 730 feet in length. With good steamers. combined with punctuality in sailing, it may be expected that this charming watering place of the Mersey will attract yearly an increased number of visitors, as well as add greatly to its permanent residents.
The visitor to New Brighton will now find that another splendid improvement is in progress. This is a magnificent promenade pier which is in course of construction by the New Brighton Pier Company. It will be a similar structure to those at Margate, Blackpool, Brighton, Deal, and other places, all of which have proved highly successful. This new pier was commenced about six months ago, and already it is nearly half completed. It runs parallel with the ferry pier, on the north side, at a distance of 20 feet, and will be 550 feet long, and from 70 to 130 feet wide. It is a most substantial structures. built of iron columns and girders, the columns being sunk in the rocks. The new pier will be approached from the ferry pier by two entrances, each being 30 feet wide, one entrance being at the river end and the other at the shore end. The approach to the promenade pier will be by a flight of broad handsome steps.
At each side of these entrances there will be collectors' boxes for the taking of tolls. Opposite each entrance there will be a fine pavilion, constructed in the octagon form, with a clear space of 25 feet on all sides. Running at the back of the centre of the pier there will be a covered saloon, 130 feet in length, and the main portions of it 28 feet in width, extending to 34 feet in the centre. This magnificent apartment will be fitted with glass folding doors, and form a fine promenade in itself during unfavourable weather. It is also intended to make this saloon available for a variety of purposes, such as refreshment rooms, bazaars, flower shows, concerts, etc. Over the saloon there will be a promenade of the same dimensions, with a magnificent tower built in the Byzantine style of architecture, which will give the whole structure a handsome and striking appearance. At each end of the saloon there will be an elegant glass weather screen, intended for the protection of visitors while sitting in the open air. On the north side, and opposite the large saloon, the pier will widen into the form of a semi-circle or embayment, which will make the structure at this point 130 feet wide. The deck of the pier will be covered with a sort of concrete, to render it comfortable by walking in wet weather; and a line of comfortable seats, of handsome design, will extend round the entire structure, which will be 5 feet above the level of the ferry pier. From the deck of the new pier an uninterrupted view of the sea, the river, the shipping, and the busy and populous town on the other side will be obtained.
The work, as we have already stated, is of a most substantial character. The engineer is Mr. E. Birch, of London, who has successfully completed similar piers at other watering places; and the contractor is Mr. J.E. Dowson, also of London. If deemed desirable, one-half of the pier might be opened to the public in August next but the contractor is bound to complete the whole work by the end of the present year.
The New Brighton Pier Company deserve great credit for the spirit they have exhibited in proceeding with this undertaking in the face of much difficulty. This splendid promenade pier is sure to attract immense numbers of people to New Brighton, by which the ferry will reap a rich harvest. Under these circumstances it seems somewhat strange that but few residents of the locality have taken up shares in the undertaking, the greater portion of the capital being subscribed by Manchester gentlemen, who no doubt have looked upon the matter in a practical point of view, and calculated, from the success of such piers in other places, upon realising a handsome return for their outlay.