Trinity Chain Pier, originally called Trinity Pier of Suspension, was built in Trinity, Edinburgh, Scotland in 1821. The pier was designed by Samuel Brown, a pioneer of chains and suspension bridges. It was intended to serve ferry traffic on the routes between Edinburgh and the smaller ports around the Firth of Forth, and was built during a time of rapid technological advance. It was well used for its original purpose for less than twenty years before traffic was attracted to newly developed nearby ports, and it was mainly used for most of its life for sea bathing. It was destroyed by a storm in 1898; a building at the shore end survives, much reconstructed, as a pub and restaurant called the Old Chain Pier.
The Firth of Forth is an estuary which separates Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, from the peninsula of Fife. Traffic across the firth has been important for centuries; as well as having industry and agriculture, Fife lies on the shortest route from Edinburgh to the north of the country. The closest bridge to Edinburgh for many years was at Stirling, 36 miles (58 km) to the west. Queensferry, 10 miles (16 km) west, was named after Queen Margaret who crossed by ferry from there in 1070. Traffic across the firth was regulated and taxed as early as 1467, and was historically centred on the route from Leith to Kinghorn. A ferry from Newhaven to Burntisland started in 1792. Travel by sailing boat and stagecoach was slow and unreliable; Walter Scott in The Antiquary (1816) described the journey from Edinburgh to cross at Queensferry as being "like a fly through a glue-pot".
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