In 1863 the PS (Paddle Steamer) Chancellor was wrecked attempting a landing a Ventnor Harbour pier, holed on the Lion Rock.
In 1887 Southsea-Ventnor-Sandown & Shanklin Steamboat Co started services, and in 1888: P S Dandie Dinmont , ‘Ventnor’s own steamer’, was brought down from Scotland. Despite a chequered career, including sinking in Portsmouth Harbour, she lasted until 1899.
By 1900 there were many fine paddle steamers in Solent waters, and most, if not all, called at Ventnor Pier, including Balmoral, Lorna Doone, Solent Queen, Bournemouth Queen, Empress, Emperor of India, Stirling Castle, Princess Helena, Duchess of Norfolk, Cambria, Glen Rosa, and Monarch. In this golden age trips were available to Sussex, Dorset and even Devon resorts as well as across the channel. From the 1930s until the 1950s more well known steamers called, including Gracie Fields and Princess Elizabeth.
Between 1940 and 1945 many steamers had an heroic war. A lot were lost or returned in run down condition and had to be scrapped.
The 1960s saw the end of ‘paddlers’, but from the 1980s onwards, although there is no pier at Ventnor, the PS Waverley can still be seen passing on her annual visits to the South coast.