During the Victorian era, many fashionable British seaside resorts built pleasure piers – long, narrow cast-iron and wood structures, extending out into the sea.
Their initial purpose was for people to walk and benefit from the sea air, but they quickly developed into amusement areas, often incorporating a theatre. They were also used as landing-stages for paddle steamers.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, there were over a hundred pleasure piers in Britain; today, there are about half that number. However, attempts are being made to restore and preserve those piers that still exist.
Take a walk along the Morecombe sea-front in 1901, and note the advertisement for the entertainment on the West End pier: