Interesting Relic of Old Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer December 25 1886

During the past week an interesting relic of Old Ryde has been demolished, Baskett’s Cottage, adjoining Union-road. This little model of old-fashioned unpretending comfort is said to be over 100 years old. At all events it was built by old Mr Baskett, who had the garden there. He built the house himself. The walls were made of clay (which was kept together with straw, after the fashion noted in Biblical history), with a coating of plaster, and the roof was thatched with straw. It had two rooms, a similar hut opposite furnishing another room. This little place always had the peculiarity of being warm in winter, and cool in the summer, and there the good old gardener lived for many years, and brought up a large family. At his death, his daughters, the three Misses Baskett, resided there for many years, dropping off one by one, after attaining more than the allotted span of years. When they died the place was sold, and the old-fashioned cottage, which sheltered people so honest, amiable and full of old world simplicity, is now gone. but, strange to say, the walls, though formed of mere ordinary clay, were as hard as stone, and had to be picked down, while the straw which kept them together looked as fresh as if it had just been used. This was doubtless due to the coating of plaster inside and out, which kept out all damp. As one witnessed this place, one could not help reflecting on the change which has come over Ryde and its people, as it grew from a mere hamlet to the town as it is now. This part of the town, now somewhat squalid and neglected looking, was once a garden. A nice garden was attached to Baskett’s Cottage, and the inmates knew how to grow splendid apples, gooseberries and currants.

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