‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 24th May 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.
Archive Home Page 5-10-2013
Ryde District Heritage Centre is open between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.If you wish to raise funds for the Centre, please sign up for easyfundraising here. £220 has been raised so far at no cost to anyone!
We are always looking for more volunteers to help man the Heritage 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. Last two days of the Oddfellows images! Visit before Tuesday, or miss them forever!  This unique group of 332 gentlemen visited Ryde as part of the Manchester Unity of Independent Orders of Oddfellows. Taken by local photographer Charles Knight, the photographs are all captioned with the names and places of residence of these fine-looking fellows! This wonderful artefact has been loaned to the Centre by the Isle of Wight Heritage Service. Due to the frailty and fading of the photographs, it must be returned for safekeeping. Going on Monday!

Ryde District Heritage Centre

RDHC The Commercial Room
RDHC The Commercial Room

This is a view of the Commercial room in the extension of the Centre, opened by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester in July, 2012. The large photograph is of Sweetman’s Brewery, in John Street. Many bottles and flagons,  shop receipts and advertisements form the major display in this room.

Sponsorship opportunities to help with the Ice Well Fund are still available. £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.
Other local interest groups are also welcome. Coffee mornings, or presentations to local groups at a venue of their choice can be arranged.
Risk assessment forms and worksheets are available. Organisers are welcome to visit the Centre free of charge to discuss their requirements.

The basement of the arcade prior to work that began in February 2011
The basement of the arcade prior to work that began in February 2011

The photograph shows the basement of the arcade prior to work beginning in February, 2011. The empty space was opened by Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner, and Lady Lucinda Lambton on July 1, 2011. Ryde District Heritage Centre opened to the general public on Monday, August 15, 2011. Thursday, August 15 2013 marked the second anniversary of opening of the Heritage Centre, which was open FREE OF CHARGE on that day. 70 people took the chance to come along and support us! Donations towards the renovation of the Ice Well area were gratefully received!

 The Ice Well

Ice well and passage
Ice well and passage

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!
Recent research has revealed the one-time existence of another ice well in Number 12, Union Street, currently Zabre. A domestic well originally, this was later used by confectioners, before the building became the Hampshire Bank.

Volunteers always welcome!

RDHC at the Ryde Carnival - Saturday 17th August 2013
RDHC at the Ryde Carnival – Saturday 17th August 2013

More volunteers are always needed to help with the many tasks associated with the running of Ryde District Heritage Centre!

This photograph to the left shows Historic Ryde Society taking part in the 125th anniversary Ryde carnival parade which took place on Saturday August 17 2013.

If you would like to help with Ryde District Heritage Centre, please call 01983 717435, between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday. Volunteers receive full training and a Volunteer Handbook. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with computers, as volunteering in the centre brings new opportunities to learn new skills! Please get in touch if there is anything you think you may be able to do to help. Painting, vacuuming, carpentry, filling, dusting, putting pictures on the wall, being photographed and interviewed by the media, are all things volunteers have been doing recently. Work on the new extension has now begun. If you would like to help, please get in touch.


HRS Treasurer Tony Packer and HRS Vice President Roy Gilbert join in the fun with the photoboards
HRS Treasurer Tony Packer and HRS Vice President Roy Gilbert join in the fun with the photoboards

HRS Treasurer Tony Packer and HRS Vice President Roy Gilbert join in the fun with the photoboards! Joining together with James from the Donald McGill Postcard Museum in 2011, Historic Ryde Society created a bit of free fun for the general public! Founder member Lynne Gregory Phillips painted four boards reminiscent of the saucy seaside postcards created by the late Donald McGill. Thanks to the generosity of local businessman Wayne Whittle and his staff, and subsequently Wightlink, these boards are now enjoying their third summer of success!
HRS Vice Chair Brian Harris has perfected the stands for the boards and screwed buckets to them for donations, and the total has now passed £1100! This year, for the first time, one of boards went to Bestival.


'Astronomic' with Ian Ridpath at the Orrery, Sept 2013
‘Astronomic’ with Ian Ridpath at the Orrery, Sept 2013
October Rotunda painting by Lynne Phillips
October Rotunda painting by Lynne Phillips
Barbara, Ann and 'Friend' - Lace making with the sewing circle
Barbara, Ann and ‘Friend’ – Lace making group

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