History Of The Royal Pier

Royal Pier Gatehouse in 1912

The Royal Pier Southampton was opened on 8 July 1833 by the then Princess Victoria (later to become Queen Victoria).  Built to provide steamer services to the Isle of Wight and provide a place for visiting ships to dock. Plans to construct the Pier began in November 1829 after the Southampton harbour board agreed to proposals to boost local tourism and trade. The act of parliament authorising the pier passed in 1831 and the construction was funded through a mortgage. The pier was designed by Edward L Stephens, a royal navy officer.

In 1847 a horse-drawn tramway was constructed to link the pier to Southampton Terminus railway station to help boast cargo ships docking at the pier. In 1871 the tramway was extended to the end of the pier with a single platform station being erected. From 1876 trams switched from being horse-drawn to using light steam locomotives. In 1888 due to the popularity the pier was given a new gatehouse. Later in 1894 the gatehouse was expanded and four years later a new pontoon was added to the pier enabling two steamers to be berthed simultaneously. The addition of the new pontoon coincided with the pier being officially named the Royal Pier.

The pavilion was extended in 1922 and the gatehouse was again rebuilt in 1930. The enlarged pavilion could seat up to 1000 people and was a popular dance venue called Mecca. The pavilion underwent further work in 1963 to turn it into a ballroom. The pier was closed at the end of 1979. The gatehouse was reopened as a restaurant in 1986 but a fire on 4 May 1987 destroyed many of the structures on the pier. In 1992 another fire damaged the restaurant. The restaurant was refurbished in 2008 and opened as Royal Thai serving Thai cuisine. In 2018 after another complete refurbishment the Royal Pier reopened as Kuti’s Brasserie on the ground floor and The Gatehouse 1833 on the first floor and outdoor balcony. The venue has become popular Southampton destination for restaurant goers, weddings and private events.

Royal Pier Gatehouse in 2018