Ryde Esplanade engraving  circa 1860Ryde has a varied and interesting history. Here Historic Ryde Society shows the wonderful things that Ryde had to offer those who visited this Regency and Victorian gem off the South coast of England.

This early engraving of the Esplanade, which we have used for the banner at the top of the page, comes from a book of fifty engravings of the Isle of WIght dating from the 1860s. The Esplanade Hotel was opened in 1868 by the Kemp family, who also ran the baths which can be seen in the picture, occupying the spot where The Marine is today.

The Esplanade was laid out between 1855/56, but things didn’t always go according to plan………….

Observer June 7 1856
THE ESPLANADE – This great improvement is nearly completed. The footway next to the sea is nearly formed, the pavement is being laid down, the carriage way nearly gravelled, and the stone coping upon the old is rapidly proceeded with. The old sluice way is also being converted into a landing-place for boats. There seems to be some very backhanded work about it, however, which is surprising to us. For instance, as soon as the footway was formed it was torn to pieces getting the coping upon the wall; as soon as the carriage way was gravelled it was torn up for drains; and by the time it is quite completed it will have again to be torn up to lay down gas pipes! By whose arrangements these absurdities occur we know not, but it is ridiculous to see them. We understand the celebration of its opening will take place on the 28th inst. by a fete to the poor.

Ryde grew very rapidly, as you will see from this map, published by Bacon, in 1906. The map very clearly shows the three piers of the day – Ryde pier, the Victoria Pier and Appley pier. Some may argue that Ryde pier is also three-in-one, so at this time, Ryde had five piers! To learn more about different aspects of the history of Ryde, go to the History Drop-down menu at the top of the page.

Bacon's Map of Ryde dated 1906