Ryde District Heritage Centre - Giving Ryde's Past to the Future
This website is currently under reconstruction. A great deal of work is going on in the background, and it will seem that no new pages are being added. This is not the case, but it may take some time before the new pages appear. Please bear with us!
Ryde District Heritage Centre is currently open from Monday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm. During July and August it is the aim of HRS to open seven days a week. We currently need more volunteers to man the Centre. Full training is given and flexible hours are on offer. If you feel you may be able to help out and assist the Society in providing this valuable public service, please get in touch.
Marcia Mence is the Artist in Residence for May. Her exhibition will be in place from Monday, May 13 until Saturday, June 15. (See below)
Ryde District Heritage Centre - If you would like to help in any way, click here, or telephone 01983 717435.
Easysearch and easyfundraising have now brought in over £200, at no cost to anyone! Sign in here when you buy anything online, and raise money for Ryde District Heritage Centre.... It couldn't be easier.
Ryde District Heritage Centre
Following the disappointing news of the failure of the latest Heritage Lottery Fund grant application, the Ice Well Fund has launched. Treads, risers, bricks and planks in the Heritage Centre can all be sponsored by individuals, groups or businesses, to add to the Fund. £600 was raised in the first two weeks of this enterprise - an impressive start, but the momentum needs to be maintained. Please tell family and friends all about this wonderful opportunity to go down in the history of Ryde and the Ryde District Heritage Centre. £10 will secure a one foot length of a pier plank on the floor, or your name on a brick on the floor. £200 will ensure your name will appear on the stairs. All contributions will go towards opening the magnificent ice well for future generations.
You will soon be able to take part in this sponsorship opportunity via this page.
HRS has been shortlisted for the Community Action Awards for the second year running. Judging took place on Tuesday, April 30, when the judging panel was shown around the Centre, including the first extension opened last July by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester. Plans for the future were also discussed, as the extensions move further into the basement of the arcade, to include the rotunda basement and the ice well. Still a lot of work to be done! The photographs above and below show Brian, Tony and Liz at the Community Action Awards 2012, when HRS was runner up in the Arts and Heritage category, winning £100.
If you know of a Youth or School group which may be interested in a visit to the Centre, please get in touch with Judith, our School/Youth Liaison Officer via the Centre. Although Judith is not in the Centre on a daily basis, messages can be left for her. Telephone 01983 717435 between 11am and 4pm on Tuesdays to Thursdays, and Saturdays for further information. Risk assessment forms and worksheets are available. Organisers are welcome to visit the Centre free of charge to discuss their requirements.
The Ice Well
The Newchurch Poor Rate Books, which are held in the County Record Office at Hillside, Newport, list the owners and tenants, rates, etc., of buildings and businesses from the early 1830s. The Arcade is rated as 14 separate retail units, a Large Room (now The Lanes), a Gas House, Wine vaults and Ice Well. This ice well served Charles Dixon in 1836, who ran The Soup Room from Number 8. (Turtle soup sold at 15 shillings (75p) a quart.) Another Union Street fishmonger leased the well for several years. The well later became an opportunity for Henry Knight and his family to attend to the increasingly popular demand for confectionery in early Victorian Ryde. In October 2012, the ice well was revealed in all its glory, having been bricked up and forgotten for the last fifty or so years. In remarkable condition, and with amazing brickwork, the well has been cleared of over 10000 litres of PH 7, so long-standing, stagnant water. A large pile of wood, rubbish and silt has been removed, as well as a large amount of metalwork. So far parts belonging to a Victorian range, tools and pipes have been identified. More images on the Ryde District Heritage Centre Gallery page.
Recent research on ice wells has revealed the exciting fact that this well could be unique in the British Isles! Of 2099 ice houses and wells listed in The Ice Houses of Britain, Beamon and Roaf, 1990, only two are integral to a building. One is in a house near Northallerton, of a completely different design, and the other was destroyed during WWII. A rare find indeed and worthy of public support! Watch this space.....
Volunteers always welcome!
More volunteers are always needed to help with the many tasks associated with the running of Ryde District Heritage Centre! Brian and Diana recently took the photoboards out of hibernation and distributed them around the town. This took them an hour and three quarters - so a combined total of three and a half man-hours. This equates to £38.75 in match-funding terms! The photograph shows three of the Wightlink staff at the wet end of the pier joining in the fun. Three of these photoboards were painted and designed by Lynne and Brian for the first celebration in July, 2011. Since then, they have proved extremely popular with members of the public, and have so far raised nearly £400 for funds! Wightlink staff said how popular they are with passengers moving through the terminal, and HRS is very grateful to Mayor Wayne Whittle, who has two boards at his two seaside cafés, over the summer period. If you want a bit of free fun, head down to Delicious, at the dry end of the pier, or The Wimpy on the Beach for further opportunities of a photograph with a difference. Many thanks to James, of the Donald McGill museum, for permission to adapt the designs of Donald McGill.
If you would like to help with Ryde District Heritage Centre, please call 01983 717435, between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday. Volunteers receive full training and a Volunteer Handbook. Don't worry if you're not familiar with computers, as volunteering in the centre brings new opportunities to learn new skills!
Please get in touch if there is anything you think you may be able to do to help. Painting, vacuuming, carpentry, filling, dusting, putting pictures on the wall, being photographed and interviewed by the media, are all things volunteers have been doing recently. Once the Ice Well Fund has sufficient in the pot, we'll be able to start work on the new extension. Then it will be all hands to the deck!