Ryde District Heritage Centre
Winner of the Arts and Heritage Category at the Community Action Awards 2013
HRS has gone one better than last year and is the winner of the Arts and Heritage Category at the Community Action Awards 2013! Kerry Jackson, of CAA sponsors, Wightlink, presented HRS Chair Liz Jones with the certificate and a cheque for £250 at the ceremony at Riverside on Wednesday, May 23. The Isle of Wight’s Lord Lieutenant, Major General Martin White, and Deputy Lieutenants David Longford and Patricia Partridge, and Robin Freeman of the Isle of Wight County Press, all came to congratulate the team. They said how much they’d enjoyed visiting the Centre, and how blown away they all were by the Ice Well. The next move is to try and establish whether or not the well is unique in the British Isles, as it would seem to be, following recent research into the subject. A good day financially, HRS was delighted to receive £150 from Cllr Roger Whitby Smith as his contribution from his recent historic walks around Ryde.
The Ice Well Fund is now in full swing! Over £850 has come in, but there are still plenty of opportunities to raise funds. £10 will see your name on a brick, or will sponsor a foot’s length of the recycled pier planks forming part of the floor. A generous £200 will see your name, or that of a loved one, on the risers on the stairs leading down to the Centre. Temporary cards will be in place until all the sponsorship is in place. These cards will then be replaced by a permanent fixture. Spread the word!
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 door of the Ice well from the bottom of the 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…..
Nearly there! It won’t be long now before the new website is ready to go live! It won’t appear to be very different, but will certainly make life easier behind the scenes.
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.
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 herewhen you buy anything online, and raise money for Ryde District Heritage Centre…. It couldn’t be easier.
Guided Historic Ryde Walks
Roger Whitby Smith is leading guided walks around Regency and Victorian Ryde as part of the Isle of Wight Walking Festival 2013. Part of the sum raised will be donated to Ryde District Heritage Centre.
See Diary page for dates.