Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 26 October 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

1850s Leisure in Ryde

Binstead and Ryde Cricket Club

Isle of Wight Observer, October 2, 1852

The closing match for the season was to have been played at the ground at Binstead, on Thursday, the 30th September. The weather was very fine, but when we arrived on the ground in the afternoon, to our surprise there were not half a dozen members present, and on inquiry it appeared, that, in consequence of some jealousy existing with regard to supplying refreshments, the match was quashed. It is a great pity that a club starting under such propitious circumstances, and having so many good players in the vicinity as this club have, should terminate its first season so ingloriously. We hope the committee will rally before the next season commences.

Pole Dance

Isle of Wight Observer September 1 1855

One of the most amusing as well as intellectual of our old English sports and pastime is a competition consisting in the pursuit of an animal greased as to the tail, and in the endeavour to catch and hold it by that appendage. Another is the rivalry to climbing, or rather attempting to climb, a pole similarly lubricated, on the top of which is placed a similar animal. That animal is the prize of scansory or prehensile prowess; amusement results chiefly from unsuccessful exertion; the competitors are clowns in general – and the animal is always a pig.
The refined mind will admit that this diversion beats cock fighting by much, if it is not very superior to chess or billiards. To a more robust taste, if not to a stronger intellect, it may appear insufficiently exciting, and capable of improvement in that respect. Something has been done towards filling the room for that improvement, as witness the following copy of a handbill published at Ryde, in the Isle of Wight:-


On Thursday, August 9th 1855, at Four o’clock in the afternoon, (weather permitting)
Will be suspended from the Pier at the end of which will be placed a Box containing a Pig, which, with five shillings will be a prize to any one residing in the Island, who will walk along the Pole, let out the Pig, and bring it ashore without the aid of a Boat.
All wishing to try, must be dressed in Guernsey Frocks, and enter their names at the Pier Toll House, before Two o’clock on Thursday.
 Should the weather prove unfavourable on Thursday, the Sport will take place on SATURDAY, the 11th, at the same hour.
Ryde August 6th 1855
G BUTLER Printer, “Observer ” Office, Colonnade, Ryde.

The horizontal arrangement of the greased pole, and the pig over the water is a great improvement upon the perpendicular on terra firma. The fun of failure is much enhanced by the consequent ducking, besides which the sport has the interest of danger to the competitors. If one of them, in failing, knocked his head against the pole, he would perhaps be stunned, and then he would not only tumble into the sea, but would never rise out of it. However, some attendant emissary of the Humane Society might succeed in spoiling this consummation of the sport; and geese swim, therefore instead of suspending the pole over the sea another time, it would be adviseable to set it over a tank of boiling water. A close plantation of spikes  would answer the same purpose at less expense.
But what public-spirited party is it that has been thus treating, or offering to treat, the Isle of Wight people to games? Whoever that person may be, the Ryde Pier proprietors ought to be particularly obliged thereto; for no doubt the attention held out by the pig and the “Pole Dance” to the intelligence of the Island was calculated largely to augment the receipts at the Toll House alluded to in the above quoted announcement.

New Musical Society

Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1858

THE NEW MUSICAL SOCIETY – The Public are respectfully informed that the FIRST CONCERT OF THE RYDE MUSICAL UNION will take place at the Victoria Rooms on Thursday next January 14, at 7.30pm. There will be an orchestra, (strengthened by the addition of an Organ and a Pianoforte) and a Chorus.
The Programme will include a varied selection of popular music by Mendelssohn, Rossini, Dr Monk, Trekell, Gungl, D’Albert, Aldrich, Braham, Sir H A Bishop, &c., &c.
Prices of Admission: Reserved seats, 2s; Front Seats, 1s; Back seats 6d; or Family tickets for the whole series of Four Concerts, may be taken at 5s, 10s, or £1 according to the number &c., of the Tickets.
Apply at Misses’ Gibbs’ Library, or of the Conductor, Mr A S Hollloway, Professor of Music, Ryde.

RYDE MUSICAL UNION – This society was formed, under the leadership of Mr Holloway, to supply a want long felt in Ryde. The various harmonic societies hitherto established, confined themselves exclusively to secular music, while the “Sacred” ones rushed to the other extreme, as its name imports; and all of them consequently are “used up”. The new musical union has discarded exclusiveness altogether, simply aiming to combine all the available musical talent the town affords, and will avail itself alike of the beauties of Handel and Bishop, Haydn and Nerdi, Mozart and Jullien, or any other standard composers. The first concert in connection with this society will take place at the Victoria-rooms on Thursday next, and we trust that the public will extend the patronage towards it which it really deserves.

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