Until 1820 ferries and other shipping coming into Newport used the old pier at the bottom of Granary Lane. Now in 2020 only a few stumps remain visible at low tide. This old pier had been built by the Dundee Guildry in the 18th century when the Dundee Guildry leased the Seamills on this side of the river. The pier was built to cope with their increased traffic across the river.
Telford’s Pier 1823
In 1821 the first steam ferry, the Union, was introduced on the crossing. This new thriving ferry service led to a need for better facilities at Newport, and so invitations were extended to two of the most eminent engineers of the day, Thomas Telford and Robert Stevenson. They were asked to draw up plans for new piers and approaches for the ferry. Telford’s plans were adopted and in 1823 work started on the construction of a new pier and also on new roads to east and west. The old Dundee Guildry pier continued to be used for commercial purposes until World War I, after which it gradually fell into disrepair.
Extending the Pier 1928
By the 1920s the increasing number of passengers and motor vehicles, and consequently larger boats, necessitated major extension and improvements to the pier. The pier was lengthened and broadened, and a low water landing stage was built, all of which would render much easier the loading and discharging of passengers and vehicles at all states of the tide. In addition a new waiting-room to accommodate up to four hundred people was added. A grand opening ceremony, presided over by Mr B L Nairn and Lord Provost William High, was held on 20 September 1928. The extended pier served adequately until the closure of the ferry service in 1966.
After the ferries
With the ending of the ferry service in 1966 a new role was found for Newport pier. Dundee University took over the buildings and operated the Tay Estuary Research Centre (TERC) from here until the 1990s. After the premises were vacated by TERC they were bought by David and Liz Anderson who established a successful marine services and supplies business.
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