Celebration of the Opening of the Railway
Isle of Wight Observer September 3, 1864
The Railway celebrations begin – 1864
On Thursday evening, about 40 of the employes on the Railway assembled at the Star Inn, Ryde, where an excellent supper was provided by Mrs Elkins. The chair was occupied by Mr Wells, the stationmaster at Ryde, and the vice by Mr Cook. Full justice having been done to the substantials, and the usual loyal toasts disposed of, the Chairman called on them for a bumper to “the health of the Chairman and Board of Directors of the Isle of Wight Railway”. Every man was acquainted with the gratifying circumstances under which they met. The persevering efforts of the body of gentlemen whom they served had been thus far crowned with a glorious success. It now only remained for every man to do his duty (drunk with applause). The Vice-Chairman proposed “the health of Mr Bourne, the general manager”, of whom he could truly say the more they knew of him the better they liked him (applause). Mr Bristow proposed “the health of Mr Bond, the contractor, and his agents,” to which Mr Cook responded. “The health of Mr Rapier, maker of the points and crossings,” was also enthusiastically given. Mr Sullers, in a very neat speech, gave, “Increased prosperity to the town and trade of Ryde.” “The health of Mr Stubbs, the inspector of the making of the line,” was given by Mr Henley. After which, Mr White, the stationmaster of Shanklin, called on them to drink to “the health of Mr Wells, the chairman”. Musical honours having been accorded to the toast, Mr Wells expressed the pleasure he felt in presiding over them on that occasion. It was one of the happiest moments of his life. It was a great pleasure to be surrounded by men who, like himself, were in the employ of the company. “Mr Airey, the engineer”, “Mr Sharpe, the company’s inspector”, “The Press”, and many other toasts were given and responded to, as was also that of “The Hostess”, to which Mr Newman responded. Harmony now became the order of the night, Mr Porter presiding at the piano.
This image courtesy of IW County Record Office.