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.

Riotous Excursionists

Isle of Wight Observer July 17 1875

Excursionists in Ryde and a well in St Thomas’ Square

EXCURSIONISTS – On Saturday last Messrs Waterlow and Son of London Wall, gave the clerks and workmen in their employ their annual seaside treat. They arrived at Portsmouth by special train on Saturday morning, and a large number crossed over to the Island, preferring the beauties of the country to the hospitality of the firm at Southsea, which was most extensive. The lithograph printers dined at the Dolphin hotel; and the printers and compositors, to the number of 200, in the Portland hall.

RIOTOUS EXCURSIONISTS – On Monday last a large number of excursionists, from Brighton, visited the town. They were Odd Fellows (not of the Manchester Unity), but their movements were so thoroughly erratic, and their conduct so bad as to compare very unfavourably with the general behaviour of those who belong to this respectable order. We should have been surprised at this if we had not learnt that they belonged to the London Unity, which has little or no connection with the unity to which our local Odd Fellows belong. The excursionists we imagine might claim to be odd fellows long before they were initiated, and we must say that the less we have of their company the better we shall like it. Their advent into the town was heralded by a brass band with an undue preponderance of drum, and as this came up the street it was followed by a disorderly procession. At the Town Hall a great number of the excursionists amused themselves by dancing, but others perambulated the streets in disorderly gangs with whistleppipes, tambourines, “squeakers”, and with masks on, and their sole object in many cases seemed to be to see how much din they could create. In one or two instances they went beyond this, their conduct being filthy and disgusting, and it was generally remarked that if any persons belonging to the town had behaved half so badly they would have been taken into custody. However they did not remain very long in the town, but left at 6 o’clock in order to catch the train.

A SAD LOSS FOR A POLICEMAN – PC Martin, one of the borough force, lost his watch on Monday. It seems that, having no regular watch pocket, he left it for a short time in a part of the Town Hall. When he went back for it shortly afterwards, he found it gone. One of those orderly and respectable excursionists from Brighton was where Martin put the watch, and he it was who, in all probability, walked off with it. Martin rushed off down the Pier to try and overtake the man before he went off by the packet, but did not succeed, and up to the present time he has not succeeded in recovering his property, which he valued at £3 10s.

Well in St Thomas′s Square

Isle of Wight Observer May 11 1878

On Wednesday the workmen engaged in laying down the new sewer in St Thomas’-square came across a very deep well, almost in the centre of the square. It was bricked over, and one could not help thinking, gazing into its depths, that it was rather fortunate it was discovered, for if by any chance, at some future time, the bricks gave way under a heavy vehicle, the consequences might be serious. It has since, we believe, been filled up. Several old inhabitants of the town remember the well, which they state was first sunk to supply Mr Cooper’s brewery with water. Subsequently, however, Mr Futcher laid pipes from it to supply some houses which he built in the neighbourhood with water, the well being always filled with a good supply. In fact, a number of houses from a distance also drew their water from this source. There was formerly a pond at the Star, in which, according to ancient chronicles, witches and shrews were ducked in the “good old times”. The well intercepted the springs which supplied the pond with water, and that is said to be the reason why it was always so well supplied.

We understand that a contract for the new tramway works on the shore has been signed.

Isle of Wight Observer May 18 1878

THE WELL IN ST THOMAS’ -SQUARE – Alderman Futcher corrects our statement respecting the well which was found in St Thomas’-square in laying down the new sewer. Mr Futcher states that the well was at one time in the cellar of his house, which was situated nearly in the centre of the square. This house was pulled down by the old Commissioners, Mr Futcher informs us, to effect a great public improvement, and the question of compensating Mr Futcher led to lengthy arbitration proceedings.

The above image shows The Star, in the 1870s – site of the early ducking pond……