One of the prerequisites of a Victorian seaside town was the necessity for a shallow shelving beach. This allowed for some paddling and dare we imagine even a little swimming for the adventurous.
Unfortunately the inevitable consequence of this was that at low tide the sea would recede a long way from the shoreline depriving the holidaymaker of the prerequisite ‘sea view’ unless they were willing to endure an arduous walk over the sand or more likely shingle.
Inevitably Victorian engineering provided the solution to the problem – the pleasure pier – allowing easy passage to the waterfront and thus restoring the necessary sea view to presumably be stared at wistfully.
Well, that’s the story you get if you read the Wikipedia article on the subject.
This to me seems like a strange reading of the situation or at least missing another possibility. My personal love of the pier is the view it offers back to land. A view normally only available from a boat.
Anyway, here’s to the Victorian pier whichever way you happen to be looking.