The Shanklin Esplanade & Pier Co. was formed in the 1870s and work began on the pier in August 1888. It was built high off the ground so that bathing machines could pass underneath. The first steamer to dock at the pier was the Flying Falcon on 18th August 1890, the pier’s opening day.
The pier was 1,200 foot long, had two small pagoda style toll booths at its entrance and by 1893 had a band-stand and pavilion on the seaward end.
1899 saw the pier’s ownership being moved to that of Shanklin Urban District Council and in 1909 the Grand Pavilion in the centre of the pier was built, although this was destroyed by fire in 1918.
The pier was sectioned during the Second World War and suffered bomb damage.
The pier was doing fine up until the 1970s. In 1976, after a brief closure, it reopened under private ownership, with shows and cruises resuming and the Shanklin Pier Preservation Society was formed to raise money for repairs. However, a storm destroyed a part of the pier in October 1987.
Following the storm, South Wight Borough Council bought the pier for £25,000 and spent £189,000 demolishing it in February 1993.