Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 25 July 2024 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

Archive Pages

SEARCH FACILITY IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS – WATCH THIS SPACE!

Here you can search in real time through our archive of over 800 pages of information from our older website. These are in an archive list and contain stories, images and old posts that contain some very interesting stories, all of which are a valuable source of our local Ryde history.

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Isle of Wight Railway Fares Isle of Wight Times February 14, 1878 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Times &c. Dear Sir, – I was very pleased to see your able and exhaustive article in your issue of the 31st ult., on the high fares charged on the Isle of Wight Railway. “High” does not properly express my meaning, but anyone can suggest to themselves a more appropriate adjective. Only this week I was in a commercial room in Ryde, and heard the gentlemen of the road speaking in unmeasured terms of the charges between Ryde and Ventnor and Ryde and Newport. There can be no doubt the charges are exceptional – or that this Company cannot exist by pursuing a policy the reverse of that adopted by large companies – indeed by all. Others lower fares and prosper; this one increases fares and anything but prospers. Several of these commercial gentlemen expressed their determination to travel by coach where there is a coach service, and I need not say what a large proportion of the general public would prefer to do so – for time is certainly not a greater object to the masses than it is to commercials – if there were only a number of coach services. I am pleased to hear that a char-a-banc is to run between Ryde and Ventnor, and once started no doubt this will not long run alone. Before such services are supplied, persons can travel more cheaply and pleasantly by three or four joining in the expense of a cab, and it seems to me all that is needed is for some persons to be appointed to keep aboard the steamers and inform the passengers, before landing, of how matters stand, by distributing very tiny bills, showing the figures, &c., or by telling those who they can discern are going beyond Ryde. I believe there are some persons who are almost bound to travel by rail, but who can hardly pay present rates. In the interests of this class let me urge gentlemen to see the directors, and try to persuade them to do something – something fair –  in the interest of the poor compellled to travel; in the interests of others who would be inclined to travel but for the prohibition; in the interests of the Island, so that visitors should not be frightened away, or deterred from travelling whilst here –  and at the same time in the interests of the company. In the meantime there is hope ahead. Let the two mainland companies once get their pier, and they will buy up these toy lines, and charge at mainland scale.Yours &c.,AN INDEPENDENT MAN Return to 1870s Railway page Return to main Railway …

19 November, 2022View
“Darkest Ryde” – True crime stories by Angela Buckley

On 18th May, at Yelf’s Hotel, Angela Buckley was given a presentation in front of over 50 HRS members and guests, who were “thrilled” to hear true crime stories related to Ryde. The author of “The Real Sherlock Holmes” and recently published “Amelia Dyer and the baby farm murders”, the first in a new historical true crime series, Victorian Supersleuth Investigates has captivated the audience with intriguing stories. Special thanks to Angela, and to Diana and all the volunteers involved for the organisation of this event that raised £273 for the HRS.  Angela declined her fee and expenses, saying she was always willing to help us continue our good …

20 May, 2023View
“Hands on” display at the Museum of Ryde

Those of you who have been into the Royal Victoria Arcade in Union Street recently will have noticed that a change has taken place in the rotunda area.  A water fountain is now in place with coloured lights.  While admiring the fountain you may have found yourself wondering what has happened to what was in that place previously.  Well the ‘hands’ work of art is now the latest acquisition by the museum.   Come and visit the museum and see how tall ‘The Island Games Hands’ designed by Paul Sivell actually are … but don’t touch the bowl, as it’s not yet screwed …

16 December, 2023View
“THE FIRST LIFE BOAT AND THE TYNE PILOTS” BY MIKE NORTH

On 20th July at the Yelfs Hotel, Mike North had deligted HRS volunteers and guests with a well documented presentation about the First Life Boat and the Tyne Pilots, starting from the first attempts to set up a Life Saving Organisation to the presentation of photos and information regarding the First Ryde Life Boats. Answering interesting questions in front of an audience of over 20 people, followed by a Raffle, Mike’s free of charge talk has helped Historic Ryde Society to raise £140. Thanks, …

20 May, 2023View
“TRADERS” LAMENT

LAMENT Isle of Wight Observer September 21, 1878 “TRADERS” LAMENTOh dear! Oh dear! what shall I say?I don’t know what to do;I am so worried day by day,And that by ladies too! They come by morn – they come at noon –They come at eventide –They come too in the afternoon,From every part of Ryde. For all day long the ladies come –What for I cannot tell;They seem to make my shop their home,Yet nothing do I sell! The fair, the dark, the tall, the short,Are always popping inTo waste my time without a thought,But never buy a pin. If I were rude, like some men are,I’d ask them not to call;But ‘twould, I fear, their pleasure mar,As so I bear it all. I get an honest livelihoodBy taking strangers in –At least, if there’s a likelihoodOf fingering their tin. And so I go on, day by day,Attending “Demoiselles,”Without profit, without pay,Neglecting all my sales. My temper, thank the Lord, is good,My disposition sweet;But still I’ve got to earn my food,My daily bread and meat. Each day, I say, shall be my last,I will be “plagued” no more;But then the ladies are so fast,My resolution’s poor. I haven’t the pluck to say to them,“Get on – ‘don’t bother me;”And so it is that thus I amSo “plagued” the livelong day. The wonder is how I can float,On my assistant pay,How manage to lay by a noteAgainst a rainy day! But still the ladies are a “plague”,Why won’t they stay at home?Why will they, with their wants so vague,A-shopping choose to come? Why don’t they take what’s offered them,If suitable or no?Take red for blue, take pills for jam,And ’bout their business go.  Return to Poetry …

25 May, 2013View
1850s – Royal visits

Royal visits in the 1850s Hampshire Telegraph – Duchess Catherine of Russia visits Ryde Observer June  2 1855 – The Queen visits Ryde Observer August 7 1858 – Royal Visit Observer August 21 1858 – Ignorance personified Return to Royals in Ryde …

19 November, 2022View
1850s Leisure in Ryde

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 RARE FUN AT RYDE 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:- POLE DANCE On Thursday, August 9th 1855, at Four o’clock in the afternoon, (weather permitting) A GREASED POLE 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. Punch 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. Return to Leisure …

21 April, 2013View
1850s Odds and Ends

News items from the 1850s newspapers 1850s Odds and Ends Some Fire-fighting stories from the 19th century appear on this page 1852 – The Cabmen Nuisance 1853 – Postal arrangements and Ryde Police Court news 1854 – Our season – new building in the town 1854 – A close shave at sea! 1855 – Increase in Business 1855 – Minor improvements 1855 – A catalogue of complaints 1857 – ‘General Routine’ summonsed for Indecency! 1858 – Art of Floating 1858 – The Soup Kitchen 1859 – Completion of the Telegraph to Ryde Return to Odds and Ends …

5 May, 2013View
1850s Promenades

Isle of Wight Observer August 28, 1858 PROMENADE AT WESTFIELD GARDENS Last week we had the pleasure of recording a great gathering of the aristocracy in these grounds, and this week we have even more pleasure in stating that on Sunday evening the grounds were again thrown open by Sir Augustus Clifford to the plebians. This is the second time in the present year that this kind consideration has been carried into effect, and Sir Augustus has the hearty thanks of the town for it. The weather was so delightful, and the warm relish manifested by the promenaders for the beautiful object in Nature and Art by which they were surrounded, appeared to our eyes in strong contrast to the insipidity shewn by the representatives of the Upper Ten Thousand on the previous week. One thing was, however, anything but complimentary to the People; namely, the necessity – gained from former experience – which existed for placing placards about with the admonitory words “You are requested not to touch the flowers.” The company, on the occasion was very numerous, and in their “Sunday best” looked very respectable; and what is better than all, they demeaned themselves with the greatest propriety and decorum. The worthy baronet’s liberal example is worthy of imitation; as what has a greater tendency to soften the asperity of classes than kindness from one to another? THE PIER PROMENADE This delightful marine retreat has had great musical attraction during the season. On Monday and Friday evenings the town band plays, but the “star” is on Wednesday afternoons, when the band of the 15th Regiment plays, under the baton of Mr R Eckner. Last Wednesday we paid a visit to the scene, and must say we were delighted; indeed, we never heard the selection from “Il Trovatore” performed so well. The following was the programme:-Festo March from Tannhauser………………………WagnerOverture La Figlia du Regimento………………….DonizettiLa Fete des Lilas Quadrille…………………………..LamotteSelection from Il Trovatore……………………………….VerdiThe Village Festival Valse………………………………EcknerLucia di Lammermoor (cornet solo)Arranged by EcknerCanadian Sleigh Valse………………Arranged by AndrewsGalup Le Postillon…………………………………………LyabelNotwithstanding that it blew a “six knot breeze”, there was a great number of beauty and fashion ashore, and afloat there were four line-of-battle ships underway, close hauled, under double-reefed topsails, sailing from the Spit to the Channel. Alongshore, the pupils of the Ryde Naval School were exercising in the surf, and learning the way to get aground, which by-the-bye, Royal captains learn soon enough in actual life. By the kind permission of the officers, this regimental band will play on the pier every Wednesday afternoon, until further notice. Return to The Fashionable Society …

23 September, 2023View
1850s Railway news

Railway News from the 1850s 1852 – Rumours….. Isle of Wight Observer September 1852 – the rumours begin and Robert Stephenson comes to the island! 1852 – Lord Yarborough objects… 1852 – Opposition and support 1858 – the debate reignites 1858 – Punch magazine enters the debate… Return to main Railway …

19 November, 2022View
1850S ROYAL VISITS

ROYAL VISITS IN THE 1850S Hampshire Telegraph – Duchess Catherine of Russia visits Ryde Observer June  2 1855 – The Queen visits Ryde Observer August 7 1858 – Royal Visit Observer August 21 1858 – Ignorance personified Return to Royals in Ryde …

25 September, 2022View
1855 Oddments

1855 Oddments – Plan for the Esplanade and changes to the Market House Observer 27th January 1855 The Esplanade – The plans &c., of this much desired improvement have been forwarded for approval to the Admiralty. It is expected that it will be commenced immediately after the breaking up of the frost, so as to be completed by next summer. Its completion will add much to the beauty of our shore, and afford an excellent marine drive, of which at present we are destitute. We hear, however, that a petition against its formation has been forwarded to the Admiralty, but the movement, we expect, will be futile. OBSERVER 27th JANUARY 1855 THE MARKET-HOUSE – Great improvements are being made in this building by cutting off the west wing, thus reducing it to dimensions more suitable to the trade done in it. It is now, in our opinion, too large, and would have been much better if confined to the east wing, without the centre part being retained. The building has been whitewashed also, and made more cleanly; but it will never answer until it is made more comfortable, and the south side thrown open. Return to Ryde Streets …

5 May, 2013View
1855 Oddments – Plan for the Esplanade and changes to the Market House

Observer 27th January 1855 The Esplanade – The plans &c., of this much desired improvement have been forwarded for approval to the Admiralty. It is expected that it will be commenced immediately after the breaking up of the frost, so as to be completed by next summer. Its completion will add much to the beauty of our shore, and afford an excellent marine drive, of which at present we are destitute. We hear, however, that a petition against its formation has been forwarded to the Admiralty, but the movement, we expect, will be futile. OBSERVER 27th JANUARY 1855 THE MARKET-HOUSE – Great improvements are being made in this building by cutting off the west wing, thus reducing it to dimensions more suitable to the trade done in it. It is now, in our opinion, too large, and would have been much better if confined to the east wing, without the centre part being retained. The building has been whitewashed also, and made more cleanly; but it will never answer until it is made more comfortable, and the south side thrown open. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
1860 oddments

1860 oddments 1860 oddments random articles from the Isle of Wight Observer Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860 A DISAPPOINTED MENDICANT – Any stranger looking at the exterior of the police station of this town would imagine it to be the residence of some old amiable widow lady, or of a retired tradesman, who had accumulated sufficient to carry him to his last long home, and here rested for the remainder of his days. Some such idea as this no doubt occupied the mind of one Richard Gattrell, a beggar-man, who a Sunday or two ago gave a knock at the door, and in a whining tone solicited a few coppers to procure him a night’s lodging. Had the stalwart policeman who opened the door been in his uniform, Gattrell would doubtlessly have inquired the way to Newport or somewhere else, and tried his luck elsewhere; but it so happened that he was in his shirt sleeves, and Gattrell was thrown off his guard. The inquisitive PC having a desire to ascertain if Gattrell was really in distress, or whether he merely wished to possess the few coppers in order that he might get drunk at the expense of the benevolent, invited him in, and introduced him to Serjeant King, who had not doffed his uniform. “Do you know where you are?” was the stern interrogation of the serjeant. “Yes, sir.”, replied Gattrell, “I do now, but if I’d a’known it before I wouldn’t a’come.” “Well, you require a night’s lodging, and we have no objection to accommodate you,” responded the serjeant, “but first let us see what you have in your bundle.” Richard Gattrell’s bundle was overhauled, and in it was found sufficient provender to satisfy any reasonable man for five or six days, and on him was found enough money to deprive him of all excuse for begging. The unlucky mendicant retired to his cell like a true philosopher of the tribe, simply observing “that misfortunes would happen”. In the morning he was introduced to one of our local justices, who sentenced him to be imprisoned in Winchester gaol for seven days, with the addition of hard labour, to which he had evidently not been accustomed. Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860 As soon as the Commissioners of the town have recovered from the panic into which Mr HEARN’S quo warranto bombshell has thrown them, we should like to call their attention to the state of the footway of the Esplanade, with its many holes and uneven state generally, the sharp points of the tar-embedded pebbles producing more exquisite pain to the feet of the incautious pedestrian than we imagine was endured by pilgrims of old, when they were compelled to march a longer or shorter distance with unboiled peas in their shoes. The town felt obliged to the Gas Company at the time for their liberality, but considering the manner the tarry abomination has been applied and its subsequent repairs, it was dear at a gift. We know of more than one thrifty housekeeper whose temper has been soured by finding more of the gaseous produce on her carpets than was agreeable or necessary. Had it been mixed with properly-screened ashes or gravel, it would no doubt have answered the purpose admirably, especially if the surface had been covered to the depth of three or four inches; but the mere flake laid on is worse than useless, as gravel itself would have been better and more easily repaired when Father Neptune thinks proper to arise and laugh at our – in this case at least – most puerile efforts to resist his fury. Isle of Wight Observer 21 July 1860 ST SWITHIN’S REIGN – The anniversary of this saint was this year accompanied with rain, and the prediction of old-fashioned folks, that forty days rain will succeed, seems likely to be verified. Really, this continuation of rain gives a serious aspect to things, not only in an agricultural point of view, but it stops the migration of visitors to the sea side, and consequently makes long faces in the watering-places; indeed, who would leave home, unless forced, while such aqueous weather prevails? Let us hope for better things. A FALSE ALARM – An eccentric gentleman in this town amused himself in the High-street on the night of Monday last, with shouting in a stentorian voice “Fire! Police” to the great alarm of very many quiet and peaceable people who were comfortably in their beds. On a policeman coming up the fears of the inhabitants who had arisen were dispelled, and the uproarious individual was persuaded to go home. It subsequently transpired that our eccentric visitor had come here for the purpose of deriving benefit from the cold water treatment at Dr Weeding’s establishment. The worthy-doctor’s external application of cold water will we should think be of little avail to this gentleman if he continue to apply internally a fluid much more elevating. As this is not the first time this gentleman has amused himself in this manner, if repeated, it may be a question for his friends to decide whether an establishment somewhat different from a hydropathic one would not be more suitable to his complaint. Return to 1860s Odds and …

4 November, 2023View
1860s Leisure in Ryde

The American Circus Isle of Wight Observer August 25 1860 By dint of puffing on an extensive scale, the public were led to believe that the equestrian troupe of Messrs Howes and Cushing, introduced into the Island during the past week, would be of surpassing excellence; and further, a fac simile of a Spanish procession to a bull fight was to parade the streets in order to enliven the natives. Well, the thing turned out as genuine a piece of “Yankee cram” as can well be conceived. As to the out-of-door pageant, it was calculated to elicit feelings of pity, rather than of pleasure, for bipeds and quadrupeds all appeared fairly “used up”; and the tawdry “properties” with which they were bedecked ought not to have been submitted to the vulgar gaze of daylight, while the semi-nudity of many of the females had anything but a pleasing effect. The horses, too, looked sadly in need of grooming; and, in a town like Ryde where there are such numerous good turn-outs that point of itself would have stamped the concern as poverty-stricken. The entertainment in the circus was of the most ordinary, not to say mean, kind; and may be classed amongst the failures. The veritable Mr Rarey also failed to redeem the affair, as there was no vicious animal to be obtained for him to illustrate his powers of taming; but we guess he would have had practise in another direction had he stopped for one more night, that is, in subduing the vox populi which was becoming rather loud from disappointment in the equestrian performances. Cricket Isle of Wight Observer November 3 1860 A meeting of the Ryde cricket club will take place at the Thatched-house Tavern (which was in Cross Street) on Monday evening to conclude the arrangements for taking and preparing a play ground. The rules are now published, and we extract that relating to subscriptions, as it may induce some to become members:- “That members pay 1s (5p) entrance and 2d (1p) per week, or an annual subscription of 10s 6d. (52p) Subscribers to the amount of 5s (25p) to be entitled to the use of the booth only”. Ryde Volunteers’ Band 1860 21 JULY 1860 MR JONES’S CONCERT – THE RYDE VOLUNTEERS BANDTo the Editor of the Isle of Wight ObserverSir, – I did myself the honour of attending this concert last evening, and permit me to say, as a stranger, that I was more than gratified – I was enchanted. The Ryde Band, under the able superintendence of Mr Jones, will certainly not be surpassed by any in the kingdom. They played in a manner which does them the greatest credit. Miss Cicily Nott sang and played admirably, as also did Miss Jones. “My beautiful Rhine” and “Home sweet Home”, by Miss Nott certainly surpassed anything I have ever heard. Altogether the entertainment was delightful, and I hope some day I shall again have the great pleasure and satisfaction of witnessing another concert at Ryde of a similar description. What with the beauty of the ladies and the beauty of the music, I was entranced.If I, as a despairing old bachelor, went away with the heart ache by the one, I certainly went away with my heart full of the other. I could not help inwardly exclaiming “GOD BLESS OUR VOLUNTEERS!”.Yours faithfully,FREDERICK AUGUSTUS LEWISVictoria, Monkton-street, Ryde. Ryde Cricket Club Isle of Wight Observer July 13 1861 Sixteen of this club, eight married and eight single, played a match at Binstead on Wednesday afternoon. The following figures are the totals: single – 1st innings 64; married 41; single – 2nd innings 14; married – 38, with four wickets to go down. Another match was afterwards played, one innings each. The result was: single – 57; married – 30. The party partook afterwards of a first-rate supper at the Thatched House tavern, catered by Host Parsons, and spent a merry evening afterwards together. The Thatched House Tavern, was between numbers 8 and 11, Cross Street, Ryde, run by Frederick and Mary Parsons. BLONDIN – On Wednesday next the only man who ever “did the Falls of Niagara” will go through his unrivalled performance on the “tight rope” at Porchester Castle. The enterprising manager of the Theatre Royal, Landport, having engaged him for one exhibition. A better opportunity for people in this part of the world witnessing the renowned Blondin’s feats will not be offered. Special trains will run. Ryde Cricket Club needs a field Isle of Wight Observer June 8 1861  A meeting of the members of this club was held at the Thatched House Tavern on Monday evening, when it was decided that the practice nights for the present should be those of Mondays and Thursdays. A field kindly lent by Mr Young is made use of for play until a regular ground can be procured, which will doubtlessly be some time first, to judge from experience. Ground has been advertised for, solicited personally, and promised – but never actually offered, without it happened to be two or three miles out of the town – and still Ryde has no cricket ground. We heartily wish some person would offer a piece of land on reasonable terms, so that now we have what is likely to be a durable club, we may also have a place for its members to play the national and healthy game just alluded to. Times, May 1864 – Social Refinement DANCING, EXERCISES AND DEPORTMENTMR RUSSELL THOMAS respectfully informs the Nobility and Gentry of Ryde and its Vicinity that his CLASS FOR INSTRUCTION in the above necessary accomplishments is held at the TOWN HALL every WEDNESDAY and SATURDAY. His exercises are highly recommended by the faculty.Sandhill Cottage, High-street, Ryde MRS HUBERT J SMITH having studied in London, Paris and Germany: continues to give PRIVATE LESSONS IN SINGING AND MUSIC to families residing in Ryde or its immediate vicinity.Vienna Villa, Strand. A YOUNG LADY, accustomed to TUITION, wishes an ENGAGEMENT as MORNING or DAILY GOVERNESS, with the usual accomplishments.Address, A M D, H Mason’s Library, 7, Cross-street, Ryde. ROYAL ISLE OF WIGHT HORTICULTURAL SOCIETYTHE EXHIBITIONS for 1864  will take place on Wednesday, June 22, in the grounds of Sir William Martins, Westmount; on Wednesday, August 17, in the grounds of George Young, Esq., Apley TowersPatroness: HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY THE QUEENPresident: Col Vernon HarcourtVice-Presidents: Sir A Clifford, bart, Sir W Martins, Sir Henry Oglander, bart, Sir John Simeon, bart, Le Marchant Thomas, Esq., George Young, Esq.Treasurer: Dr TurnerCommittee: W H Anderson, Esq., J B Daubuz, Esq., Capt Katon, RN, A F Leeds, Esq., D McLachlan, Esq., W E Ratcliffe, Esq., Major Verner.Hon Secretary: Gordon Watson, Esq.Subscribers of £1 1s will receive twelve tickets; subscribers of 10s 6d will receive six tickets; subscribers of 5s 6d will receive three tickets. Non-subscribers will be admitted on payment of 2s 6d at the entrance to the grounds. Subscribers will have the privilege of using all their tickets at one or both exhibitions.Subscription will be thankfully received by Mr J Williams, corn-factor, 16, High Street, Ryde; Mr N B Smith, 7 Melville-street, Ryde; and Mr T A Raynes, High-street, Ventnor.  LA TAGLIONILADIES and GENTLEMEN can have PRIVATE INSTRUCTION in this elegant NEW DANCE, just introduced from Paris by Mr RUSSELL THOMAS (a pupil of Madame Taglioni).For terms, apply to Mr Thomas, Sandhill Cottage, High-street, Ryde.NB All parts of the Isle of Wight visited. Mr Oakeshott in Deep Water! Isle of Wight Observer July 23 1864 CAUTION TO AMATEUR BOATMEN – Mr Oakeshott, of Pier-street, was about to take two ladies out in his cockle-shell on Monday evening; but they, in stepping in, instead of treading in the centre of the boat, trod on the gunwale, so the boat capsized and plunged the whole party in the water. Fortunately, a waterman, named Barton, was close at hand, and rescued them from their perilous position, and he was rewarded with five shillings, which is rather a low estimate of the value of a life. Crown Assembly Room December 2, 1867 Although the date of the above concert is December 2, 1867, a similar concert must have taken place the following March, as this critique appears in the Isle of Wight Observer, of March 12, 1868. NATIVE MINSTRELS’ CONCERT – The above concert took place on Monday evening, at the Victoria Rooms. Judging from the well-filled room, the Native Minstrels must have been gratified and well remunerated for their expenses and trouble. Of the performances itself we cannot but speak highly. The jokes, though sometimes sustained “usque ad nauseam”, were generally speaking original, and afforded very good amusement to the audience. We compliment the minstrels on their programme, and in part one we would especially mention the comic songs, which seemed to us better performed and much more popular than the ballads, although Messrs Wellington and B Williams sand their songs with much feeling. We cannot help remarking that there seemed to us a great want of power in the choruses, and would suggest the addition of two or three more members to their present number. The whole of part II was very amusing indeed, the Military Gorilla was original, and with the Four Black Crows kept the audience in very good humour. The solos on the bones and banjo were, in fact, superior to amateur performances in general, and were both deservedly encored. In the Troublesome Servant our friend the Bones was very droll. We were hardly so much gratified at the Silver Belt Jig, and the ballad which preceeded it. The performance was brought to a close by the favourite Skedaddle, and we compliment the minstrels on their success. One very great drawback during the entertainment was the noise from the gallery, accompanied by the breaking of windows, and we have no doubt, that should the minstrels be prompted to favour us with another concert, they will see the necessity of placing some person in hte gallery to ckeck the somewhat uncivilised system of applauding peculiar to Ryde boys. It would be very creditable to our Native Minstrels if they would give a fashionable entertainment or two during the season in aid of our new church, and we have no doubt that the elite of Ryde would ensure for the occasions a very select and numerous audience. Return to Leisure in Ryde …

5 November, 2022View
1860s Military Events

Military News from the 1860s Isle of Wight Observer – August 1860 – New bugles for the Rifles’ band The Volunteer Movement – September 1860 Isle of Wight Observer – May 1865 – Beautiful Spin of 100 Yards Return to Military …

19 November, 2022View
1860s Odds and Ends

Snippets of interest from the newspapers of the 1860s 1860s Odds and Ends 1860 Oddments – a mendicant ends up in the cells…. 1860 – G Basset – grafitti artist! 1860 – Steam horseboat and Sunday thieving 1860 – Swimming pigs! 1860 – An Uncommon Fish 1860 – A Boat Accident 1860 – Donkey Racing 1860 – Guy Fawkes 1861 – Nine pennyworth of pork 1861- The awning nuisance 1861 – The Steamboat issue 1861 – Island coaches 1861 – A Penny Savings Bank  1861 – The Gas Lamp problem 1861 – The Light of the World exhibited in Ryde 1861 – A Town Crier for Ryde and improved Water Supply 1861 – The first sewing machine in Ryde 1862 – Musical tastes differ – no more “footing it”! 1863 – uses of museums 1864 – Malicious Damage 1864 – the Police 1864 – Fire-fighting practice! 1864 – Bathing on the Beach 1864 – Lost and Found Office 1865 – Optical illusions over the Solent 1867 – Snowballing 1868 – The Stone Throwing Nuisance 1868 – The creation of Ryde Borough Council  1868 – Furniture lost off Ryde pier 1869 – The Ryde Lifeboat 1869 – The launch of the new lifeboat 1869 – Hans Busk to the rescue! 1869 – Civic Furniture 1869 – Long Shanks and Electric Spark – running match Return to main Odds and Ends …

4 November, 2023View
1860s Railway news

Railway news from the 1860s Paving the pier – January 1864 – added 13.7.10 The Vectis – March 1864 – added 12.7.10 The Railway nearly here! Observer August 1864 Opening of the first section of the Railway from Ryde to Shanklin August 1864 Celebration of the Opening September 1864 Rail versus Road – September 1864 The Pier Tramway Omnibus – September 1864 Christmas Day timetable 1868 Return to main Railway …

3 December, 2022View
1860s SNIPPETS

1860s Odds and Ends Snippets of interest from the newspapers of the 1860s 1860 Oddments – a mendicant ends up in the cells…. 1860 – G Basset – grafitti artist! 1860 – Steam horseboat and Sunday thieving  1860 – Swimming pigs! – added 17.7.10 1860 – An Uncommon Fish – added 17.7.10  1860 – A Boat Accident  – added 3.7.10 1860 – Donkey Racing – added 5.7.10 1860 – Guy Fawkes – added 5.7.10 1861 – Nine pennyworth of pork 1861- The awning nuisance 1861 – The Steamboat issue 1861 – Island coaches 1861 – A Penny Savings Bank added 23.6.10 1861 – The Gas Lamp problem  added 22.6.10 1861 – The Light of the World exhibited in Ryde added 21.6.10 1861 – A Town Crier for Ryde and improved Water Supply added 24.6.10 1861 – The first sewing machine in Ryde added 22.6.10 1862 – Musical tastes differ – no more “footing it”! added 22.6.10 1863 – uses of museums 1864 – Malicious Damage – added 13.7.10 1864 – the Police – added 12.7.10 1864 – Fire-fighting practice!  1864 – Bathing on the Beach 1864 – Lost and Found Office added 12.7.10 1864 – A novel launch – Mr Ellison’s removal sinks into the briny  1865 – Optical illusions over the Solent 1867 – Snowballing 1868 – The Stone Throwing Nuisance 1868 – The creation of Ryde Borough Council  1868 – Furniture lost off Ryde pier 1869 – The Ryde Lifeboat 1869 – The launch of the new lifeboat 1869 – Hans Busk to the rescue! 1869 – Civic Furniture 1869 – Long Shanks and Electric Spark – running match Return to main Odds and Ends …

26 August, 2023View
1866 Lost column and the state of Ryde streets

ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER 10 November, 1866 LOST on the road between Newport and Ryde, on the evening of the 31st October, a GREEN SILK UMBRELLA , with a rhinoceros’ horn stick. – Whoever will bring it to Westfield, Ryde, will receive ONE POUND REWARD. LOST, this day (Friday), a plain GOLD LOCKET attached to black velvet, by a lady riding from Belvedere-street, through Monkton-street, up St John’s road, to Westridge and St Clare, and back:- Whoever has found the same and will bring it to the “Observer” Office will receive TEN SHILLINGS REWARD. STREET IMPROVEMENTS It seems rather strange to us that amidst the numerous street improvements gradually carried into effect, that one street should be entirely neglected; – we allude to that of the Back Strand. There, in one of the principal thoroughfares in Ryde, is not only a total absence of a footpath or proper roadway, but every sort of unsightly nuisance is suffered to accumulate. At the time we write the large piece of land attached to the engine-house is covered over with stagnant water and the footway is entirely impassable. These observations are forced from us by the fact that the nice raised footway opposite round Mr Milligan’s garden is ordered to be torn up and pavement to be put in its place. It is obvious to every one which spot required paving the worst. We are advocates for all streets to be paved; and if a gentleman can afford to have 100 or 1000 feet frontage to his house, we can see no reason why he should not pave, as well as the cottager who can afford only 30 feet. The plea that in the former case the land “is not sufficiently built upon,” is all nonsense; it is built upon as much as the proprietors desire, and that is “sufficient”.We can see no street in the town, where property suffers so much from the state of the roads, and where the roads are in such a filthy state as about this locality. Again, why should not the piece of wall abutting upon the road between Holywell-house and Hampsted-villa be knocked away, and the great hole in the sluice there, be properly arched over, and the road be made decent, or at least passable in wet weather? We have heard strangers frequently express surprise that these things should remain so. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
1870 – BOROUGH OF RYDE

THE MAYOR – George Fellows Harrington, Esq.ALDERMEN – Joseph Paul, Geo F Harrington, Edward Thurlow – Until Nov 9, 1871Thomas Dashwood, James Fairall, James Dashwood – Until Nov 9, 1874COUNCILLORS – East Ward – Thos Raine Felgate, George Garnett, Thomas Sibley – Until Nov 9, 1870Thomas White, Joseph Futcher, George Barkham – Until Nov 9, 1871Edmund Cooper, Edward Marvin, jun, John Bevins – Until Nov 9, 1872 Town Clerk and Clerk to the Local Board: W H PullenBorough Surveyor: Francis Newman CEBorough Treasurer: T W EldlridgeTreasurer to the Local Board: C RobertsRoad Surveyor and Inspector of Nuisances: A SivellRate Collector: W F HelyerSuperintendent of Police: John Henry BurtSuperintendent of Cemetery: Henry MewTurncock: David ChesselTown Sergeant and Town Crier – Henry Buckett This is one of the Ryde Town Sergeant’s uniforms, dating from the 19th century.Perhaps it belonged to Henry …

23 September, 2023View
1870 Borough Officials

BOROUGH OF RYDE – 1870 THE MAYOR – George Fellows Harrington, Esq. ALDERMEN – Joseph Paul, Geo F Harrington, Edward Thurlow – Until Nov 9, 1871 Thomas Dashwood, James Fairall, James Dashwood – Until Nov 9, 1874 COUNCILLORS – East Ward – Thos Raine Felgate, George Garnett, Thomas Sibley – Until Nov 9, 1870 Thomas White, Joseph Futcher, George Barkham – Until Nov 9, 1871 Edmund Cooper, Edward Marvin, jun, John Bevins – Until Nov 9, 1872 – West Ward – William H Wallis, Charles Dimmick, Francis Carter – Until Nov 9, 1870 James Colenutt, James Golden Gunn, Edmund Hands – Until Nov 9, 1871 Henry Jacobs, Robert G Osborne, William Hansford – Until Nov 9, 1872 Aldermen for taking Poll at Elections: For the East Ward – Mr James Dashwood For the West Ward – Mr Edward Thurlow Town Clerk and Clerk to the Local Board: W H Pullen Borough Surveyor: Francis Newman CE Borough Treasurer: T W Eldlridge Treasurer to the Local Board: C Roberts Road Surveyor and Inspector of Nuisances: A Sivell Rate Collector: W F Helyer Superintendent of Police: John Henry Burt Superintendent of Cemetery: Henry Mew Turncock: David Chessel Town Sergeant and Town Crier – Henry Buckett This is one of the Ryde Town Sergeant’s uniforms, dating from the 19th century.Perhaps it belonged to Henry …

8 May, 2013View
1870s Leisure in Ryde

1874 Entertainments 8th JANUARY 1874 BIRRELL’S DIORAMA OF SCOTLAND – This diorama will open at the Victoria Rooms on Monday evening. We notice the London press have passed high eulogisms upon it. At Dover it had a long and most successful run, and the Dover Standard describes it as a magnificent pictorial exhibition, faithfully representing the enchanting scenery. There is a clear lucid lecture and a Scottish concert that is in itself a rare treat. Anything more positive as to the professional ability and reputation of these minstrels could not, we should think, be given than in the fact that Miss Griselda WESS and Mr Thomas BIRRELL  (the enterprising proprietor) were especially engaged to sing at M RIVIERE’S promenade concert at Covent Garden on Saturday evening last, when, we observe, they took a leading part in the performance, their names standing side by side with those of Mddle Carlotta PATTI, Mddle Victoria BUNSEN, and Miss Constance LESEBY. Miss WESS has been termed “the Scottish Nightingale”, Mr J CRAWFORD’S humour is the driest of the dry, and anything but the heartiest of encores for him is out of the question. The other artistes are scarcely inferior. 22nd JANUARY 1874 BOROUGH POLICE TUESDAY…..One of the men in the employ of Mr BIRRELL proprietor of the Diorama on view at the Victoria Rooms, applied to the court asking whether if a summons were taken out or warrant issued on a boy named WHITTINGSTALL, the case could be heard of at once and disposed of. – It appeared that the young urchin had been employed to clean the Victoria Rooms, and that he had managed to extract a number of tickets from a box there: these he sold for 2d and 3d to different persons. Such a number attended with the tickets that suspicions were aroused, and a number of tickets were found on the boy. – Mr FARDELL said it was a case which could not be disposed of summarily but must go for trial if the charge were preferred. Probably the boy will escape punishment, as Mr BIRRELL might be far away during the sessions. ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER 25 JULY 1874 MR AND MRS GERMAN REED – It will be seen by an advertisement in another column that Mr Augustus Aylward has made arrangements with Mr and Mrs German Reed to give their well-known entertainment at the New Town-hall on Monday evening next. The pieces announced to be performed are Mildred’s well – a Romance of the Middle Ages (XIX) century, a new musical sketch called the School Feast, and a musical proverb, Charity begins at Home. The names of the artistes announced to appear are a sufficient guarantee for the excellence of the performance. They include Miss Fanny Holland, Mr W A Law, Mr Alfred Reed, and Mr Corney Grain. The Isle of Wight Railway Company will run a special train on the occasion, leaving Ryde, (St John’s) station for the different towns on the line at 10.30 pm. HARP RECITALS – We again remind our readers that Mr Aptommas, the celebrated harpist, will appear at the Town-hall on Tuesday evening next. Mr Aptommas is well known for his masterly performances on the harp; and has performed before Royalty on several occasions. This opportunity should not be missed by those desirous of hearing a real musical treat. THE BLONDINETTE MELODISTS – This celebrated company of “young ladies with golden locks” (11 in number) are advertised to appear in their vocal and instrumental entertainment at the Town-hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday next, July 30th and 31st, and August 1st. This attractive troupe have visited Ryde before; and we have no doubt that they will attract large audiences during their present visit by their refined and pleasing entertainment. The press are unanimous in its approval of their performances. The Right Hon Sir William and Lady Hutt gave a garden party in the beautiful grounds of Appley Towers on Thursday, when a large and fashionable gathering took place. The Mayor of Ryde and Mrs Leach gave a garden party on Wednesday, when a large number of the elite of the town and neighbourhood were present. The fine band of the Royal Marine Artillery were on the grounds and performed a choice selection of music. 1 AUGUST 1874 THE BLONDINETTE MELODISTS – This company of young ladies attracted a large audience at the Town-hall on Thursday evening. They appear this (Friday) evening, and tomorrow (Saturday). Those who have not yet seen this talented troupe should not miss this opportunity. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 24th AUGUST 1874 MISS NANNIE PRAEGER – was announced to give a grand pianoforte recital in the Town Hall, on Friday afternoon, but as there was no audience – she did not do so. 8 August 1874 MRS SCOTT-SIDDONS – As will be seen by reference to advertisement, this talented lady will give one of her histrionic readings in the new Town-hall this (Saturday) afternoon, at 3 o’clock. She will be accompanied by the youthful prodigy, “Seraphael,” the celebrated boy pianist who has won bronze and silver medals at the Royal Academy of Music. SKATING IN MID-SUMMER – At the best of times it is not long that the privilege of skating is afforded to the inhabitants of this south-coast district during the short and generally mild winters which are vouchsafed to us; but – astonishing as it might seem – the luxury of skating exercise may be (and is) enjoyed in the midst of the summer, and with this advantage – that there is no fear of being submerged beneath the treacherous ice. The roller skating which is now being practised in the Victoria-rooms (on the American principle) is exceedingly good physical exercise, and the elegant and graceful manner in which the ladies and gentlemen flit about the room has a most pleasing effect, not only to those engaged but also to the on-looker. To those who are fond of skating we recommend the “rink” at the Victoria-rooms. 15 AUGUST 1874 SKATING RINK AT THE VICTORIA ROOMS – The rink is assuredly a novelty that will wear. It combines the pleasures of the ballroom with the advantages of the gymnasium, and is a delight at once both to young and old people. It is one of the few contrivances which the genius of amusement has supplied to youth to which the doctors do not take exception. Last week there was the most fashionable attendance; the skating of many of the ladies was excellent; the merriment was profuse, and all were alike enchanted. Certainly the rink is an invention – assuredly it is a success. Long may it wave! 24 OCTOBER 1874 SKATING RINK VICTORIA ASSEMBLY ROOMS LIND STREET, RYDE.These Rooms are OPEN until further noticeFOR ROLLER SKATINGOn the American Principle.In the Morning, for Ladies and Gentlemen, from 11 to 1; Afternoon Assemblies for Ladies, Gentlemen and Children, from 3 to 5.30.Admission, One Shilling. Hire of Skates, Sixpence. 26 DECEMBER 1874 THE SKATING RINK – This novelty still continues to attract large numbers to the Victoria-rooms. An additional attraction will be provided tomorrow (Saturday), the splendid band of the Royal Marines being engaged to play upon the occasion. THE THEATRE – It is with great pleasure we announce that our fine theatre, which has so long been deserted, has been purchased by a number of local gentlemen, who, it is stated, have secured it upon very reasonable terms. No time will be lost in opening the building, and we trust that in the hands of those who have a better opportunity of understanding local requirements than strangers, the theatre will be a greater success than it was. THE VIENNESE LADIES’ ORCHESTRA – The novelty of a performance by such a large number of ladies as compose this orchestra, attracted a numerous and fashionable audience to the Town-hall on Thursday afternoon. It is impossible to speak too highly of their performance, and so enthusiastic were the audience, that it has been determined to give morning and evening concerts on Saturday, which will no doubt be well attended. CONCERT – On Tuesday evening the Ryde contingent of the Crystal Palace choir gave a concert in the Town-hall, consisting of pieces which had already been sung at the Crystal Palace, interspersed with songs, &c. The soloists were Miss DENHAM, and Mr BULLEY. Mrs MOODY acted as accompanist. There were about 500 persons present. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 6 AUGUST 1874 NEW TOWN HALL, RYDEMRS SCOTT SIDDONSIn Her Histrionic ReadingsAND‘SERAPHAEL,’ THE CELEBRATED BOY PIANIST, AGED 12 YEARS,(Bronze and Silver Medalist, Royal Academy of Music, London.)SATURDAY AFTERNOON, AUGUST 8.Doors Open at 2.30. Commence at 3 o’clock.Centre Stalls, 4s; Family Tickets of four, 14s;Second Seats, 2s 6d; Admission 1s.Plan and Tickets at AYLWARD’S, Union-street. 13 AUGUST 1874 MRS SCOTT-SIDDONS – Mrs Scott-Siddons was advertised to appear, together with the wonderful boy pianist “Seraphael”, at the Town Hall, on Saturday afternoon; but shortly before the time for commencing, notices postponing the entertainment were circulated broadcast. Our readers will regret to hear that Mrs Siddons a short time since was thrown from her horse and had her spine injured, and that a few days ago, for a throat complaint, a quantity of caustic was administered in mistake for brandy and caustic: her servant removing the glass containing the brandy on clearing the dinner table. Mrs Siddons persisted up to Saturday morning that she would appear as announced, but the state of her health put a veto on it. Purchasers of tickets can have their money refunded on returning the tickets to Mr Aylward. 1875 Entertainments 1 JULY 1875 MATINEE DANSANTE DE MADAME DE HAYES GEORGE – Hearing so much of Madame George, and her Academie, we availed ourselves of an opportunity on Friday of witnessing a Matinee Dansante in the New Town Hall, in which, during several of the past winter seasons, Madame George has held her Academie. Not only were we not disappointed in our anticipations, but intensely gratified. A large number of the elite of the town and neighbourhood assembled to witness the progress their little sons and daughters (there was a preponderance of daughters) had made, and gratified to the fullest extent all must have been at the result, whilst the dansante in itself was a capital entertainment. The area of that large room is not more than is required for her large class. The programme was as follows:Part 1 Part 2 The march, the young ladies advancing in three rows from the back to the front of the room, and then receding, was very pretty, and with the series of exercises (No 4), form a most important feature in the class. The exercises eclipse the march in attractiveness, but the objects effected in both cases are a true lady-like deportment, and muscular development – and Madame George has, evidently, the power of imparting to others such a grace as she herself possesses in a marked degree. The dancing – dancing to the perfection to which the pupils are taught in this case – is an accomplishment almost a necessity for them) which they will value more when a few years have added to their youth and beauty – but the calisthenic exercises promote grace of movement and strength of body. Madame George has strong recommendation from the medical profession as to the beneficial effects on the health of children (by expanding the chest, exercising every joint, &c.), and the deportment, from the exercises through which she puts her pupils; and we can say that such exercises must be most valuable, and that not only on Friday was there grace in every step, but in their every movement. In the mainly ornamental part of the programme, the mazurka quadrille was the thing of the afternoon, and the company could not refrain from a loud burst of applause, which both children and mistress fully deserved. The eight who danced this were in white dresses with blue sashes (from shoulder to waist) and head ribbons, and the top “gentleman” specially distinguished “her”-self, though all acquitted themselves in first-class style, with an effect that was wonderfully pretty and interesting. Many a ballet on the stage is not nearly so attractive. In other portions of the programme every pupil present joined, creating a strikingly pretty spectacle – with the sun shining through the sky-lights on the fairy-like forms, in tastily-made white dresses, tripping over the floor. It was most amusing too to watch the zest and emulation with which some, mere babes, with their radiant faces, and sparkling eyes, entered upon their duties. The pupils were evidently in different stages, but each was perfected so far as she had gone, in spite of the largeness of the class – none had been neglected. The way in which the Imperial Quadrille, Lancers, &c., was gone through deserves especial mention – en passant we think that if ladies and gentlemen who dance 16-Lancers were to take a few lessons before they next do so they might hope to attain to the perfection they desire, and equal these juveniles – which is rarely the case – but in all cases here, it was noticeable that the dancing was not simply to a set form of steps, &c.,into which they had been drilled, but to music. We consider the pupils fortunate in being able to receive Madame George’s tuition – they could hardly be better taught, that is evident from the perfection they have attained, and her modus operandi  – the pupils certainly do her credit. Madame George, who is a daughter of Monsieur de Hayes, of the Academie Royale, Paris, and pupil of Madame Louise Michau, of London; and who has taught in London and abroad, is evidently an artiste and not an ordinary teacher – Miss Kirkman, (niece of Mrs Anderson, pianist to the Queen) presided at the pianoforte. – Between the first and second parts, refreshments were provided for the pupils, this being the first meeting of the season. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 2 SEPTEMBER 1875 A SKATING RINK IN RYDE – We are pleased to find that an open air skating rink, which must prove a source of interest and attraction to residents and visitors, has been opened in Ryde. It is a private speculation, the proprietors being Col. Hall and Mr West; we hope they will be amply repayed, for additional attractions are wanted in Ryde to counteract the drawbacks. The rink is a very large one, and of best Portland cement, and all the latest improvements are introduced. In the centre the space is to be utilized for a band stand and garden, and when completed, the rink, (which is situated on the marshes, near the Gas Works, and accessible via Monkton Street or St John’s Park) will be a superior one in every respect. Wednesday last was the opening day, and the proprietors must have been gratified to see about 500 ladies and gentlemen attending, the bulk of them enjoying themselves at the exciting and health giving exercise. The annual subscription is very low, and therefore we expect soon to see a long list. Even spectators may spend an hour or two most enjoyably at the rink, especially on the days when a military band is in attendance – Wednesdays and Saturdays. The “Plimpton” skate is used. Further particulars are afforded elsewhere. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES  2nd SEPTEMBER 1875 A GRAND OPERATIC CONCERT – was given in the Town Hall on Thursday evening – one of the best it has been our good fortune to hear – but as usual when there are first-class entertainments, the attendance was miserably small, especially in the front benches, where one would have expected to find most. We are not so much concerned at Mr Aylward’s continued losses as at the fact that the first-class entertainments must cease in Ryde, and those who could and would enjoy them miss real musical treats. – The artistes were Mddle Jose Sherrington, Miss Helen d’Alton, Signor M Rocca, Signor Bianchi, and Signor Brignoll (of Her Majesty’s Opera), with Cavaliere Campana as conductor. If people do not care to attend, we presume they would not read a critique, so we save ourselves unnecessary …

5 November, 2022View
1870s Letters

ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER 13th FEBRUARY 1875 ST THOMAS’ CHURCHTo the Editor of the Isle of Wight ObserverSir, As now arrangements have been made to the satisfaction of the congregation for the future conduct for the services in this Church, it is to be hoped the owners of the Church, will, without delay, cause the footpath and the graveyard and the surroundings to be put in proper order. The central position of the Church, and it being the first Church in Ryde, entitles it to be made wear a cheerful appearance. Let me suggest, Mr Editor, the footpath be paved with bricks, flowering shrubs be planted in the yard, the memorial stones to be looked to, and the outside fence made more ornamental. Hundreds of the inhabitants of the Borough would, as I should, rejoice to see such changes.I am, Sir, your obedient servantA Well Wisher March 1870 – Take a little gunpowder…. July 1874 – Urinals and Ferry Fares February 1875 – St Thomas’ Church January 1876 – Stench in Pier-street! January 1878 – Stone-throwing nuisance February 1878 – High price of bread February 1878 – Isle of Wight Railway Fares Times January 16 1879 Frozen Sea Observer, February 1879 – Reign of King Mud Observer February 1879 – The Gas Explosion Return to Letters …

11 March, 2023View
1870s Odds and Ends

News items from the 1870s newspapers 1870s Odds and Ends 1870 – Borough of Ryde officials 1870 – Robbery at Mr Osborne’s, Union Street 1870 – Rare find during destruction of Old Manor House 1870 – Fire in Union Road 1870 – Singular accident in a wash-tub Ryde Ventilator 1871 1871 – Bullocks on the beach! 1873 – The new Gas Lamps at the Town Hall 1875 – Sir William Hutt’s improvements at Appley 1875 – Riotous Excursionists 1876 – Ryde man patents new sealed envelope and costs of the Portsmouth station forts 1876 – First typewriter in Ryde 1877 – Artist’s impression of the New Boating Lake 1878 – Well in St Thomas’-square 1878 – Ryde Borough Police Court 1879 – Cookery lectures not very popular! 1879 – Licensed businesses in Ryde 1879 – Explosion of gas in the High-street Return to main Odds and Ends …

4 November, 2023View
1870s Railway News

Railway news from the 1870s 1870 – Firing a Gun in a Railway Carriage! 1872 – The Hooter Nuisance 1878 – Railway Fares letter 1878 – County Police Court – Entering a Train in Motion 1878 – The Railway tunnel on Ryde Esplanade Return to Railway …

23 September, 2023View
1870s Railway News

Railway news from the 1870s 1870 – Firing a Gun in a Railway Carriage! 1872 – The Hooter Nuisance 1878 – Railway Fares letter 1878 – County Police Court – Entering a Train in Motion 1878 – The Railway tunnel on Ryde Esplanade Return to Railway …

19 November, 2022View
1874 Entertainments

Social whirl in the 1870s 8th JANUARY 1874 BIRRELL’S DIORAMA OF SCOTLAND – This diorama will open at the Victoria Rooms on Monday evening. We notice the London press have passed high eulogisms upon it. At Dover it had a long and most successful run, and the Dover Standard describes it as a magnificent pictorial exhibition, faithfully representing the enchanting scenery. There is a clear lucid lecture and a Scottish concert that is in itself a rare treat. Anything more positive as to the professional ability and reputation of these minstrels could not, we should think, be given than in the fact that Miss Griselda WESS and Mr Thomas BIRRELL  (the enterprising proprietor) were especially engaged to sing at M RIVIERE’S promenade concert at Covent Garden on Saturday evening last, when, we observe, they took a leading part in the performance, their names standing side by side with those of Mddle Carlotta PATTI, Mddle Victoria BUNSEN, and Miss Constance LESEBY. Miss WESS has been termed “the Scottish Nightingale”, Mr J CRAWFORD’S humour is the driest of the dry, and anything but the heartiest of encores for him is out of the question. The other artistes are scarcely inferior. 22nd JANUARY 1874 BOROUGH POLICE TUESDAY…..One of the men in the employ of Mr BIRRELL proprietor of the Diorama on view at the Victoria Rooms, applied to the court asking whether if a summons were taken out or warrant issued on a boy named WHITTINGSTALL, the case could be heard of at once and disposed of. – It appeared that the young urchin had been employed to clean the Victoria Rooms, and that he had managed to extract a number of tickets from a box there: these he sold for 2d and 3d to different persons. Such a number attended with the tickets that suspicions were aroused, and a number of tickets were found on the boy. – Mr FARDELL said it was a case which could not be disposed of summarily but must go for trial if the charge were preferred. Probably the boy will escape punishment, as Mr BIRRELL might be far away during the sessions. ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER 25 JULY 1874 MR AND MRS GERMAN REED – It will be seen by an advertisement in another column that Mr Augustus Aylward has made arrangements with Mr and Mrs German Reed to give their well-known entertainment at the New Town-hall on Monday evening next. The pieces announced to be performed are Mildred’s well – a Romance of the Middle Ages (XIX) century, a new musical sketch called the School Feast, and a musical proverb, Charity begins at Home. The names of the artistes announced to appear are a sufficient guarantee for the excellence of the performance. They include Miss Fanny Holland, Mr W A Law, Mr Alfred Reed, and Mr Corney Grain. The Isle of Wight Railway Company will run a special train on the occasion, leaving Ryde, (St John’s) station for the different towns on the line at 10.30 pm. HARP RECITALS – We again remind our readers that Mr Aptommas, the celebrated harpist, will appear at the Town-hall on Tuesday evening next. Mr Aptommas is well known for his masterly performances on the harp; and has performed before Royalty on several occasions. This opportunity should not be missed by those desirous of hearing a real musical treat. THE BLONDINETTE MELODISTS – This celebrated company of “young ladies with golden locks” (11 in number) are advertised to appear in their vocal and instrumental entertainment at the Town-hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday next, July 30th and 31st, and August 1st. This attractive troupe have visited Ryde before; and we have no doubt that they will attract large audiences during their present visit by their refined and pleasing entertainment. The press are unanimous in its approval of their performances. The Right Hon Sir William and Lady Hutt gave a garden party in the beautiful grounds of Appley Towers on Thursday, when a large and fashionable gathering took place. The Mayor of Ryde and Mrs Leach gave a garden party on Wednesday, when a large number of the elite of the town and neighbourhood were present. The fine band of the Royal Marine Artillery were on the grounds and performed a choice selection of music. 1 AUGUST 1874 THE BLONDINETTE MELODISTS – This company of young ladies attracted a large audience at the Town-hall on Thursday evening. They appear this (Friday) evening, and tomorrow (Saturday). Those who have not yet seen this talented troupe should not miss this opportunity. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 24th AUGUST 1874 MISS NANNIE PRAEGER – was announced to give a grand pianoforte recital in the Town Hall, on Friday afternoon, but as there was no audience – she did not do so. 8 August 1874 MRS SCOTT-SIDDONS – As will be seen by reference to advertisement, this talented lady will give one of her histrionic readings in the new Town-hall this (Saturday) afternoon, at 3 o’clock. She will be accompanied by the youthful prodigy, “Seraphael,” the celebrated boy pianist who has won bronze and silver medals at the Royal Academy of Music. SKATING IN MID-SUMMER – At the best of times it is not long that the privilege of skating is afforded to the inhabitants of this south-coast district during the short and generally mild winters which are vouchsafed to us; but – astonishing as it might seem – the luxury of skating exercise may be (and is) enjoyed in the midst of the summer, and with this advantage – that there is no fear of being submerged beneath the treacherous ice. The roller skating which is now being practised in the Victoria-rooms (on the American principle) is exceedingly good physical exercise, and the elegant and graceful manner in which the ladies and gentlemen flit about the room has a most pleasing effect, not only to those engaged but also to the on-looker. To those who are fond of skating we recommend the “rink” at the Victoria-rooms. 15 AUGUST 1874 SKATING RINK AT THE VICTORIA ROOMS – The rink is assuredly a novelty that will wear. It combines the pleasures of the ballroom with the advantages of the gymnasium, and is a delight at once both to young and old people. It is one of the few contrivances which the genius of amusement has supplied to youth to which the doctors do not take exception. Last week there was the most fashionable attendance; the skating of many of the ladies was excellent; the merriment was profuse, and all were alike enchanted. Certainly the rink is an invention – assuredly it is a success. Long may it wave! 24 OCTOBER 1874 SKATING RINK VICTORIA ASSEMBLY ROOMS LIND STREET, RYDE.These Rooms are OPEN until further noticeFOR ROLLER SKATINGOn the American Principle.In the Morning, for Ladies and Gentlemen, from 11 to 1; Afternoon Assemblies for Ladies, Gentlemen and Children, from 3 to 5.30.Admission, One Shilling. Hire of Skates, Sixpence. 26 DECEMBER 1874 THE SKATING RINK – This novelty still continues to attract large numbers to the Victoria-rooms. An additional attraction will be provided tomorrow (Saturday), the splendid band of the Royal Marines being engaged to play upon the occasion. THE THEATRE – It is with great pleasure we announce that our fine theatre, which has so long been deserted, has been purchased by a number of local gentlemen, who, it is stated, have secured it upon very reasonable terms. No time will be lost in opening the building, and we trust that in the hands of those who have a better opportunity of understanding local requirements than strangers, the theatre will be a greater success than it was. THE VIENNESE LADIES’ ORCHESTRA – The novelty of a performance by such a large number of ladies as compose this orchestra, attracted a numerous and fashionable audience to the Town-hall on Thursday afternoon. It is impossible to speak too highly of their performance, and so enthusiastic were the audience, that it has been determined to give morning and evening concerts on Saturday, which will no doubt be well attended. CONCERT – On Tuesday evening the Ryde contingent of the Crystal Palace choir gave a concert in the Town-hall, consisting of pieces which had already been sung at the Crystal Palace, interspersed with songs, &c. The soloists were Miss DENHAM, and Mr BULLEY. Mrs MOODY acted as accompanist. There were about 500 persons present. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 6 AUGUST 1874 NEW TOWN HALL, RYDEMRS SCOTT SIDDONSIn Her Histrionic ReadingsAND‘SERAPHAEL,’ THE CELEBRATED BOY PIANIST, AGED 12 YEARS,(Bronze and Silver Medalist, Royal Academy of Music, London.)SATURDAY AFTERNOON, AUGUST 8.Doors Open at 2.30. Commence at 3 o’clock.Centre Stalls, 4s; Family Tickets of four, 14s;Second Seats, 2s 6d; Admission 1s.Plan and Tickets at AYLWARD’S, Union-street. 13 AUGUST 1874 MRS SCOTT-SIDDONS – Mrs Scott-Siddons was advertised to appear, together with the wonderful boy pianist “Seraphael”, at the Town Hall, on Saturday afternoon; but shortly before the time for commencing, notices postponing the entertainment were circulated broadcast. Our readers will regret to hear that Mrs Siddons a short time since was thrown from her horse and had her spine injured, and that a few days ago, for a throat complaint, a quantity of caustic was administered in mistake for brandy and caustic: her servant removing the glass containing the brandy on clearing the dinner table. Mrs Siddons persisted up to Saturday morning that she would appear as announced, but the state of her health put a veto on it. Purchasers of tickets can have their money refunded on returning the tickets to Mr Aylward. Return to the main Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
1875 Entertainments

Ryde Entertainments in 1875 1 JULY 1875 MATINEE DANSANTE DE MADAME DE HAYES GEORGE – Hearing so much of Madame George, and her Academie, we availed ourselves of an opportunity on Friday of witnessing a Matinee Dansante in the New Town Hall, in which, during several of the past winter seasons, Madame George has held her Academie. Not only were we not disappointed in our anticipations, but intensely gratified. A large number of the elite of the town and neighbourhood assembled to witness the progress their little sons and daughters (there was a preponderance of daughters) had made, and gratified to the fullest extent all must have been at the result, whilst the dansante in itself was a capital entertainment. The area of that large room is not more than is required for her large class. The programme was as follows:Part 1 Part 2 The march, the young ladies advancing in three rows from the back to the front of the room, and then receding, was very pretty, and with the series of exercises (No 4), form a most important feature in the class. The exercises eclipse the march in attractiveness, but the objects effected in both cases are a true lady-like deportment, and muscular development – and Madame George has, evidently, the power of imparting to others such a grace as she herself possesses in a marked degree. The dancing – dancing to the perfection to which the pupils are taught in this case – is an accomplishment almost a necessity for them) which they will value more when a few years have added to their youth and beauty – but the calisthenic exercises promote grace of movement and strength of body. Madame George has strong recommendation from the medical profession as to the beneficial effects on the health of children (by expanding the chest, exercising every joint, &c.), and the deportment, from the exercises through which she puts her pupils; and we can say that such exercises must be most valuable, and that not only on Friday was there grace in every step, but in their every movement. In the mainly ornamental part of the programme, the mazurka quadrille was the thing of the afternoon, and the company could not refrain from a loud burst of applause, which both children and mistress fully deserved. The eight who danced this were in white dresses with blue sashes (from shoulder to waist) and head ribbons, and the top “gentleman” specially distinguished “her”-self, though all acquitted themselves in first-class style, with an effect that was wonderfully pretty and interesting. Many a ballet on the stage is not nearly so attractive. In other portions of the programme every pupil present joined, creating a strikingly pretty spectacle – with the sun shining through the sky-lights on the fairy-like forms, in tastily-made white dresses, tripping over the floor. It was most amusing too to watch the zest and emulation with which some, mere babes, with their radiant faces, and sparkling eyes, entered upon their duties. The pupils were evidently in different stages, but each was perfected so far as she had gone, in spite of the largeness of the class – none had been neglected. The way in which the Imperial Quadrille, Lancers, &c., was gone through deserves especial mention – en passant we think that if ladies and gentlemen who dance 16-Lancers were to take a few lessons before they next do so they might hope to attain to the perfection they desire, and equal these juveniles – which is rarely the case – but in all cases here, it was noticeable that the dancing was not simply to a set form of steps, &c.,into which they had been drilled, but to music. We consider the pupils fortunate in being able to receive Madame George’s tuition – they could hardly be better taught, that is evident from the perfection they have attained, and her modus operandi  – the pupils certainly do her credit. Madame George, who is a daughter of Monsieur de Hayes, of the Academie Royale, Paris, and pupil of Madame Louise Michau, of London; and who has taught in London and abroad, is evidently an artiste and not an ordinary teacher – Miss Kirkman, (niece of Mrs Anderson, pianist to the Queen) presided at the pianoforte. – Between the first and second parts, refreshments were provided for the pupils, this being the first meeting of the season. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 2 SEPTEMBER 1875 A SKATING RINK IN RYDE – We are pleased to find that an open air skating rink, which must prove a source of interest and attraction to residents and visitors, has been opened in Ryde. It is a private speculation, the proprietors being Col. Hall and Mr West; we hope they will be amply repayed, for additional attractions are wanted in Ryde to counteract the drawbacks. The rink is a very large one, and of best Portland cement, and all the latest improvements are introduced. In the centre the space is to be utilized for a band stand and garden, and when completed, the rink, (which is situated on the marshes, near the Gas Works, and accessible via Monkton Street or St John’s Park) will be a superior one in every respect. Wednesday last was the opening day, and the proprietors must have been gratified to see about 500 ladies and gentlemen attending, the bulk of them enjoying themselves at the exciting and health giving exercise. The annual subscription is very low, and therefore we expect soon to see a long list. Even spectators may spend an hour or two most enjoyably at the rink, especially on the days when a military band is in attendance – Wednesdays and Saturdays. The “Plimpton” skate is used. Further particulars are afforded elsewhere. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES  2nd SEPTEMBER 1875 A GRAND OPERATIC CONCERT – was given in the Town Hall on Thursday evening – one of the best it has been our good fortune to hear – but as usual when there are first-class entertainments, the attendance was miserably small, especially in the front benches, where one would have expected to find most. We are not so much concerned at Mr Aylward’s continued losses as at the fact that the first-class entertainments must cease in Ryde, and those who could and would enjoy them miss real musical treats. – The artistes were Mddle Jose Sherrington, Miss Helen d’Alton, Signor M Rocca, Signor Bianchi, and Signor Brignoll (of Her Majesty’s Opera), with Cavaliere Campana as conductor. If people do not care to attend, we presume they would not read a critique, so we save ourselves unnecessary trouble. Return to the main Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
1875 Entertainments in Ryde

1 JULY 1875 MATINEE DANSANTE DE MADAME DE HAYES GEORGE – Hearing so much of Madame George, and her Academie, we availed ourselves of an opportunity on Friday of witnessing a Matinee Dansante in the New Town Hall, in which, during several of the past winter seasons, Madame George has held her Academie. Not only were we not disappointed in our anticipations, but intensely gratified. A large number of the elite of the town and neighbourhood assembled to witness the progress their little sons and daughters (there was a preponderance of daughters) had made, and gratified to the fullest extent all must have been at the result, whilst the dansante in itself was a capital entertainment. The area of that large room is not more than is required for her large class. The programme was as follows:Part 1 Part 2 The march, the young ladies advancing in three rows from the back to the front of the room, and then receding, was very pretty, and with the series of exercises (No 4), form a most important feature in the class. The exercises eclipse the march in attractiveness, but the objects effected in both cases are a true lady-like deportment, and muscular development – and Madame George has, evidently, the power of imparting to others such a grace as she herself possesses in a marked degree. The dancing – dancing to the perfection to which the pupils are taught in this case – is an accomplishment almost a necessity for them) which they will value more when a few years have added to their youth and beauty – but the calisthenic exercises promote grace of movement and strength of body. Madame George has strong recommendation from the medical profession as to the beneficial effects on the health of children (by expanding the chest, exercising every joint, &c.), and the deportment, from the exercises through which she puts her pupils; and we can say that such exercises must be most valuable, and that not only on Friday was there grace in every step, but in their every movement. In the mainly ornamental part of the programme, the mazurka quadrille was the thing of the afternoon, and the company could not refrain from a loud burst of applause, which both children and mistress fully deserved. The eight who danced this were in white dresses with blue sashes (from shoulder to waist) and head ribbons, and the top “gentleman” specially distinguished “her”-self, though all acquitted themselves in first-class style, with an effect that was wonderfully pretty and interesting. Many a ballet on the stage is not nearly so attractive. In other portions of the programme every pupil present joined, creating a strikingly pretty spectacle – with the sun shining through the sky-lights on the fairy-like forms, in tastily-made white dresses, tripping over the floor. It was most amusing too to watch the zest and emulation with which some, mere babes, with their radiant faces, and sparkling eyes, entered upon their duties. The pupils were evidently in different stages, but each was perfected so far as she had gone, in spite of the largeness of the class – none had been neglected. The way in which the Imperial Quadrille, Lancers, &c., was gone through deserves especial mention – en passant we think that if ladies and gentlemen who dance 16-Lancers were to take a few lessons before they next do so they might hope to attain to the perfection they desire, and equal these juveniles – which is rarely the case – but in all cases here, it was noticeable that the dancing was not simply to a set form of steps, &c.,into which they had been drilled, but to music. We consider the pupils fortunate in being able to receive Madame George’s tuition – they could hardly be better taught, that is evident from the perfection they have attained, and her modus operandi  – the pupils certainly do her credit. Madame George, who is a daughter of Monsieur de Hayes, of the Academie Royale, Paris, and pupil of Madame Louise Michau, of London; and who has taught in London and abroad, is evidently an artiste and not an ordinary teacher – Miss Kirkman, (niece of Mrs Anderson, pianist to the Queen) presided at the pianoforte. – Between the first and second parts, refreshments were provided for the pupils, this being the first meeting of the season. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES 2 SEPTEMBER 1875 A SKATING RINK IN RYDE – We are pleased to find that an open air skating rink, which must prove a source of interest and attraction to residents and visitors, has been opened in Ryde. It is a private speculation, the proprietors being Col. Hall and Mr West; we hope they will be amply repayed, for additional attractions are wanted in Ryde to counteract the drawbacks. The rink is a very large one, and of best Portland cement, and all the latest improvements are introduced. In the centre the space is to be utilized for a band stand and garden, and when completed, the rink, (which is situated on the marshes, near the Gas Works, and accessible via Monkton Street or St John’s Park) will be a superior one in every respect. Wednesday last was the opening day, and the proprietors must have been gratified to see about 500 ladies and gentlemen attending, the bulk of them enjoying themselves at the exciting and health giving exercise. The annual subscription is very low, and therefore we expect soon to see a long list. Even spectators may spend an hour or two most enjoyably at the rink, especially on the days when a military band is in attendance – Wednesdays and Saturdays. The “Plimpton” skate is used. Further particulars are afforded elsewhere. ISLE OF WIGHT TIMES  2nd SEPTEMBER 1875 A GRAND OPERATIC CONCERT – was given in the Town Hall on Thursday evening – one of the best it has been our good fortune to hear – but as usual when there are first-class entertainments, the attendance was miserably small, especially in the front benches, where one would have expected to find most. We are not so much concerned at Mr Aylward’s continued losses as at the fact that the first-class entertainments must cease in Ryde, and those who could and would enjoy them miss real musical treats. – The artistes were Mddle Jose Sherrington, Miss Helen d’Alton, Signor M Rocca, Signor Bianchi, and Signor Brignoll (of Her Majesty’s Opera), with Cavaliere Campana as conductor. If people do not care to attend, we presume they would not read a critique, so we save ourselves unnecessary trouble. Return to the main Leisure …

11 March, 2023View
1880s Leisure in Ryde

Ryde Ramblers′ Cricket Club During last season a feeling was specifically brought before the notice of the public of Ryde and neighbourhood that the manly game of cricket would be much enjoyed by the youths and young men of the industrial classes during the fine Saturday half-holidays, and other leisure time, if they could get the opportunities of such enjoyment within their reach. There are Clubs, it is true, for private gentlemen or individuals holding tolerably good positions; but for the large class included within the terms of artisan and mechanic there has been practically, no Club; therefore, we were pleased to see towards the close of last season the Club named at the head of this paragraph come into existence, and, there is evidence of its containing the germs of healthy long life if but it can obtain some little substantial outside support in this its initiatory stage. Like all other undertakings of this class the preliminary expences (sic) are difficult to be met by its members, most of whom are, of course, not over-blessed with the commercial trinity yclept £ s d. Whilst stating that members’ names will be gladly welcomed by the Hon Secretary – G Perkis, Cedar Cottage, Weeks’, the Treasurer – A Jenkins, Haylands, and A Sothcott, 63, St John’s-road, Ryde – subscriptions will be received by these officers of the Club. Formation of The Vectis Cycling Club March 1883 NEW CYCLE CLUB A number of gentlemen residing in Ryde and neighbourhood have formed themselves into a Bicycle and Tricycle club. About 30 gentlemen have already joined. MR J R West has been elected president, and the vice persidents are the Rev W H Redknap, Surgeon-Gen Ross, Col Garlick, Capt Wellesley, Me Evelyn Rich, Mr Dudley Watkins, and Mr A Morse; captain, Mr H M Tarrant; deputy captain, Mr Thirkell; treasurer, Mr Jabez Hughes; secretary, Mr H H Morgan; bugler, Mr D R Wayland; committee, Messrs G Colenutt, H O Colyer, Durrant, H Lowe, D Marvin, and W Watts. The club is called “The Vectis Cycling Club,” and the annual subscription is 5s. Isle of Wight Observer March 31, 1883THE VECTIS CYCLING CLUB – The opening run of this newly-formed club took place on Thursday evening. Fifteen of the members met at 5 o’clock at the Town Hall, and the start was really a very pretty sight, there being seven bicycles and eight tricycles of various make, the Salvo, the Delta, the Phoenix, and the Victor, being amongst those represented. The captain, Mr Tarrant, led the van, with the bugler, Mr Wayland, the bicyclists following, and the deputy captain (Mr Thirkell) bringing up the rear. They proceeded, via Brading, to Sandown, returning through the lower road and back through Brading. The 25 Mile Bicycle Championship….. Open to Island Amateurs Isle of Wight Observer, November 24, 1883 We scarcely think it necessary to remind our readers that this race will take place next Tuesday, at 2 o’clock, round the Canoe Lake. As we notice the interest in the race has increased and is now very intense, we anticipate, with favourable weather, a very large gathering to witness the event. The authorities have carried out our suggestion, and have carefully repaired the track, which we venture to say will be in such a state by the 27th that no one will be able to complain. The silver cup to be awarded to the winner has been on view in Messrs J and A Morgan’s establishment in Union-street. It is of solid silver, gilt on the inside, and was supplied by Mr Rickard, of High-street, at a cost of £5 5s. Certainly it is of elegant design, and a not unsubstantial reward. The money for the cup and medals has been very willingly subscribed by inhabitants of the town, so that the cup presented by the President of the Club will remain to be raced on for another occasion. All competitors, except Mr Richardson of Freshwater, have now been on the Ryde track, so that one should be better able to judge of their respective powers, but we have no doubt that the state of the weather will influence the result materially at this season of the year. Certainly some riders will do comparatively better on a windy day, while others wish for a calm. If the wind is high it will mlake a difference in the number of time medals to be awarded, for although we anticipate the race will be won under 90 minutes on a quiet day when probably all would obtain medals, yet a very high wind will prolong the race another ten minutes and prevent several riders doing the distance under the 105 minutes. Mr Tarrant has this week been riding an entirely new machine, which he has just purchased. It is ten pounds lighter than the machine he was to have ridden, which is a great advantage on a good course. It seems to suit him remarkably well, and of the Ryde men he is undoubtedly the favourite, though Mr Marvin rides remarkably well, especially against the wind, and if it blows he has a splendid chance. Mr Smith will fortunately be able to ride, and is even now but little the worse for his accident. Mr Case, of Newport, has not entered, but Master Walters, of the Rev Goulden’s school, will make one of the starters, hoping to secure a time medal. We admire this young gentleman’s pluck. The general opinion is that either Peel or Tarrant will win, with Messrs Marvin, Feltham, Joyce, Colenutt and Smith well up. RYDE AND NEWPORT RAILWAY – Early on Tuesday morning the engine attached to the train from Newport to Ryde gave out at the Ashey station and could not get into Ryde. The result was that the company were obliged to miss their 8.50 train, and some little inconvenience, not to say alarm, was caused. The train came through the station about 10 30 and was cheered by some of those waiting. Ryde Model Yacht Club – 1881  Return to Ryde Leisure …

5 November, 2022View
1880s Military news

Military News from the 1880s 1884 – IW Rifle Volunteers – Weekly Orders 1886 – The Inspecting Officer misses the Inspection! added 14.7.10 Isle of Wight Observer – June 9 1888 – The Hants Carabineers Return to Military  …

19 November, 2022View
1880s Odds and Ends

News items from the 1880s newspapers 1880s Odds and Ends 1881 – Turnips end up in court! 1882 – Co-operative stores and local shopkeepers wage war! 1883 – Formation of Vectis Cycling Club 1884 – An Outside Opinion of Ryde 1886 – Christmas at the Shops 1886 – Baskett’s cottage demolished 1887 – Tied up in knots! 1888 – The Isle of – What? 1889 – The Isle of Wight Toll Gates Return to main Odds and Ends …

4 November, 2023View
1880s Railway News

Railway news from the 1880s Locomotive on the Pier – February 1880 Return to main Railway …

3 December, 2022View
1890s Entertainment and Leisure in Ryde

Bank Holiday Entertainment Isle of Wight Observer August 10, 1895 Quite a variety entertainment formed the attraction at the Pavilion on Bank Holiday. Miss Minnie Palmer sang “The Tin Gee-Gee” and a laughing song, both of which evidently greatly pleased the audience. Professor Etho’s performing dogs were also remarkably well trained. One of them danced on its hind legs on a large revolving wheel, while another turned a back somersault very cleverly. Master Campbell Goldsmid, who has a sweet soprano voice, also sang well, and was warmly encored for Wilfred Bendall’s song “The Pixies”. The gem of the entertainment was, however, Mr Charles Watkins’ humourous sketch. This gentleman is the most accomplished and remarkable whistler we have ever heard, and he seems to produce the sound in a totally different style and manner to that adopted by the ordinary whistler. In one part of the sketch he substituted a shrill little whistle for the letter “s” wherever it occurred, a feat we never heard anyone else accomplish. He sings well, too, but as regards his “patter” he made the mistake of pitching his voice a little too low, so that he was not very distinctly heard. A marvellous feature of his performance was playing a tune by rapping on the top of his head and modulating the sound to notes by opening and shutting his mouth. He also did this on his cheeks, on a knife between his teeth, on a walking stick, &c. THE BANK HOLIDAY – Although the sky looked wild on Monday, the majority of people thought, as there was so much wind, the rain would keep off. Accordingly, a number of our townsmen might have been seen, early in the morning, laden with baskets and hampers, evidently bent on picnicing excursions. An unusual number of excursionists also came into the town, and had the weather remained fine there can be no doubt the fete which the Foresters arranged would have been a great success. Unfortunately, however, shortly after noon, the wind dropped a little, and then the heavy clouds, which had been lowering all day, steadily discharged the moisture with which they were laden. It was rather pitiable to see so many strangers going about under umbrellas or taking every opportunity for shelter. The Arcade was full all the afternoon, and the Pavilion at the end of the pier proved quite a God-send. A great number of visitors found shelter and amusement there in the afternoon, and in the evening over 1200 paid for admission. The number of visitors to the town may be judged from the fact that there have never been so many travellers by the Pier Electric Railway. We understand from a good authority there were over 7000. The trams and steamers were also crowded. On Bank Holiday, when the streets were rather crowded with traffic, Colonel A Clarke, with Mrs Clarke and Miss Norah Clarke, were driving down Union Street in an open carriage. When near Mr Evans’ where the road suddenly shows a sharp gradient, the horse slipped and fell, and was unable to hold the carriage, which seemed very likely to be overturned. The occupants of the carriage were helped out at once, and by the promptitude of some watermen  standing near, the carriage was stopped and the horse restored to its feet. Some poems by Mrs Florence Clarke, can be found here. Colonel E Howard-Brooke Colonel E Howard-Brooke, who was born at Castle Howard, Vale of Ovoca, co. Wicklow (of which property he is the heir), resides at Belvedere Lodge, Ryde, and for seven seasons has been the Master of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds. (Taken from a family scrapbook, written in 1898 – the Colonel and family also lived at Faircroft, Binstead Road, and his widow Mrs Howard-Brooke, died at The Lawn, Spencer Road.) The subject of this sketch joined the army in 1865, and was appointed to the First Hampshire Regiment, in which he served for ten years in India. During this time he indulged in all kinds of sport, and on one occasion, with General Sir John Davis, bagged no fewer than seventeen tigers in seven days – a truly marvellous performance. He also had capital sport among other big game, and was very successful at pig-sticking. He now combines the duties of a MFH with the command of the Third Hampshire Regiment. The gallant officer is exceedingly popular with the followers of his pack in the Isle of Wight, and is on the most friendly terms with the farmers whose land he hunts. He has had an excellent cubbing season, thanks to the good feeling existing between himself and such big preservers of pheasants as Sir Barrington Simeon, MP, Sir Charles Seeley, and others, who have given strict orders to their gamekeepers that foxes, as well as pheasants, must be found in the coverts when wanted. The prospects, therefore, of hunting in the coming season in the Isle of Wight are very promising. The late Sir Victor Brooke, who was first cousin of Colonel Brooke, was also an ardent sportsman, and was Master of the Pau Hounds. Colonel E Howard Brooke is well known in yachting circles, and is a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. A novel feature of the Isle of Wight Hunt this season is the riding astride of the ladies. There are few among the younger members of the hunt who do not adopt this method of riding when exercising their horses. But the method is by no means common, for the reason, perhaps, that when out with the hounds it probably attracts too much attention to the fair riders. It is said, however, that when riding astride, longer distances can be covered and more difficult districts ridden over with less fatigue to both rider and hunter. The country in the Isle of Wight is very different from that in the Midlands or many counties further south, and it is necessary, therefore, for ladies to take this into consideration when they have a long day’s run in front of them. Among those who favour the new style are Mrs Forster, who, attired in a dark-coloured habit, with a perfectly fitting long coat, makes a charming figure astride. Mrs Davenport and Mrs Thornton look uncommonly well and very businesslike, while the children, who during the holidays are present in numbers, universally adopt this means of riding. Among the popular followers, none receives a warmer welcome at meets than Mrs Howard-Brooke, the wife of the enthusiastic master. Although this lady is not quite such a keen follower as some other members, she looks exceptionally well seated on her first-class mount, and speaks with spirit of some delightful runs in which she has participated. This report is not indicative of any support for hunting by Historic Ryde Society, but merely a transcript of a family scrapbook cutting, reflecting the different standards of yesteryear. Return to Entertainment and Leisure in Ryde …

5 November, 2022View
1890s Leisure in Ryde

 1890s Leisure in Ryde The inhabitants of 19th century Ryde enjoyed entertainment…………… Bands played on the pier every evening. There were plays in the Theatre, concerts in the Town Hall, lectures and exhibitions in the Victoria Rooms and circuses on the Strand from the 1850s onwards. Local gentry also held balls and soirees in their homes – descriptions of which appeared in the local press the following week. Celebrities came from Paris and London to appear in Ryde – Mrs Jordan, Ellen Terry, Oscar Wilde, General Tom Thumb, The Christy Minstrels all appeared in Ryde following successful runs in London and over seas……..Ryde was the place to be after London, Paris, New York! Hairdressers and other businessmen also followed the same route. Return to Ryde Leisure …

21 October, 2023View
1890s Military News

Military News from the 1890s 1892 – Prize-giving of Hants Carabiniers Yeomanry 1892 – Reckless Firing 1893 – The IW Volunteer Cycling Corps Return to Military …

19 November, 2022View
1890s Odds and Ends

News items from the 1890s newspapers 1890s Odds and Ends 1890 – The Oldest Local Paper – The Observer’s 2000th edition 1890 – The Grand Old Man 1890 – An Incautious Landlord 1890 – Charity in Ryde 1890 – “It vos damn humbug!” – a race across the Solent 1890 – Victoria Rooms become Town Hall Chambers 1893 – An Eccentric Artiste 1893 – Complaint about the Hazelwood ‘young cads’ 1894 – Funny names 1895 – Bird Life in the town 1895 – Ryde Horse and Carriage Show 1895 – A runaway in High Street 1897 – The Motherbank Quarantine ships 1899 – A singular Accident Return to main Odds and Ends …

5 May, 2013View
1890s Railway news

Railway news from the 1890s 1895 – Bank Holiday travellers on the Pier Electric Railway Return to main Railway …

3 December, 2022View
1890s snippets

An Incautious Landlord Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 1890s snippets Ryde Petty Sessions – Borough Bench – Monday – Before the Mayor (Ald J Barton), Aldermen Colenutt, Captain Daubuz, Professor Simonds and Dr Davey. Joseph Jones, landlord of the Wheatsheaf, was summoned for keeping his house open during unlawful hours. PC Watson deposed that on Sunday morning, the 12th instant, about ten minutes to 8, he was on duty in Melville-street, at the top of Nelson-street. Saw a man come out of the Wheatsheaf, and go down Nelson-street. There was a man at the bottom of the street, evidently watching. Shortly afterwards this man came up the street and went into the Wheatsheaf. Witness afterwards went down and opened the bar door. It was not fastened. There was a man standing against the counter with a pint cup in his hand, half full of beer. As he went in defendant came into the bar. Witness said, “What is the meaning of this, Mr Jones?” He replied “I don’t know.” Witness told him he had no right to have his house opened for the sale of drink at five minutes to 8 on Sunday morning, and that he should report the matter to the Superintendent. He said “Very well, but don’t open your mouth too wide about it,” or words to that effect. He told defendant he should be obliged to report it because there were many complaints in reference to the house. – Defendant said he had just taken in the milk, when a man came into the bar and said that he had been on duty all night and felt ill, and begged him for a glass of ale, and he supplied him. – Superintendent Hinks stated that defendant had kept the house ever since he had been in the town, and had never been summoned before. – The Bench fined defendant £1 and costs. Robert Dunford,  of Daniel-street, was fined 2s 6d and costs for going into the house. Endorsements The license of the Bugle Inn was endorsed from Thomas Scott to Edward Sweetman, jun. Application was made to endorse the license of the Hand-in-Hand, Nelson-place, from Jane Beal to William Jarman. – Ald Colenutt said that the house had not been opened for several years. – Superintendent Hinks replied that the license had been taken out every year. – Ald Colenutt remarked that it was a low place, and the fact that it had been closed showed that the neighbourhood did not require a publichouse. – The matter was adjourned till the next transfer day. HIGH TIDE One of the highest tides known here for a great number of years occurred on Thursday, but though the wind was occasionally rather gusty, it was more or less off the land, so that little damage was done. The sluice in the marshes, however, overfllowed, and there was eighteen inches of water in Alderman Barrow’s Recreation Ground. It taxed Mr A Cooke, and his staff, to keep the railway tunnel sufficiently free from water to permit of uninterrupted traffic. The tides rose so high under the Railway Pier that, had it been very rough, the permanent way must have been injured. Charity in 19th century Ryde Isle of Wight Observer January 25th, 1890 St Faith’s Preventive Home – the report of this excellent charity (which originated in the kindly heart of Mrs Worsley), has just been issued, together with the balance sheet. The report acknowledges, with great thankfulness, the kind help given at the sale of work, in Easter last. With hands thus strengthened the managers have been enabled to rescue and provide for several more children. Two homeless little ones have been saved from the itinerant life of destitute tramps. During the year eleven children have been sheltered and sent to other homes, and twelve remain in at present. The Home cost £215 to support, and £296 were collected for it, so that there is a balance in hand of £81. The report is signed Mrs A W Spring and Mrs M R Tomlin, as visitors; and Mrs Worsley as Secretary. The Refuge Home, Ryde – The annual report of the above home, which has just been issued, says; “We do indeed need continued and increased support, for the nature of many of the cases received and helped is a very large expense to the funds; and in a refuge how can we turn adrift, without an effort to influence for good, those who seek our sympathy? Thirty-three girls have passed through during the past year, and we do ask earnestly for more subscriptions to carry on the work. The continued assistance and ever ready aid afforded by Messrs Rich and Davies, as well as kind gifts of clothing, meat, fruit and vegetables have been invaluable, for which we render our heartiest thanks. We are sorry to find from the financial statement there is a balance due to the hon. treasure of £102, so that help is …

25 February, 2023View
1900s Military News

The new century began with news of Ryde’s Volunteers at the Front in South Africa. Isle of Wight Observer January 19 1901 Military News from the early 1900s A letter has been received by Mr Poole, of Green Street, Ryde, from Private C Poole, dated Pretoria, December 20th. The writer says. “I hope you will have a good time this Christmas. I cannot say anything about our Christmas yet, as it wants five days to it; but from what I can see, I don’t think there will be any difference between Christmas here and any other day. There is a yarn going that we shall have two pints of beer a man, but I don’t know how far it is true. I hope it is right, as it will be quite a treat to have a drop. Yesterday we had a parcel from Mrs Seely, containing socks, tobacco, pipes and handkerchief, which was a very nice little present. I don’t know what to say about our coming home, but it looks further off than ever, as troops that have been sent down country have returned since General Clements’ fight at Rietfontein. I think I said in my last letter that we could hear big guns. That was when General Clements had rather a tough job on at Rietfontein, which is not many miles from where we are. I have not heard a full account of it yet, but must wait for the English papers to see all about it. Since that affair we have been well on the alert, standing to arms, with all equipment on, from 3 till 6 am, and our picquets have seen several small parties of Boers knocking about. I am still keeping in good health, but Mew has been very ill with enteric. I think he is getting better now.” Mrs Weeks, of Union Street, has also received a letter from her son, Sergeant W E Weeks, who also speaks of having been fortunate enough to receive from Mrs Seely (the wife of Col Seely), a parcel, and also a Christmas hamper from home. It is very fortunate the latter was forwarded, because only a day or so after it was despatched, a letter was received from Sergeant Weeks, stating that he was coming home with Lord Roberts, and his friends quite anticipated that the parcels sent would never reach him.Mrs Weeks has also heard from her second son, Mr J Weeks, of the South African Light Horse, who is now the Sergeant-Major of his troop, a position which he formerly occupied in the Canadian Mounted Police. He appears to have had some exciting experiences, and several narrow escapes. On one occasion his horse bolted, and he had to catch it under the fire of a number of Boers on a neighbouring kopje. It is thought probable he took part in the recent fighting at Murraysburg. The article appeared in the Isle of WIght Observer, February 2 1901. ‘W E Weeks thanks his customers for past favours, and trusts that during his absence on active service in South Africa with the Isle of Wight Volunteers his friends will continue to extend to him their kind support as heretofore’. A letter from Sergeant Weeks addressed to the Deputy Governor of the Island appeared in the Isle of Wight Observer of June 16, 1900:Vet River,Orange Free StateMay 16th 1900 Dear Sir, I am in receipt of your letter dated 5th April and am requested by the members of the IW Section of the 1st Vol Co Hants Regiment, to thank you and the members of the committee for their kindness in sending us the articles you mention. They have not yet arrived and it is doubtful whether we shall get them for some time. Still we are none the less grateful to think we are being remembered by our fellow citizens.  We left De Doorns on the 3rd inst., and arrived at Bloemfontein on the 6th, left there on the 7th and arrived at Brandfort on the same day. Left Brandfort on the 9th and arrived here on the same day. The bridge across the Vet river having been blown up by the Boers a few days previously it became necessary to deviate the railway and cross the river further down. This was done by the Royal engineers and our company had to assist them. The deviation was about two miles, and three bridges had to be built and the bed of the road made. Our work was mostly excavation, carrying sleepers and laying rails. The line was completed on the morning of the 13th, and we were complimented by the officers of the Royal Engineers for the assistance we rendered. We have been under orders to move from here since Sunday, but we can never tell when we are to move until we are actually in the train, as orders are frequently cancelled. To-day we have been burying horses and cattle which have been lying in the river and on the veldt. It is not a nice job, but a very necessary one. Again thanking you I have the honour to remain,Your obedient servant.Wm Edgar WeeksSergt. Vol. Co. Hants. RegSeptember 1900 – news from the Front January 1901 – Outpost duty Return to main Military …

19 November, 2022View
1920s Ryde Town Council news

Ryde Town Council 1920s The issues concerning 1920s Ryde Town Council news…. February 1928 – Rehearsing on Sundays, the Putting Green and Parking regulations Return to Ryde Town Council …

3 May, 2013View
1928 Council issues

Issues for Ryde Town Council – 1928 1928 Council issues Isle of Wight Times February 16, 1928 Sunday Rehearsals – Councillor Hayden asked the Chairman of the Parks and Amusements Committee if it was true that a rehearsal took place in the Eastern Pavilion on the Sunday evening preceding the performances of the New Ryde Operatic Society and whether it was done with the knowledge of the committee. He also asked whether the chairman was responsible for the  boards placed round the Gardens upon which had been pasted a political party’s bills? Councillor Chiverton, the Chairman, replied that it was quite news to him so far as the rehearsal was concerned and the second question also. No member of the Council would suggest they would allow political bills to appear there (hear hear). The Mayor said that following on the second question the Town Clerk received a complaint about the posters and he instructed him to remove them or cover them over as it was not a thing they would allow there (hear hear). Putting Green – Councillor Green asked if the committee proposed to provide a shelter for ladies and children who patronised their popular Putting Green this summer, and if not, why not? The Mayor said they must cut their coat according to their cloth and personally he thought that they had gone as far as they could in spending money during the last few years (hear hear). He would however, bring it before the committee to discuss, but he considered they should mark time for a little while so as to save money and reduce the rates if possible (hear hear). Parking Regulations – Councillor Pollard asked the chairman of the General Purposes Committee whether regulations concerning the parking of motor cars could be amended so that they were parked side by side or at an angle to the kerb and whether when they were parked was it absolutely necessary to keep the lights on. Alderman Blackall said it was a matter for the police, but he thought the suggestion in regard to the manner of parking was a good one especially in respect to those outside the Town Hall. Return to Ryde Town Council …

21 April, 2013View
1928 Council issues

Issues for Ryde Town Council – 1928 1928 Council issues Isle of Wight Times February 16, 1928 Sunday Rehearsals – Councillor Hayden asked the Chairman of the Parks and Amusements Committee if it was true that a rehearsal took place in the Eastern Pavilion on the Sunday evening preceding the performances of the New Ryde Operatic Society and whether it was done with the knowledge of the committee. He also asked whether the chairman was responsible for the  boards placed round the Gardens upon which had been pasted a political party’s bills? Councillor Chiverton, the Chairman, replied that it was quite news to him so far as the rehearsal was concerned and the second question also. No member of the Council would suggest they would allow political bills to appear there (hear hear). The Mayor said that following on the second question the Town Clerk received a complaint about the posters and he instructed him to remove them or cover them over as it was not a thing they would allow there (hear hear). Putting Green – Councillor Green asked if the committee proposed to provide a shelter for ladies and children who patronised their popular Putting Green this summer, and if not, why not? The Mayor said they must cut their coat according to their cloth and personally he thought that they had gone as far as they could in spending money during the last few years (hear hear). He would however, bring it before the committee to discuss, but he considered they should mark time for a little while so as to save money and reduce the rates if possible (hear hear). Parking Regulations – Councillor Pollard asked the chairman of the General Purposes Committee whether regulations concerning the parking of motor cars could be amended so that they were parked side by side or at an angle to the kerb and whether when they were parked was it absolutely necessary to keep the lights on. Alderman Blackall said it was a matter for the police, but he thought the suggestion in regard to the manner of parking was a good one especially in respect to those outside the Town Hall. Return to Ryde Town Council …

23 September, 2023View
20th Century fire fighting

Fire!  The following was taken from ‘Isle of Wight within living memory’ by the IW WI Federation, 1956. Those who remember the year 1904 will also remember the fire at Appley Towers; how the smoke hung like a black pall, how the local baker made dozens of buns, and the pails of hot tea that were taken out to the tired firemen. All the local children were piled into a dogcart to be driven to see the fire. Ryde fire engine was there and others on the way – being horse-drawn, it took some time for them to come from Sandown and Newport. I was watching an old man who had his ear to the ground as if listening. On getting to his feet he saw me and said, “Missie, bend down and tell me what you hear.” I promptly got down, flat on the muddy road. I could hear a dull thud and asked what it was. “That’s Bertie Mearman, coming out from Sandown.” The name was enough! Who did not know the Mearman brothers? Bertie drove four beautifully matched roans in the coach between Sandown and Ryde and now they were hitched to the fire engine. I saw them coming down Marlborough Road flat out, covered with foam. People scattered as they swung through the tall gates, bell clanging, brass-helmeted firemen hanging on for dear life. Thankfully, the fire damage was not extensive that day. William Hutt was captain of the Ryde Fire Brigade. He walked about immaculate in his blue uniform with silver epaulettes, cigar in mouth, slightly over-dined, which caused some titters from the ill-mannered. I am told  he was responsible for Ryde having such a fine fire brigade. After the fire, Captain Hutt formed his own fire brigade. He paid ten men part-time wages and bought a handpump and hose engine which was kept in the stables opposite the Towers. His men were well turned out with long leather boots hand-made by an old shoemaker in Elmfield, well cut tunics and regulation brass helmets. There was a Mission in Brading Road where Captain Hutt drilled his men. When he died in 1909 he left a wish that they were to keep their uniforms – which they …

23 September, 2023View
63rd Light Infantry Militia

63rd, OR ISLE OF WIGHT LIGHT INFANTRY MILITIA Isle of Wight Observer November 6, 1852 63rd Light Infantry Militia We have always viewed the Militia as a very serious thing; and that nothing short of the peril of the nation, should introduce among any section of our fellow-subjects, in their every-day life, martial law. Our apprehensions are by no means allayed, by issuing of the following copy of a hand-bill, which should be attentively perused:- The Queen, having been pleased to order that this regiment of Militia shall, in pursuance of the Act of Parliament now in force, relating to the Militia, be called out for training and exercise, in two detachments: Notice is hereby given, that the first detachment of forty men of the said regiment is to assemble at Newport, in the Isle of Wight aforesaid, on Monday, the first day of November next, to be trained and exercised for the space of twenty-one days; and that the several men who have been sworn and enrolled to serve, are to assemble at the house occupied by the Sergeant-Major of this regiment, No 14, Hearn street, for the purpose of joining the said regiment, at ten o’clock in the morning precisely. And if any Militia men make default in appearing, he be deemed a deserter; and if not taken till after the time of exercise, he will forfeit twenty pounds, or be committed to the house of correction to hard labour, or to the common gaol for the space of six months, or until such time as he shall have paid the said penalty. Given under my hand, this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two. ROBERT B SEWELL, Clerk to the Lieutenancy. Return to 1850s Military …

3 May, 2013View
63rd, OR ISLE OF WIGHT LIGHT INFANTRY MILITIA

Isle of Wight Observer November 6, 1852 63rd Light Infantry Militia We have always viewed the Militia as a very serious thing; and that nothing short of the peril of the nation, should introduce among any section of our fellow-subjects, in their every-day life, martial law. Our apprehensions are by no means allayed, by issuing of the following copy of a hand-bill, which should be attentively perused:-The Queen, having been pleased to order that this regiment of Militia shall, in pursuance of the Act of Parliament now in force, relating to the Militia, be called out for training and exercise, in two detachments:Notice is hereby given, that the first detachment of forty men of the said regiment is to assemble at Newport, in the Isle of Wight aforesaid, on Monday, the first day of November next, to be trained and exercised for the space of twenty-one days; and that the several men who have been sworn and enrolled to serve, are to assemble at the house occupied by the Sergeant-Major of this regiment, No 14, Hearn street, for the purpose of joining the said regiment, at ten o’clock in the morning precisely.And if any Militia men make default in appearing, he be deemed a deserter; and if not taken till after the time of exercise, he will forfeit twenty pounds, or be committed to the house of correction to hard labour, or to the common gaol for the space of six months, or until such time as he shall have paid the said penalty.Given under my hand, this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-two.ROBERT B SEWELL, Clerk to the Lieutenancy. Return to 1850s Military …

19 November, 2022View
A DISAPPOINTED MENDICANT

1860 oddments Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860 A DISAPPOINTED MENDICANT – Any stranger looking at the exterior of the police station of this town would imagine it to be the residence of some old amiable widow lady, or of a retired tradesman, who had accumulated sufficient to carry him to his last long home, and here rested for the remainder of his days. Some such idea as this no doubt occupied the mind of one Richard Gattrell, a beggar-man, who a Sunday or two ago gave a knock at the door, and in a whining tone solicited a few coppers to procure him a night’s lodging. Had the stalwart policeman who opened the door been in his uniform, Gattrell would doubtlessly have inquired the way to Newport or somewhere else, and tried his luck elsewhere; but it so happened that he was in his shirt sleeves, and Gattrell was thrown off his guard. The inquisitive PC having a desire to ascertain if Gattrell was really in distress, or whether he merely wished to possess the few coppers in order that he might get drunk at the expense of the benevolent, invited him in, and introduced him to Serjeant King, who had not doffed his uniform. “Do you know where you are?” was the stern interrogation of the serjeant. “Yes, sir.”, replied Gattrell, “I do now, but if I’d a’known it before I wouldn’t a’come.” “Well, you require a night’s lodging, and we have no objection to accommodate you,” responded the serjeant, “but first let us see what you have in your bundle.” Richard Gattrell’s bundle was overhauled, and in it was found sufficient provender to satisfy any reasonable man for five or six days, and on him was found enough money to deprive him of all excuse for begging. The unlucky mendicant retired to his cell like a true philosopher of the tribe, simply observing “that misfortunes would happen”. In the morning he was introduced to one of our local justices, who sentenced him to be imprisoned in Winchester gaol for seven days, with the addition of hard labour, to which he had evidently not been accustomed. Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860 As soon as the Commissioners of the town have recovered from the panic into which Mr HEARN’S quo warranto bombshell has thrown them, we should like to call their attention to the state of the footway of the Esplanade, with its many holes and uneven state generally, the sharp points of the tar-embedded pebbles producing more exquisite pain to the feet of the incautious pedestrian than we imagine was endured by pilgrims of old, when they were compelled to march a longer or shorter distance with unboiled peas in their shoes. The town felt obliged to the Gas Company at the time for their liberality, but considering the manner the tarry abomination has been applied and its subsequent repairs, it was dear at a gift. We know of more than one thrifty housekeeper whose temper has been soured by finding more of the gaseous produce on her carpets than was agreeable or necessary. Had it been mixed with properly-screened ashes or gravel, it would no doubt have answered the purpose admirably, especially if the surface had been covered to the depth of three or four inches; but the mere flake laid on is worse than useless, as gravel itself would have been better and more easily repaired when Father Neptune thinks proper to arise and laugh at our – in this case at least – most puerile efforts to resist his fury. Isle of Wight Observer 21 July 1860   ST SWITHIN’S REIGN – The anniversary of this saint was this year accompanied with rain, and the prediction of old-fashioned folks, that forty days rain will succeed, seems likely to be verified. Really, this continuation of rain gives a serious aspect to things, not only in an agricultural point of view, but it stops the migration of visitors to the sea side, and consequently makes long faces in the watering-places; indeed, who would leave home, unless forced, while such aqueous weather prevails? Let us hope for better things. A FALSE ALARM – An eccentric gentleman in this town amused himself in the High-street on the night of Monday last, with shouting in a stentorian voice “Fire! Police” to the great alarm of very many quiet and peaceable people who were comfortably in their beds. On a policeman coming up the fears of the inhabitants who had arisen were dispelled, and the uproarious individual was persuaded to go home. It subsequently transpired that our eccentric visitor had come here for the purpose of deriving benefit from the cold water treatment at Dr Weeding’s establishment. The worthy-doctor’s external application of cold water will we should think be of little avail to this gentleman if he continue to apply internally a fluid much more elevating. As this is not the first time this gentleman has amused himself in this manner, if repeated, it may be a question for his friends to decide whether an establishment somewhat different from a hydropathic one would not be more suitable to his complaint. Return to 1860s Odds and …

25 February, 2023View
Royal visits to Ryde 1840s

Visits to Ryde the 1840s and earlier…. September 1817 – A non-visit of the Prince Regent September 1843 – Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visit Ryde. August 1847 – The Queen Dowager takes a suite at the Pier Hotel Return to Royals in Ryde main …

19 November, 2022View
A 1900 ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER

The Isle of Wight Observer – Saturday, December 1, 1900. Cantata: A pretty cantata, entitled “Bundles of Sticks”, was performed on Thursday evening at the George Street Congregational Schoolroom, by the pupils of Hanover House school, (principals the Misses Shaw), in aid of the fund for providing a piano for the Band of Hope. The toys, etc., on the Christmas tree, (part of the staging of the cantata), were afterwards presented to the sick children in the Royal IW County Hospital. The Vectis Cycling Club held a very successful smoking concert at their headquarters, the York Hotel, on Thursday evening. Mr H Sweetman, JP, occupied the chair and presented the attendance prizes won by Messrs T Butcher, Tomkin, J Downer. Several members of the IWCC, Newport, were present, and songs were rendered by: Messrs G Butcher, Priestly, Butcher, H Sweetman, Wyatt, Seal, Hackshaw, Reed, McFarlane and others. Mr Perren presided at the piano. There was a very good audience in the Town Hall on Tuesday evening, when another popular concert organised by the Organ Committee was given. Mr R Yates Mander, the borough organist, kindly gave his services and performed the following solos on the organ in his usual masterly style: March from “Eli”, “Allegro cantabile from Organ symphony”, “Concert fantasia from Scottish melodies”, “Air with variations from the septet”, and the overture, “Le cheval de bronze”. Mrs Gartside-Tipping, (who was in capital voice) kindly favoured with Moir’s “Down the Vale”, and M V White’s “The Spring has come”. Mr Wright Beaumont’s pleasing tenor was heard to advantage in Handel’s “Where’er you walk”, Richardson’s “Mary”, and Galliard’s “With early horn”. Miss Eva Buck is evidently one of the coming violinists of the town. Her first solo was de Beriot’s no 3 of “Trois Bouquets”, and her second German’s “Salterelle”. The audience disregarded the request on the programme not to encore when the last was played and induced Miss Buck to appear again when she substituted a “Serenade” by Saint-Saens. The image below shows the Ryde Town Hall organ in its heyday. Return to …

23 September, 2023View
A Beautiful Spin – 1865

BEAUTIFUL SPIN OF 100 YARDS A Beautiful Spin – 1865 Isle of Wight Observer May 13, 1865 For some time past the sporting fraternity of this celebrated watering place have been deeply interested in a talked-of running match between a tall well-known runner of considerable pretensions and a little kettle-drummer of the Ryde Volunteer battalion band. Monday last was fixed for the contending parties to test their respective abilities, when both lads came to scratch in a condition that reflected the highest credit on their trainers. As they made their preliminary arrangements, never was a greater physical disparity exhibited between two contending parties; but “Little Billy” looked up at his wiry, gigantic antagonist, nothing daunted at his defiant attitude. According to agreement, the professional allowed two yards start, and each youth toed his scratch with the utmost confidence in his flying powers; the backers of both lads betting level. A capital start was effected, the long and rapid strides of the Big-un being the admiration of all who had the pleasure of witnessing such a race; but the “Little Wonder” seemed to possess the advantage of flying in the air and gradually drawing away from his opponent, he came in an easy winner by 4 yards – congratulating his father, who had won a “bob” over the morning’s transaction. The arrangements on the ground were most exemplary – fair play being the order of the day. SPRIGHTLY SPRING – Our town and environs are now decked in Nature’s choicest costume; perfumed with the balmiest scents; and charmed with the song of the mellifluous nightingale and the quaint cuckoo, and the choruses of lesser birds. The foliage of trees and hedgerows is shaded with every imaginable tint of green; the chestnut, the lilac, and the laburnam, vie with the May Queen in scenting the air; so that all is more lovely now than at any other time of year. STORM – After sunset on Monday night electric clouds began to gather in this locality, and about 10 o’clock flashes of lightning were seen. These flashes gradually increased in intensity, until about 2 o’clock on Tuesday morning, when the storm culminated, and for two hours the Island was wrapped in electric flames; the thunder resembled peals of artillery – sounds to which we are accustomed in Ryde – and seemed to shake the heaven and the earth, and most certainly did shake the nerves of both the strong and the weak; at the same time the windows of heaven seemed opened again for a second deluge. As the quarry of Fanaticism has been rather heavily worked in Ryde lately, and the town placarded with bills announcing “the second coming of Jesus”, many deluded folk fell a-praying, and rushed into the streets for help. However, He who rules the storm for the wise purposes of Nature heeded not such exhibitions, but went on with His glorious work – purifying the air, revivifying the earth, and filling the natural reservoirs with the health-giving spring. When will vain and puny man consider himself a link, not the chain? Return to 1860s Military …

4 November, 2023View
A Block in the High Street

Isle of Wight Observer December 27, 1890 A Block in the High Street On Tuesday morning a large waggon, laden with a quantity of straw, was passing through the High-street, and, when near the Catholic Church, the driver had to draw on one side to make room for a passing carriage. In so doing the straw came in contact with an iron rod at Mr Chick’s shop, used for suspending boots upon, and broke it away from the wall, carrying a portion of the wood work with it, and scattering the boots in all directions. Had not Mr Chick been very prompt in putting up his shutters his window would have been broken. It is a mistake to bring heavy loads of such an unwieldy substance as straw through a narrow and crowded street like High-street. John J Chick appears in the 1891 census as a Boot and Shoe Merchant, 138 High Street, Ryde. A RUMOUR – It is rumoured that the York Hotel and Weeks’ Boarding House have been purchased by a company who are about to convert them into a gigantic hydropathic establishment, with baths of all kinds. It is also rumoured that the promoter are in treaty with the owners of Messrs Wallis, Riddett and Down’s old auction room, which will be attached to the other premises, so that there will be two entrances – one in Melville-street and the other in George-street. There is a great need for an establishment of this kind. Last year there was some talk of taking several of the houses in Pier-street, and erecting large swimming, sea water and other baths there, but the scheme was quite a local one, and the capital did not flow in very well, but this later scheme is said to be floating in London, and we wish it every success. Mr R E Macnaughten has obtained a patent (provisional protection) for “an adjustable support, or supports to the back, applicable to all canvas or hammock chairs”. Mr Macnaughten has also registered a chair adapted to this idea. It is called “The Varsity Chair”, and is made by Messrs Matthews, furniture factors, Gloucester. They may be ordered of Mr Jupe, Union-street, Ryde. They are comfortable to a degree. Return to 1890s Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
A Busy Social Whirl

It’s been a busy but very sociable day at Ryde District Heritage Centre and for the volunteers in general…. On Tuesday, November 26, 33 volunteers and significant others gathered together at Ryde Castle Hotel for a social evening together. The group was delighted that HRS President Gloria Minghella, and husband Ed were able to join us, following Gloria’s major surgery earlier in the year. This was the first time Gloria had felt well enough to venture out since her operation, and everyone was thrilled to see them both! It was a lovely evening. On Wednesday, November 27, there were two more social events! In the morning, as small group from Ryde Lions had a tour of the Heritage Centre and a coffee morning event as a social gathering! Ryde Lions President, and HRS members Barry Jehan and his wife had been in Dubai twenty-four hours previously, and found things slightly chilly on their return home, but still found the time to come down to the Centre and meet up with friends and say ‘Hello! We’re back!’ The group spent a couple of hours in the Centre and were agreeably entertained by volunteers Peter, Molly and Sally-Ann. If you belong to a similar group which would be interested in a visit, please get in touch. In the evening, Tony, Brian, Vic and Diana opened the Centre for a visit from eighteen members of the 41 Club. Based in Cowes, the 41 Club are former Rotarians, who have monthly meetings, visiting sites of interest across the Island. All were fascinated by the ice well and the stories of the 19th century ice trade, which HRS hopes to be able to bring to the fore once the rooms have been brought up to a suitable standard. The 41 Club invited the four to join them for dinner at Yelf’s Hotel, and donated £50 to the ongoing work at the Heritage Centre. Historic Ryde Society is very grateful to Ryde Lions and the 41 Club for their interest and support of the group and what we are doing for Ryde and the Island in general. Return to …

29 July, 2023View
A circus comes to town in 1860

The American Circus Isle of Wight Observer August 25 1860 A circus comes to town in 1860 By dint of puffing on an extensive scale, the public were led to believe that the equestrian troupe of Messrs Howes and Cushing, introduced into the Island during the past week, would be of surpassing excellence; and further, a fac simile of a Spanish procession to a bull fight was to parade the streets in order to enliven the natives. Well, the thing turned out as genuine a piece of “Yankee cram” as can well be conceived. As to the out-of-door pageant, it was calculated to elicit feelings of pity, rather than of pleasure, for bipeds and quadrupeds all appeared fairly “used up”; and the tawdry “properties” with which they were bedecked ought not to have been submitted to the vulgar gaze of daylight, while the semi-nudity of many of the females had anything but a pleasing effect. The horses, too, looked sadly in need of grooming; and, in a town like Ryde where there are such numerous good turn-outs that point of itself would have stamped the concern as poverty-stricken. The entertainment in the circus was of the most ordinary, not to say mean, kind; and may be classed amongst the failures. The veritable Mr Rarey also failed to redeem the affair, as there was no vicious animal to be obtained for him to illustrate his powers of taming; but we guess he would have had practise in another direction had he stopped for one more night, that is, in subduing the vox populi which was becoming rather loud from disappointment in the equestrian performances. Return to Leisure in the 1860s …

3 May, 2013View
A dangerous event on the Railway

Entering a Train in Motion Isle of Wight Times February 14, 1878 A dangerous event on the Railway COUNTY POLICE COURTTUESDAY – Before J Coape, Esq., (in the chair), T Leach, Esq., and Capt. Young.George Beazley, taxidermist, High-street, Ryde, was charged by the Isle of Wight Railway company with getting into a train whilst in motion on Sunday, 27th ult. – Mr Wooldridge appeared for the complainant, and from his statement, and the evidence of George Corbett, Brading Station-master, Godshill, the guard, and Wyatt, goods guard, it appeared that defendant was liable to a 40s penalty. Defendant indulged in a rather common practice, fraught with danger, and occasioning trouble to officials, who often had to risk their lives. Defendant came up the line, and with George Brading and Mr Marks, got out at Brading, at 8.38pm. They spoke to some females at the waiting room. The station-master asked if they were going on. Defendant said no. The train started. Defendant made a rush into a carriage, but while partly in, Brading endeavoured to pull him back. The station-master prevented this, and had to run the length of the platform to shut the door. But for the train going slowly, the station-master feared all would have been down. – Defendant said Brading asked him to tell his wife he shouldn’t be home that night. But for his being out of town, Brading would have been present as a witness. – Fined £1, with 7s 6d costs. Return to 1870s Railway page Return to main Railway …

3 December, 2022View
A disappointed mendicant and other tales…

1860 oddments Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860 A DISAPPOINTED MENDICANT – Any stranger looking at the exterior of the police station of this town would imagine it to be the residence of some old amiable widow lady, or of a retired tradesman, who had accumulated sufficient to carry him to his last long home, and here rested for the remainder of his days. Some such idea as this no doubt occupied the mind of one Richard Gattrell, a beggar-man, who a Sunday or two ago gave a knock at the door, and in a whining tone solicited a few coppers to procure him a night’s lodging. Had the stalwart policeman who opened the door been in his uniform, Gattrell would doubtlessly have inquired the way to Newport or somewhere else, and tried his luck elsewhere; but it so happened that he was in his shirt sleeves, and Gattrell was thrown off his guard. The inquisitive PC having a desire to ascertain if Gattrell was really in distress, or whether he merely wished to possess the few coppers in order that he might get drunk at the expense of the benevolent, invited him in, and introduced him to Serjeant King, who had not doffed his uniform. “Do you know where you are?” was the stern interrogation of the serjeant. “Yes, sir.”, replied Gattrell, “I do now, but if I’d a’known it before I wouldn’t a’come.” “Well, you require a night’s lodging, and we have no objection to accommodate you,” responded the serjeant, “but first let us see what you have in your bundle.” Richard Gattrell’s bundle was overhauled, and in it was found sufficient provender to satisfy any reasonable man for five or six days, and on him was found enough money to deprive him of all excuse for begging. The unlucky mendicant retired to his cell like a true philosopher of the tribe, simply observing “that misfortunes would happen”. In the morning he was introduced to one of our local justices, who sentenced him to be imprisoned in Winchester gaol for seven days, with the addition of hard labour, to which he had evidently not been accustomed. Isle of Wight Observer 19 May 1860 As soon as the Commissioners of the town have recovered from the panic into which Mr HEARN’S quo warranto bombshell has thrown them, we should like to call their attention to the state of the footway of the Esplanade, with its many holes and uneven state generally, the sharp points of the tar-embedded pebbles producing more exquisite pain to the feet of the incautious pedestrian than we imagine was endured by pilgrims of old, when they were compelled to march a longer or shorter distance with unboiled peas in their shoes. The town felt obliged to the Gas Company at the time for their liberality, but considering the manner the tarry abomination has been applied and its subsequent repairs, it was dear at a gift. We know of more than one thrifty housekeeper whose temper has been soured by finding more of the gaseous produce on her carpets than was agreeable or necessary. Had it been mixed with properly-screened ashes or gravel, it would no doubt have answered the purpose admirably, especially if the surface had been covered to the depth of three or four inches; but the mere flake laid on is worse than useless, as gravel itself would have been better and more easily repaired when Father Neptune thinks proper to arise and laugh at our – in this case at least – most puerile efforts to resist his fury. Isle of Wight Observer 21 July 1860   ST SWITHIN’S REIGN – The anniversary of this saint was this year accompanied with rain, and the prediction of old-fashioned folks, that forty days rain will succeed, seems likely to be verified. Really, this continuation of rain gives a serious aspect to things, not only in an agricultural point of view, but it stops the migration of visitors to the sea side, and consequently makes long faces in the watering-places; indeed, who would leave home, unless forced, while such aqueous weather prevails? Let us hope for better things. A FALSE ALARM – An eccentric gentleman in this town amused himself in the High-street on the night of Monday last, with shouting in a stentorian voice “Fire! Police” to the great alarm of very many quiet and peaceable people who were comfortably in their beds. On a policeman coming up the fears of the inhabitants who had arisen were dispelled, and the uproarious individual was persuaded to go home. It subsequently transpired that our eccentric visitor had come here for the purpose of deriving benefit from the cold water treatment at Dr Weeding’s establishment. The worthy-doctor’s external application of cold water will we should think be of little avail to this gentleman if he continue to apply internally a fluid much more elevating. As this is not the first time this gentleman has amused himself in this manner, if repeated, it may be a question for his friends to decide whether an establishment somewhat different from a hydropathic one would not be more suitable to his complaint. Return to 1860s Odds and …

8 May, 2013View
A Fact…

Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 A correspondent writes as follows: The inhabitants of St John’s and Oakfield were thrown into a state of consternation in the early hours of Tuesday, the 21st inst., by the report that a man was hanging by the neck from the halyards of the flag pole belonging to Mr Waite of the Falls of Niagara. the police were communicated with but, on their arrival, decided that an inquest was not necessary as, on examination, the suspicious object proved to be a bust of the Grand Old Man. How it got there has not been ascertained, but two well-known members of the Radical Party were observed leaving the place of execution about midnight on Monday. What has the GOM done to incur the displeasure of the Liberal Party to be thus served? Mr Waite very carefully took the bust into his house, but parted with the same in the afternoon to a gentleman in High Park and advised him to place it in his garden, with a warranty that no Isle of Wight slug would live within 100 yards of it. William Gladstone was known affectionately as the ‘Grand Old Man’ or, according to Disraeli, ‘God’s Only Mistake’. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
A fright in Bellevue Road – 1887

Isle of Wight Observer October 8 1887 A fright in Bellevue Road – 1887 A FRIGHT – People should be careful as to the figures in which they cut the plants in their gardens. On Monday evening a young girl going through that somewhat dark and lonely street, Bellevue-road, saw, as she thought, a huge man, with out-stretched arms, leaning over a wall to grasp her. She was so frightened that she screamed and fainted. The occupants of a neighbouring house ran out to see what was the matter, and found the girl insensible on the pavement. They took her indoors, and it was some little time before she recovered. It seemed a tree in the garden had been trimmed in the manner some people affect. A round ball of foliage at the top looked not unlike a head, and two branches at the side presented the appearance of outstretched arms. The swaying of the tree by the wind, and the girl’s vivid imagination did the rest. By the way, the Corporation are to a certain extent responsible for the poor girl’s fright, for the town had been badly lighted during the past week, many streets having been left in total darkness. To be sure the moon was expected to shine, but, with her proverbial inconsistancy, she declined to do so. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
A GRACEFUL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Ryde Working Men’s Rowing Club Isle of Wight Observer September 18 1886 On Saturday evening three members of the Ryde Working Men’s Rowing Club paid a visit to Miss Brigstocke, at Stonepitts. After thanking her for all she had done for the club, and stating that, but for her kindness in presenting them with a rowing galley, they could not have taken part in the coast regattas and won so many prizes, they begged her to accept the most valuable prize they had won – a silver model of a galley, with Vectis engraved on the bow, which they had won at Southsea. Miss Brigstocke accepted the gift, and expressed herself highly gratified. BICYCLE RACES – It has been a matter of regret to a considerable number that there have been no bicycle races this season, as these have been heretofore very attractive. The Vectis Cycling club have, however, been unable to raise sufficient funds, and we would suggest to lovers of cycling the propriety of taking matters early in hand and endeavouring to raise sufficient to carry out one race meeting before the dark days of winter set in. If all the wheelmen in Ryde and neighbourhood would give 2s 6d each, something could be done, and this would doubtless encourage those of the general public who are fond of cycling races, to subscribe too. At all events we hope the season will not be allowed to slip quite by without a race meeting, or at least an effort to arrange one. AMATEUR ART SOCIETY – We understand that the above society will hold its seventh annual exhibition in the Odd Fellows’ Hall, on the 24th, 25th and 26th of November next. Members intending to exhibit should send a list of their works to the hon secretary, Sir William Levinge, Sutherland Lodge, St John’s Park, not later than the 10th of November. HELP FOR THE BLIND – We are pleased to learn that a committee has been formed (consisting of Gen Carr Tate, Dr Johnstone, and Capt Hessman), for the purpose of aiding the indigent blind in the Isle of Wight. The work is conducted by a blind colporteur, whose duty it is to call on, and instruct those who are desirous of learning to read Moon’s raised letters, also chair caning, music &c. Funds are much needed to efficiently carry on this work, and any contributions will be thankfully received by any of the committee, or by the blind colporteur. We are informed that there are no less than 60 blind persons in the island. Return to 1880s Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
A holiday incident

Isle of Wight Observer April 8, 1893 A holiday incident On Monday afternoon a milk cart, belonging to Mr G W Lake, was left standing unattended in the road near Upton, when something startled the horse, which started off at a good pace. One of the wheels of the cart ran upon the bank at the side of the road, and the milk and the pans were thrown out. The noise they made startled the animal still more, and he came through the main streets of the town at his top speed. Crowded as the streets of the town were with holiday-keepers, it is a matter for thankfulness that no one was run over. In the High Street the cart came in collision with one of Mr Paul’s traps opposite Mr Mear’s shop. The shaft of the cart was broken, and considerable damage was done to the trap. Miss M F Fowles and one or two of her friends were in the trap, and though fortunately they were not much hurt, they were naturally very much frightened. The collision, however, checked the horse’s speed, and he was soon afterwards stopped in Cross Street. He had knocked the cart to pieces, and considerably cut his hind legs by his escapade. On Saturday afternoon about forty cyclists, belonging to the City of London Cycling Club, came over to Ryde and passed up the Pier. They were a very respectable looking body of men, and their bicycles were all of the latest design, with pneumatic tyres. After mustering in Lind Street, they started on the road to Cowes, having received permission to inspect Osborne and its grounds. Accident to Mr E Sweetman CC – Mr E Sweetman, CC, had rather an unpleasant experience on Easter Monday. He was getting into his dinghy with the intention of going out to his yacht, when the boat lurched, capsized, and Mr Sweetman was thrown into the water over 15ft deep. Fortunately, Mr Sweetman is a fairly good swimmer and he was soon rescued, not much the worse for his unexpected dip. George Lake was a farmer living at Gatehouse, Upton Road, Ryde. George Mears was a baker and confectioner at 145 High Street. Harry Paul was a carrier, and probable owner of the trap bearing the unfortunate ladies. At the time of this incident all three gentlemen were in their mid-twenties. Margaret F Fowles, a teacher of Music and Singing, who lived at 34 Argyll Street, was in her late forties. Return to Street stories …

18 February, 2023View
A LIVELY SCENE…

Isle of Wight Times August 20, 1871 ….was witnessed on the Ryde Beach on Tuesday. A horse-boat arrived with three fine fat bullocks, and on trying to land them, the three “gentlemen” became unruly, fell overboard, and struck off seaward. The boat was immediately in pursuit, and after an exciting chase, one was hauled on board, and the other two were lashed to the stern of the boat, and with great difficulty brought to land. The beach was lined with spectators who appeared to enjoy the event as a capital spree. Return to 1870s Odds and …

17 June, 2023View
A municipal library in the offing?

Rumours of a library for Ryde – 1878 Isle of Wight Observer December 7, 1878 Ryde Town Council – a meeting of the Council will be held on Tuesday afternoon. The following is the agenda: To receive reports from the Finance committee with bills for payment; the Public Works committee, the Water committee and the Cemetery committee, and to affix the seal to mortgages to the Alliance Assurance Company for £3750 and £1190 and any other document requiring the common seal; Mr Councillor Spencer to move – That in the opinion of this council it is desirable to establish a library and free reading room for the Borough, and that the Mayor is required to call a public meeting for the purpose of adopting the Public Libraries Act. (In the event, the Observer of Saturday, December 28th, states: ‘A motion made by Mr Spencer that the town should take advantage of the Free Libraries Act was negatived by the Council at a recent meeting.’) The Result of Strikes – We were talking to Mr Austin, sen., at the Pier Gate the other day, when a nautical-looking man came up, and asked for certain information. He would have delighted the heart of Thomas Carlyle, for he evidently believed in the golden nature of silence, and did not waste a word. He had just brought in his vessel off the sands, and the following is something like the conversation that occurred: “What are you loaded with?” “Iron.” “What for?” “Railway bridge here.” “Where have you brought it from?” “Atwerp.” “You don’t mean to say you have brought all that iron from Anwerp! What does this mean?” Captain, more laconically than ever: “Strikes.” The latter monosyllable gave a key to the whole mystery. The continued strikes in England have sent the price of iron up such an extent that those carrying out the railway improvements here actually find it is cheaper for them to actually find their iron from Antwerp than of their own countrymen in England! We hear that they are making over in Antwerp cheaper than can be obtained from any English firm. £75 can be saved on each engine by having them from abroad. A chance for the charitable – We are sorry to find that a very old tradesman of the town, Mr Knight, stationer, of Pier-street, is sadly in need of assistance. He has attained a very great age, and recently falling ill, he was compelled to close his shop. He has since been obliged to keep to his bed, and is greatly in need of assistance. We believe that kind-hearted gentleman, the Rev W M Harrison, is ready to received subscriptions towards aiding Mr Knight, who is one of our oldest tradesmen. ASHEY MISSION CHAPEL – The first service at this little chapel took place on Thursday evening. Return to Ryde Town Council …

3 December, 2022View
A NEW INVENTION

Isle of Wight Observer – May 13 1876 A NEW INVENTION We are pleased to say that our ingenious townsman, Mr Edward Harris, has just patented a new contrivance for securing envelopes in such a manner as to render it absolutely impossible to open them, when once sealed, without breaking the envelope. The contrivance is extremely simple: a hole is made in the envelope into which the point of that part which folds over is inserted, and a small piece of gum secures it inside, as well as in the ordinary way. It is quite impossible to open the envelope without tearing it. Mr Harris is now manufacturing a number of these envelopes for His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, and we should imagine they would be generally adopted by all who desire to secure privacy in their correspondence. COST OF THE FORTIFICATIONS AT SPITHEAD An official return issued within the last few days gives a statement of the cost of the forts around the Island. From this document we find that the total amount expended on Horse Sand Fort, Spit Bank, and No Man’s Land Forts, up to the time when the return was made, was £929,557; Puckpool and St Helen’s, £108,042; Gillkicker Battery, £58,703. The total sum for the forts of the Portsmouth station was £2,373,900. Return to 1870s Odds and …

21 October, 2023View
A new library for Ryde?

Isle of Wight Observer December 7, 1878 Ryde Town Council – a meeting of the Council will be held on Tuesday afternoon. The following is the agenda: To receive reports from the Finance committee with bills for payment; the Public Works committee, the Water committee and the Cemetery committee, and to affix the seal to mortgages to the Alliance Assurance Company for £3750 and £1190 and any other document requiring the common seal; Mr Councillor Spencer to move – That in the opinion of this council it is desirable to establish a library and free reading room for the Borough, and that the Mayor is required to call a public meeting for the purpose of adopting the Public Libraries Act. (In the event, the Observer of Saturday, December 28th, states: ‘A motion made by Mr Spencer that the town should take advantage of the Free Libraries Act was negatived by the Council at a recent meeting.’) The Result of Strikes – We were talking to Mr Austin, sen., at the Pier Gate the other day, when a nautical-looking man came up, and asked for certain information. He would have delighted the heart of Thomas Carlyle, for he evidently believed in the golden nature of silence, and did not waste a word. He had just brought in his vessel off the sands, and the following is something like the conversation that occurred: “What are you loaded with?” “Iron.” “What for?” “Railway bridge here.” “Where have you brought it from?” “Atwerp.” “You don’t mean to say you have brought all that iron from Anwerp! What does this mean?” Captain, more laconically than ever: “Strikes.” The latter monosyllable gave a key to the whole mystery. The continued strikes in England have sent the price of iron up such an extent that those carrying out the railway improvements here actually find it is cheaper for them to actually find their iron from Antwerp than of their own countrymen in England! We hear that they are making over in Antwerp cheaper than can be obtained from any English firm. £75 can be saved on each engine by having them from abroad.  A chance for the charitable – We are sorry to find that a very old tradesman of the town, Mr Knight, stationer, of Pier-street, is sadly in need of assistance. He has attained a very great age, and recently falling ill, he was compelled to close his shop. He has since been obliged to keep to his bed, and is greatly in need of assistance. We believe that kind-hearted gentleman, the Rev W M Harrison, is ready to received subscriptions towards aiding Mr Knight, who is one of our oldest tradesmen. ASHEY MISSION CHAPEL – The first service at this little chapel took place on Thursday evening. Return to Ryde Town Council …

23 September, 2023View
A new library for Ryde? 1878

A municipal library in the offing? Isle of Wight Observer December 7, 1878 Ryde Town Council – a meeting of the Council will be held on Tuesday afternoon. The following is the agenda: To receive reports from the Finance committee with bills for payment; the Public Works committee, the Water committee and the Cemetery committee, and to affix the seal to mortgages to the Alliance Assurance Company for £3750 and £1190 and any other document requiring the common seal; Mr Councillor Spencer to move – That in the opinion of this council it is desirable to establish a library and free reading room for the Borough, and that the Mayor is required to call a public meeting for the purpose of adopting the Public Libraries Act. (In the event, the Observer of Saturday, December 28th, states: ‘A motion made by Mr Spencer that the town should take advantage of the Free Libraries Act was negatived by the Council at a recent meeting.’) The Result of Strikes – We were talking to Mr Austin, sen., at the Pier Gate the other day, when a nautical-looking man came up, and asked for certain information. He would have delighted the heart of Thomas Carlyle, for he evidently believed in the golden nature of silence, and did not waste a word. He had just brought in his vessel off the sands, and the following is something like the conversation that occurred: “What are you loaded with?” “Iron.” “What for?” “Railway bridge here.” “Where have you brought it from?” “Atwerp.” “You don’t mean to say you have brought all that iron from Anwerp! What does this mean?” Captain, more laconically than ever: “Strikes.” The latter monosyllable gave a key to the whole mystery. The continued strikes in England have sent the price of iron up such an extent that those carrying out the railway improvements here actually find it is cheaper for them to actually find their iron from Antwerp than of their own countrymen in England! We hear that they are making over in Antwerp cheaper than can be obtained from any English firm. £75 can be saved on each engine by having them from abroad.  A chance for the charitable – We are sorry to find that a very old tradesman of the town, Mr Knight, stationer, of Pier-street, is sadly in need of assistance. He has attained a very great age, and recently falling ill, he was compelled to close his shop. He has since been obliged to keep to his bed, and is greatly in need of assistance. We believe that kind-hearted gentleman, the Rev W M Harrison, is ready to received subscriptions towards aiding Mr Knight, who is one of our oldest tradesmen. ASHEY MISSION CHAPEL – The first service at this little chapel took place on Thursday evening. Return to Ryde Town Council …

21 April, 2013View
A New Musical Society – 1858

Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1858 A New Musical Society for Ryde – 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. Return to 1850s leisure …

23 September, 2023View
A New Musical Society for Ryde – 1858

New Musical Society Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1858 A New Musical Society for Ryde – 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. Return to 1850s leisure …

3 May, 2013View
A New Operatic Society for Ryde – 1928

Issues for Ryde Town Council – 1928 Isle of Wight Times February 16, 1928 Sunday Rehearsals – Councillor Hayden asked the Chairman of the Parks and Amusements Committee if it was true that a rehearsal took place in the Eastern Pavilion on the Sunday evening preceding the performances of the New Ryde Operatic Society and whether it was done with the knowledge of the committee. He also asked whether the chairman was responsible for the  boards placed round the Gardens upon which had been pasted a political party’s bills? Councillor Chiverton, the Chairman, replied that it was quite news to him so far as the rehearsal was concerned and the second question also. No member of the Council would suggest they would allow political bills to appear there (hear hear). The Mayor said that following on the second question the Town Clerk received a complaint about the posters and he instructed him to remove them or cover them over as it was not a thing they would allow there (hear hear). Putting Green – Councillor Green asked if the committee proposed to provide a shelter for ladies and children who patronised their popular Putting Green this summer, and if not, why not? The Mayor said they must cut their coat according to their cloth and personally he thought that they had gone as far as they could in spending money during the last few years (hear hear). He would however, bring it before the committee to discuss, but he considered they should mark time for a little while so as to save money and reduce the rates if possible (hear hear). Parking Regulations – Councillor Pollard asked the chairman of the General Purposes Committee whether regulations concerning the parking of motor cars could be amended so that they were parked side by side or at an angle to the kerb and whether when they were parked was it absolutely necessary to keep the lights on. Alderman Blackall said it was a matter for the police, but he thought the suggestion in regard to the manner of parking was a good one especially in respect to those outside the Town Hall. Return to …

11 March, 2023View
A New Year′s Hope

Isle of Wight Observer – January 05 1861 AN ACROSTIC By Frederick Augustus Lewis A  while from worldly thoughts will strayN  ow let us think what’s pass’d away:E  ‘en a year forever rolled;W  here ’tis gone I will unfold:Y  onder through the wintry skyE  ‘en to God that year did fly’A  book of thought and actions doneR  evealed that year when it was run!S  how mercy to your fellow men;-H  eaven will bless the new year then.O h! seek for more than worldly gain;-P  ity the Poor, relieve their pain;E  ‘en God will give to you again.1861. IMPROMPTU ON NEW YEAR’S DAY 1861 We start afresh on life’s rough way,On this, another New Year’s day;May joy be ours; may peace attendEach step, as on our path we wend. We cannot tell how it may close;We know not what its joys or woes;But “hope” our watchword, on we pace;The path as yet we cannot trace. We would not darken up our roadBy picturing o’er our head a cloud;But rather seek to cheer our wayWith happy hearts, and footsteps gay! HOPE EVER. Return to Poetry …

25 February, 2023View
A NOVEL LAUNCH

Isle of Wight Observer October 22 1864 On Tuesday morning one of Mr Oakley’s large vans, weighing about three-and-a-half tons, filled with furniture belonging to Mr Ellison, was about to be embarked on board one of the United Company’s tow-boats, from the slipway near the end of the pier which has a gradient of 1 in 12. Now any one with the least mechanical knowledge will see that a counteracting force greater than the united strength of four men would be necessary to accomplish that job successfully. But, like all of the traffic arrangements on the pier during the present year, no precaution beyond skidding one of the wheels was taken; consequently the van overpowered the conductors, and was launched into the deep. The damage must be considerable, and is variously estimated from £10 to £500; and considering that amongst the damaged articles were a valuable library of antiquarian books, a sixty-guinea clock supported by dolphins which got into their native element at last, &c., the latter seems nearer the amount than the former. Which of those grossly mismanaged companies will be the victim? We should advise that this slipway should be locked up, like the crane, until a proper superintendent be chosen. Henry Ellison was an author and poet, who was born in Flintshire, in 1811, and died in Kensington in 1880. At the time of the 1861 census, he was living on Appley Rise, Ryde. Some of his work can be read here. Return to 1860s Odds and Ends page Return to 1860s Pier …

22 October, 2022View
A Penny Savings Bank

Isle of Wight Observer January 5 1861 We are informed that several respectable persons intend establishing a penny savings bank in Ryde as soon as the necessary preliminary arrangements are dispensed with. A public meeting will be shortly convened at the Town-hall to procure members, and to consider the best manner of conducting the business of this provident bank towards making it as beneficial, useful, and convenient to those who may join it as possible. The step has our most hearty concurrence, and we hope some of our more wealthy residents will come forward and lend a helping hand in forming it, and relieve those who put by their trifles of as much expense as is possible of what will be incurred in starting it. This sort of thing has been attended with marked success in every town in England where it has been introduced, and we see no reason why it should not be of the like good service in this place. It will teach the working classes, who become subscribers to it, carefulness, and curb any little extravagance that may before have been indulged in through having such an institution as this about to be formed wherein to deposit their surplus earnings. Further particulars will be given in our next issue. Isle of Wight Observer January 19 1861 In a recent number, we noticed that it was in contemplation to establish a Penny Savings Bank in Ryde; and now we have the pleasure of informing our readers that the thing is progressing as favourably as can be expected, considering how very difficult it is to secure a sufficiently large number of persons for a committee of management, whose punctuality in attendance may always be relied on, and who should be expert with their pens whilst the deposits are being received. On Friday, the 11th instant, E G Bass, esq., at a preliminary meeting held for the purpose, went at considerable length into the subject of Penny Banks, showing how admirably adaptable they are to the wants of the poor in affording facilities for the smallest deposits, and how well calculated to foster provident habits, and induce a practice of saving small sums which in the summer season are too often thoughtlessly squandered, but which in the winter months would be acceptable, especially when labour fails, or sickness prevents the father of a family following his usual occupation. Mr Bass laid before the meeting much interesting statistical information, with reference to the towns where these banks have been established – the date of their formation – the number of depositors and the amount taken on the first night – the number of accounts opened up to the 30th of September, 1859, – the sums paid in and the balance in hand to that date &c., from which it appeared that the total number of banks was about 184 – the accounts opened 150,999 – the amount paid in £107,225 – sums withdrawn £62,461 – leaving a balance in favour of depositors of £44,793. These and other statistics, he said, were obtained from H Clarke’s Penny Bank Circular, No 3. We shall take an early opportunity of recurring to the subject, when the organisation of the Penny Bank is somewhat more matured. Isle of Wight Observer June 1 1861 At the first quarterly meeting of the general committee of this institution, held on Thursday, the 23 ult., E G Bass, Esq, in the chair – a statement was made of the operations of the bank, showing that it had met with a success much greater than its promoters could reasonably have anticipated. Although established but three months, and open only one evening in the week, there have been 646 depositors, who have paid in £150 11s 0d. Much credit is due to the gentlemen engaged in its management, and whose services it should be remembered are entirely gratuitous; and we do hope our readers will not fail to use their best efforts to induce their poorer neighbours to avail themselves of the facilities they now have of laying by, weekly or as often as they can, a  small sum towards creating a fund for themselves to fall back upon when failure of work or other unforeseen contingencies may arise. It should be generally known that sums from one penny to five shillings may be deposited at one time,  and that the total deposits of any one person must not exceed ten pounds. Interest in the rate of 2 1/2% or sixpence in the pound per annum, is allowed when the sum deposited amounts to one pound and is left in the bank for six months. Return to 1860s Odds and …

25 March, 2023View
A rewarding weekend!

A great deal of hard work by HRS Chair Liz, and a lot of standing around selling tickets by Erica and Lesley helped raise £600 over the weekend! The Grand Voucher raffle was supported by thirty businesses around Ryde, to all of whom HRS is very grateful. Vouchers included meals out, flower offers, hairdressing opportunities, and money off a disco event! The weekend also saw the return of the increasingly popular Antique and Collectors’ Fair in the Masonic Hall, John Street, on Sunday. Thanks to Theresa and her team in the kitchen, and Lorna for manning a pretty chilly doorway in the morning! Also included in the total is a contribution from Ryde Business Association, whose popular Father Christmas grotto enthralled nearly 100 children over the Dickensian weekend. Father Christmas will return to the grotto every Saturday and Sunday in the lead up to Christmas. Tickets cost £3.50 per child, of which £1 will be donated to HRS. The cost of the ticket does not include a tour of the Heritage Centre for all rabbit’s friends and relations, however! 😀 Well done everybody! A good weekend’s work. Return to …

29 July, 2023View
A Royal non-visit…

The Morning Chronicle September 1, 1817 The expected honour of a visit from the Prince Regent is given up for the present, on account of the boisterous state of the weather. However, should the weather prove favourable, his Royal Highness is expected here in about a fortnight. This place continues very well filled with company, Lord Henly, his family, and several others of the Nobility and persons of distinction are here. Earl Spencer derives great benefit for his health from cruises at sea. The Noble Earl has in consequence hired a yacht at the rate of ten guineas a week, and frequently sails in her. On Monday he went as far as the Needles, and was only gone five hours; he arrived at his house here soon after five o’clock to dinner. We had a storm here on Tuesday, owing to the wind blowing a very strong gale from SE, which lasted from about half past ten o’ clock till past one. The rain sometimes fell in torrents. No vessel could get out of Portsmouth, the wind and tide setting full against them; the dashing waves against the Royal Hospital for Seamen were seen distinctly from here, although it is seven miles across. They appeared to reach nearly the top of that stupendous building, and had the appearance of great bodies of smoke. The waves here reached the windows of the first floor of some of the houses, and of course flooded the lower parts. It was considered one of the strongest seas ever known at this time of the year, nearly equal to those that take place at the latter end of autumn, or the beginning of the winter season. Return to Royals in Ryde in the 1840s page …

22 October, 2022View
A Runaway in Union Street

Isle of Wight Observer May 4 1895 A Runaway in Union Street On Tuesday morning, about 11 o’clock, one of Messrs Chaplin’s horses attached to a trolly was coming down the High Street. When opposite Mr Duffett’s, something seems to have startled the animal, which commenced kicking, breaking one of the shafts. The driver managed to alight and seize the reins, and made a plucky attempt to stop the horse, but was unsuccessful. It first dashed into a Victoria in charge of Mr Stephens, jun, knocking the fore wheels off, and damaging the springs, but happily did not injure the horse much. The runaway then proceeded at a stretch down Union Street. Painters were at work on ladders outside Mr Lowe’s premises, and on one of these ladders a painter (E Woodnutt, well known as a football player), was at work 30 feet or so from the ground. Woodnutt fortunately saw the danger, and, as the horse dashed into, and knocked down the ladder he was working on, managed to spring upon a neighbouring parapet, thus escaping a serious accident. A light trap belonging to Mr Tuffley, of Bembridge, was also knocked all to pieces. It was in charge of a young man who had come in to execute various commissions, and was loaded with provisions, which were scattered all over the street. There was a little girl in the cart, and she was thrown out with such violence that some of the bystanders, thinking she was seriously hurt, carried her across to Mr Gurnell, the chemist, where it was son ascertained that she was quite unhurt. The runaway having collided with, and knocked down and smashed the lamp column in front of Yelf’s Hotel, and also damaged another further down the street, eventually overturned the trolly while turning into Pier Street near Mr Guy’s shop, and fell down. The horse was then resecured, and taken to the stable, where it was found that it had received little injury. It is a miracle that more damage was not done, for the street was unusually brisk, many carriages having just started for the races, &c. Return to Street stories …

18 February, 2023View
A Runaway in Union Street

Isle of Wight Observer May 4 1895On Tuesday morning, about 11 o’clock, one of Messrs Chaplin’s horses attached to a trolly was coming down the High Street. When opposite Mr Duffett’s, something seems to have startled the animal, which commenced kicking, breaking one of the shafts. The driver managed to alight and seize the reins, and made a plucky attempt to stop the horse, but was unsuccessful. It first dashed into a Victoria in charge of Mr Stephens, jun, knocking the fore wheels off, and damaging the springs, but happily did not injure the horse much. The runaway then proceeded at a stretch down Union Street. Painters were at work on ladders outside Mr Lowe’s premises, and on one of these ladders a painter (E Woodnutt, well known as a football player), was at work 30 feet or so from the ground. Woodnutt fortunately saw the danger, and, as the horse dashed into, and knocked down the ladder he was working on, managed to spring upon a neighbouring parapet, thus escaping a serious accident. A light trap belonging to Mr Tuffley, of Bembridge, was also knocked all to pieces. It was in charge of a young man who had come in to execute various commissions, and was loaded with provisions, which were scattered all over the street. There was a little girl in the cart, and she was thrown out with such violence that some of the bystanders, thinking she was seriously hurt, carried her across to Mr Gurnell, the chemist, where it was sson ascertained that she was quite unhurt. The runaway having collided with, and knocked down and smashed the lamp column in front of Yelf’s Hotel, and also damaged another further down the street, eventually overturned the trolly while turning into Pier Street near Mr Guy’s shop, and fell down. The horse was then resecured, and taken to the stable, where it was found that it had received little injury. It is a miracle that more damage was not done, for the street was unusually brisk, many carriages having just started for the races, &c. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

23 September, 2023View
A running match

Long Shanks and Electric Spark Isle of Wight Observer March 27 1869 A running match On Thursday morning, at 7 o’clock, a considerable number of persons assembled to witness a race down the pier, and up the tramway to the pier gate. The runners were known as “Long Shanks”, one of the toll collectors at the pier, and “Electric Spark”, the messenger at the telegraph office. Stakes 10s. Both parties had been in training for some time. The betting was two to one in favour of Long Shanks, as it was considered if he could only take two strides to Electric Spark’s three, he must win. A capital start was made. It was soon seen, however, that young lightning was too brisk for his opponent, having out-distanced him in the first 200 yards, so that Long Shanks, seeing the hopelessness of arriving at the winning post, cooly dropped out of the race, and dropped his half-sovereign at the same time. Young lightning kept running on as fast as though his opponent had been within two or three yards, instead of at the other end of the pier. HE accomplished the whole distance in 5 1/2 minutes. Long Shanks reached the pier gates about ten minutes afterwards, and as a soother to his backers, treated them to rolls and coffee, at Boyce’s. He declared to his supporters that he would win for them yet. We, however, take the liberty to doubt the truth of his assertion. Long Shanks is, in fact, no match for his light-weighted opponent. We may, however, suggest that when “Freddy Spencer” returns from college, a more equal match could be made, provided Freddy could find backers. From our Sporting …

25 February, 2023View
A Town Crier for Ryde

Town Crier for Ryde Isle of Wight Observer October 5 1861 A Town Crier for Ryde 1861 This new officer of the town of Ryde commenced his duties on Tuesday morning last in St Thomas’ -square by crying a sale. He was dressed rather smartly in an invisible-blue coat with scarlet collar and cuffs and bright buttons, belt, hat, and gold band. HIs utterance, however, did not seem to us very effective, but this, we are told, he will improve in on overcoming a little strangeness and shyness. His tutors might with good effect also attend to another peculiarity he indulges in, viz., his very liberal use of the letter h in such places where, according to Dr Johnson and other pedantic makers of dictionaries, it is not required. WATER SUPPLY – The first water was pumped into the reservoir at Ashey from Knighton on Saturday last, Sept 28. The quantity of water supplied from the ponds is considerably over 100,000 gallons daily pumped in at the rate of 70 gallons per minute. The Commissioners are now able to give the town a three hours’ supply daily, instead of every other day as was the case prior to the Knighton water being obtained. PUTTING THEIR FEET INTO IT – On Sunday night several immaterial accidents happened at Swanmore, which might, however, have been attended by more serious consequences from the same cause. It appears that some owner of property there had occasion to open a drain or lay on a service pipe, and left the excavation open without any protection around it. The result was that four or five persons stepped into it on coming out of church on Sunday night in the dark, and amongst them a lad, who was severely bruised. The individual who thus jeopardised the limbs of Her Majesty’s devout subjects should know that he has, by this neglectful conduct, incurred a penalty under the Ryde Improvement Act, and doubtlessly he will hear from the Board of Commissioners concerning it. First sewing machine, 1861 and typewriter in Ryde 1876 Isle of Wight Times April 20, 1876 WRITING BY MACHINERY – After sewing machines, the Americans have now brought out a writing machine, and one of these was on view at the establishment of Mr Gelling, ironmonger, of this town, a few days ago. With such a machine, a man may get over two or three letters in the time now occupied in penning one. The work performed, however, partakes more of the nature of printing than writing. On touching different keys in a row a lever is made to raise a letter against an inked ribbon and then on to the paper, where it leaves its impression. As soon as a line is finished the machine moves the paper so as to commence another. Although the machine is not perfection, and its work is far inferior to that of an ordinary printer’s machine, it is calculated to suit the purposes of many, if its figure (25gs) suits their pockets. Isle of Wight Observer July 13 1861 It will be seen by an advertisement in another column that a gentleman is now exhibiting a sewing machine at Mr Wavell’s. This highly useful modern invention will sew, hem, stitch, gather, &c., and with such rapidity as will astonish the most expert needle workers. We advise our readers to pay this “Lock Stitch Sewing Machine” a visit, for not to know what one is like, now the thing has become so popular, is as bad as not knowing whether the sun sets in the west or the east. This is an example of a very early sewing …

26 August, 2023View
A Town Crier for Ryde 1861

Town Crier for Ryde Isle of Wight Observer October 5 1861 A Town Crier for Ryde 1861 This new officer of the town of Ryde commenced his duties on Tuesday morning last in St Thomas’ -square by crying a sale. He was dressed rather smartly in an invisible-blue coat with scarlet collar and cuffs and bright buttons, belt, hat, and gold band. HIs utterance, however, did not seem to us very effective, but this, we are told, he will improve in on overcoming a little strangeness and shyness. His tutors might with good effect also attend to another peculiarity he indulges in, viz., his very liberal use of the letter h in such places where, according to Dr Johnson and other pedantic makers of dictionaries, it is not required. WATER SUPPLY – The first water was pumped into the reservoir at Ashey from Knighton on Saturday last, Sept 28. The quantity of water supplied from the ponds is considerably over 100,000 gallons daily pumped in at the rate of 70 gallons per minute. The Commissioners are now able to give the town a three hours’ supply daily, instead of every other day as was the case prior to the Knighton water being obtained. PUTTING THEIR FEET INTO IT – On Sunday night several immaterial accidents happened at Swanmore, which might, however, have been attended by more serious consequences from the same cause. It appears that some owner of property there had occasion to open a drain or lay on a service pipe, and left the excavation open without any protection around it. The result was that four or five persons stepped into it on coming out of church on Sunday night in the dark, and amongst them a lad, who was severely bruised. The individual who thus jeopardised the limbs of Her Majesty’s devout subjects should know that he has, by this neglectful conduct, incurred a penalty under the Ryde Improvement Act, and doubtlessly he will hear from the Board of Commissioners concerning it. First sewing machine, 1861 and typewriter in Ryde 1876 Isle of Wight Times April 20, 1876 WRITING BY MACHINERY – After sewing machines, the Americans have now brought out a writing machine, and one of these was on view at the establishment of Mr Gelling, ironmonger, of this town, a few days ago. With such a machine, a man may get over two or three letters in the time now occupied in penning one. The work performed, however, partakes more of the nature of printing than writing. On touching different keys in a row a lever is made to raise a letter against an inked ribbon and then on to the paper, where it leaves its impression. As soon as a line is finished the machine moves the paper so as to commence another. Although the machine is not perfection, and its work is far inferior to that of an ordinary printer’s machine, it is calculated to suit the purposes of many, if its figure (25gs) suits their pockets. Isle of Wight Observer July 13 1861 It will be seen by an advertisement in another column that a gentleman is now exhibiting a sewing machine at Mr Wavell’s. This highly useful modern invention will sew, hem, stitch, gather, &c., and with such rapidity as will astonish the most expert needle workers. We advise our readers to pay this “Lock Stitch Sewing Machine” a visit, for not to know what one is like, now the thing has become so popular, is as bad as not knowing whether the sun sets in the west or the east. This is an example of a very early sewing …

8 May, 2013View
About us

About Historic Ryde Society Giving Ryde’s past to the Future Historic Ryde Society was formed in October, 2009 by a group of people interested in the history of our town. We come from many walks of life and share a wish to see Ryde’s fascinating history on display for locals and visitors. Mission Statement Historic Ryde Society is a non-profit making group which aims to raise funds for a permanent heritage centre in Ryde, to help future generations see, understand and appreciate the history of our town. Founding Members of the Society Liz Belcher Robert Bullivant Wayne Jones Claire Kay Erica Manley Gloria Minghella Tony Packer Lynne Phillips Geoff Scott Diana …

5 April, 2013View
Accessibility Statement

Accessibility Statement of Historic Ryde Society Our designer’s philosophy is that our website should be easy for anyone to use, whatever their method of internet access. CSS Historic Ryde Society has been designed using CSS. No tables or frames of any kind have been used in the design of this website. Our style sheets should accommodate any browser, including those used by mobile devices. Text sizes All text has a relative font size which means you can re-size the text at any time if you want to. Standards compliance All pages on this site are WCAG AA approved, meeting all Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints. In some areas the website will meet Priority 3 checkpoints, but saying that it is nearly impossible to produce a website that is 100% accessible. All pages on this site validated as strict XHTML 1.0, and valid CSS 2.1 All pages on this site use structured semantic markup. H1 tags are used for main headings,  H2 tags for sub-headings and H3 tags for sub-sub-headings. Navigation aids For those using screen readers we offer a skip link as a shortcut for users who want to skip the content and go straight to the navigation. Link text is written to make sense out of context. Many links have title attributes to describe the links in greater detail. All photographs and graphics on the site have Alt attributes to describe what they are or what they do. Links open in the same window with the exception of links to PDF and Word documents – which open in new windows. Access keys We only use one access key that is for our site map. Apart from that we don’t use access keys. To explain why not, we recommend that you read Nomensas article. Contact us If you experience any kind of problem when using this website or you have any other feedback we will be glad to hear from you. Please e-mail admin@historicrydesociety.com or write to: Historic Ryde Society, Ryde District Heritage Centre, Royal Victoria Arcade, Union St, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 …

8 October, 2022View
Accessibility Statement of Historic Ryde Society

Our designer’s philosophy is that our website should be easy for anyone to use, whatever their method of internet access. CSS Historic Ryde Society has been designed using CSS. No tables or frames of any kind have been used in the design of this website. Our style sheets should accommodate any browser, including those used by mobile devices. Text sizes All text has a relative font size which means you can re-size the text at any time if you want to. Standards compliance All pages on this site are WCAG AA approved, meeting all Priority 1 and 2 checkpoints. In some areas the website will meet Priority 3 checkpoints, but saying that it is nearly impossible to produce a website that is 100% accessible. All pages on this site validated as strict XHTML 1.0, and valid CSS 2.1 All pages on this site use structured semantic markup. H1 tags are used for main headings,  H2 tags for sub-headings and H3 tags for sub-sub-headings. Navigation aids For those using screen readers we offer a skip link as a shortcut for users who want to skip the content and go straight to the navigation. Link text is written to make sense out of context. Many links have title attributes to describe the links in greater detail. All photographs and graphics on the site have Alt attributes to describe what they are or what they do. Links open in the same window with the exception of links to PDF and Word documents – which open in new windows. Access keys We only use one access key that is for our site map. Apart from that we don’t use access keys. To explain why not, we recommend that you read Nomensas article. Contact us If you experience any kind of problem when using this website or you have any other feedback we will be glad to hear from you. Please e-mail admin@historicrydesociety.com or write to: Historic Ryde Society, Ryde District Heritage Centre, Royal Victoria Arcade, Union St, Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 …

8 April, 2023View
Accident in the Strand

Isle of Wight Observer December 1 1860 Accident in the Strand An accident occurred on the Strand on Friday afternoon at a house in the course of erection by Mr Meader. It appears that four labourers, each carrying a hod of stones, ascended the scaffolding in  immediate succession, and were standing in a cluster waiting to disburden themselves of their loads, when a putlog that supported the boards on which they were standing snapped asunder and precipitated them below on a heap of scraggy unhewn stones. A mason who also stood on the boards was fortunate enough to grasp a course of stone which projected from the wall to form a moulding, and hung there until assistance was rendered him. The other four fell, but were almost miracously saved from any serious injuries, escaping with a few bruises about the head and the body, which at the worst will only keep them out of work for a week or so. The height of the scaffold from the ground at the spot where they fell is about 25 feet, a distance one would think sufficient in itself to cause greater injuries than in this case were sustained, for when we look at the heap of stones on which they fell, the stones, boards, poles, hods, &c., that came down with and upon them, it is perfectly astonishing that they escaped with life at all. Their hods were smashed and split up like laths, as were some of the boards from the weight of stones that fell upon them. The putlog, it seems, was by no means decayed, but at the place where it snapped the grain was curly through a knot running near it, and thus its breaking is easily accounted for. No provision can be made for such accidents, although Mr Meaderin erecting this scaffold was particularly careful, as he always has been, never once having had an accident before. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
Adrian Searle – Churchill’s Last Wartime Secret

For more than 70 years, it was officially known that no German force set foot on British soil during World War Two (the Channel Islands excepted), on active military service. Captivating an audience of over 40 HRS members and guests, Adrian Searle had revealed on Wednesday 16th November Night Talk details from his recent book about the remarkable story of the 1943 seaborne German raid  on an Isle of Wight radar station.Adrian Searle – Churchill’s Last Wartime Secret  Adrian Searle …

16 December, 2023View
Advertising Ryde

Advertising Ryde Isle of Wight Observer May 13, 1899 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – I have some idea that a committee was once formed to advertise Ryde, but what they have done I do not know. Of course, before we ask people to live in Ryde, we should provide accommodation for them. However, “that is another story”. A friend of mine has been roused to action by a paragraph in your late issue re Ventnor advertising. He suggests a small book illustrated with wood cuts and with letterpress stating the advantages of the place, shooting clubs, golf clubs, hunting, cricket clubs, race fixture (Ashey), social clubs, yacht clubs, football clubs, coursing clubs, rowing and sailing clubs, &c., to be sent to different hotels at home and abroad, and that if nicely got up the proprietors will be only too glad to put it on the tables of the public sitting rooms. His opinion is not unbacked, as he proposes if others assist to contribute £20 to the funds of such object. Of course, hotel accommodation is a serious consideration to visitors. – It would be useful to know what assistance we may expect in that quarter, from the owners of Hotels, &c. Yours respectfully, J F C Hamilton Spencer Lodge, Ryde, May 8th, 1899 NB – The idea roughly is to have in a book well bound a photograph illustrating each of our clubs and attractions, and opposite short descriptive letterpress. Ryde Pier Season Tickets Dear Sir, – The Brighton Pier Company meets the wants of the many by issuing season tickets as below: For 12 months, at £1 1s; for 6 months, at 12s; for 3 months, at 7s; and it “pays”, in consequence. The Ryde Pier Company meets the wants of the few by issuing only annual season tickets, and it doesn’t “pay”. This would seem to point to the looseness of a “screw” in the management of the latter company, to which your screw-driver might be applied with prospect of advantage to both the public and the Pier Company. Yours truly, ANNUAL VISITOR Gloucester House, 10th May, 1899 Return to 1890s Letters …

26 May, 2013View
Advertising Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer May 13, 1899 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – I have some idea that a committee was once formed to advertise Ryde, but what they have done I do not know. Of course, before we ask people to live in Ryde, we should provide accommodation for them. However, “that is another story”. A friend of mine has been roused to action by a paragraph in your late issue re Ventnor advertising. He suggests a small book illustrated with wood cuts and with letterpress stating the advantages of the place, shooting clubs, golf clubs, hunting, cricket clubs, race fixture (Ashey), social clubs, yacht clubs, football clubs, coursing clubs, rowing and sailing clubs, &c., to be sent to different hotels at home and abroad, and that if nicely got up the proprietors will be only too glad to put it on the tables of the public sitting rooms. His opinion is not unbacked, as he proposes if others assist to contribute £20 to the funds of such object. Of course, hotel accommodation is a serious consideration to visitors. – It would be useful to know what assistance we may expect in that quarter, from the owners of Hotels, &c.Yours respectfully,J F C HamiltonSpencer Lodge, Ryde, May 8th, 1899NB – The idea roughly is to have in a book well bound a photograph illustrating each of our clubs and attractions, and opposite short descriptive letterpress. Ryde Pier Season TicketsDear Sir, – The Brighton Pier Company meets the wants of the many by issuing season tickets as below: For 12 months, at £1 1s; for 6 months, at 12s; for 3 months, at 7s; and it “pays”, in consequence. The Ryde Pier Company meets the wants of the few by issuing only annual season tickets, and it doesn’t “pay”. This would seem to point to the looseness of a “screw” in the management of the latter company, to which your screw-driver might be applied with prospect of advantage to both the public and the Pier Company.Yours truly,ANNUAL VISITORGloucester House, 10th May, 1899 Return to 1890s Letters …

26 August, 2023View
Advice for the Hospital

Isle of Wight Observer March 19 1870 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer  Mr Editor, I enclose you a simple and inexpensive recipe for preventing the spread of contagion, hoping that you will insert it in the Observer, as this method is the one in use in the Austrian Military hospitals. Take as much gunpowder as will lie on a fourpenny piece, put it into an iron spoon or small vessel, then place on the powder a piece of live coal out of the fire. The fumes of this will purify the air and ought to be used twice a day, both in and outside the sick room. Care must be taken not to take the powder flask near the fire.Hoping this remedy may be followed both in the Ryde Infirmary and elsewhere,I am &cHUMANITY LOOK OUT FOR YOUR LARDERS We last week reported a daring robbery on the Strand. Another such operation has proved successful at a house in Spencer-road, where a party had been given and in consequence there was a larger quantity of cold victuals than usual in the pantry, which the thieves managed to get safely away. RYDE PETTY SESSIONS COUNTY BENCHTuesday: before T Leach Esq (chairman); Le Marchant Thomas Le Marchant Esq; Col the Hon Somerset J G Calthorpe, and Major AtherleyBREAKING THE ISLE OF WIGHT RAILWAY COMPANY’S BYE-LAWSWilliam Tollervey pleaded guilty to a charge of breaking the above company’s bye-laws by falling out of one of their carriages while in a state of inebriety, on the 10th inst. defendant at the same time stating that he had only imbibed fourpenny worth of brandy, but that was too much for his weak nerves.The Bench reminded defendant that had he been killed or injured the probability is that the company may have been called on for compensation, and fined him 10s, and costs, which was immediately paid. Return to 1870s Letters …

25 March, 2023View
Alarm of Fire

Isle of Wight Times February 12 1868 As most of our readers are no doubt aware there is no evening service in St Thomas’ Church, and on Sunday evening last, a few minutes after six o’clock, and just as people were thronging the streets on their way to the different churches and chapels throughout the town, an alarm was raised that St Thomas’ Church was on fire in the interior. It appears that at the time mentioned William Rashley, one of the vergers, entered the building for the purpose of fetching a prayer book belonging to Mrs Kirkpatrick, which had been left there in the morning. As soon as he opened the vestry door he found that the church was completely filled with smoke. He immediately closed the door again, and ran to Mr Buckett’s house for the purpose of raising the alarm and obtaining the assistance of Mr Langdon and the fire brigade, who were commissioned without loss of time. Buckett meanwhile entered the building along with Rashley, when they discovered that the floor of Mrs Bloxam’s pew, on the north-east corner of the building, and next to the pew belonging to the late Miss Player, was all in a blaze. They immediately got the fire buckets belonging to the church, and with some water they found in the vestry managed to keep the fire under until the arrival of Langdon with the hose reel. An abundant supply of water was then obtained from the pipes, and the fire was soon after entirely extinguished. It appears the building is usually heated by hot air pipes, and there can be no doubt that the wood work, although about six inches distant from the pipe, became at length so dry that the heat from the pipe ignited it. There had been service in the building during the afternoon, when the pipes were heated as usual. The fire must have been communicated to the wood work early in the day, and then continued to burn for some hours after the church had been closed. It was a most fortunate circumstance that the verger entered the building at the time he did, for in another half-hour the flames must have spread rapidly, and before it could have been observed from the outside, most probably it would have obtained such a hold upon the building, that all chance of checking it would have been lost. Although all danger seemed to be at an end shortly after the arrival of the fire brigade, they took the wise precaution of remaining in the church during the night, as it was not impossible that some hidden fire was yet smouldering underneath some portion of the floor.St Thomas’ Church was erected in 1827, by George Player, Esq., the Lord of the Manor, and although it is not a very beautiful structure, being in fact a species of bastard gothic, devoid of much architectural elegance, many old residents of Ryde would have much regretted its destruction. Against the wall, close to the spot where this fire originated, is the marble tablet inscribed to Thomas Player, erected so far back as the year 1719. ANOTHER FIRE. SUSPECTED CASE OF ARSON. On Saturday night, a wooden structure that stands in the piece of ground known as “Cutler’s Field”, and which has been in the possession of George James, chimney sweeper, who used it as a place for storing soot, was completely destroyed by fire, together with several bushels of soot. There is a small tool house adjoining, in which it is supposed the fire originated, and we regret to learn that there is strong reason for supposing some incendiary has been at work. The shed, which was constructed of wood, cost about £9; but the most serious loss is the soot, the value of which, for agricultural purposes, we have been given to understand was upwards of £20. Some tools and agricultural implements to the value of £5 or £6 have also been consumed. Mr Langdon, of the fire brigade, on hearing of the disaster, hastened to the spot, but he saw at a glance that nothing could be done to save even a portion of the property, as the whole was consumed in about three-quarters of an hour. The police have been making enquiry, but up to the present time they have obtained no clue as to who was the perpetrator of this most wanton and malicious injury to the property of a poor industrious working man. Return to Fire-fighting …

11 March, 2023View
Alterations at the Pier Hotel

Observer April 20 1889 ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER APRIL 20 1889 THE ALTERATIONS AT THE PIER HOTEL – When it was announced that the Royal Pier Hotel had been acquired by Hotel Metropole Company, and would be managed by Mr GORDON, it was at once prophesied that the place would cease to be the slumberously-comfortable though always highly respectable place of by-gone times, and would be fitted up and managed in a style more in consonance with modern ideas. The correctness of this prophesy was demonstrated at the beginning of the year, when contracts were entered into to raise the roof, increase the size of the bedrooms (some of which had rather low ceilings), to improve the stairs and the means of exit in case of fire, and to entirely repaint and refurnish the whole premises. Mr J BARTON, of Ryde, although competing against London firms, succeeded in obtaining the contract for the building operations, and started on the 26th of January. As the place had to be reopened again on the 13th of April, he had very little time. It is very creditable to our townsman that he carried out the contract to the minute, and gave great satisfaction by his energy. After the roof had been raised, the bedrooms enlarged, the staircase improved, and the internal building arrangements completed, the place was handed over to a small army of painters, decorators, upholsterers, &c., and the result was that punctually to time, viz., by Saturday morning last, Mr GORDON, the manager was in a position to bid the public “come on”, fully prepared to let 50 beds. The bedrooms are now lofty and exceedingly comfortable in appearance. The ventilation of the rooms is perfect; the furniture, carpets and fittings, are superb, and in Messrs MAPLES least style. The best arrangements for coping with an outbreak of fire, and for supplying hot and cold water all over the house, have been adopted. The cooking stove in the kitchen is the largest in the Island, and the means for communicating one’s wishes are novel and effective. Nothing is wanting which can add to the comfort and convenience of those who visit the hotel, and the extent of the alterations thus briefly sketched may be judged from the fact that they have cost £5000. Messrs WOODS have supplied the ironwork and Messrs PURNELL the beds, the rest of the fittings have been supplied by London firms. We are not surprised to learn that the hotel is full, and no doubt the managers at the Hotel Metropole do not neglect their many opportunities for putting in a good word for their hotel at …

5 November, 2022View
Amusements of Officers and Gentlemen

Isle of Wight Observer June 23, 1855 Officers and Gentlemen are amused AMUSEMENTS OF “OFFICERS AND GENTLEMEN” – Ryde was introduced on Sunday evening last to a scene of rare occurrence here, which greatly shocked the feelings of our demure inhabitants as they were flocking to their respective places of worship. About half-past five a party of military gentlemen hired each a Bath Chair. Seated in which, instead of being dragged, each became a steersman, propelled by a chairman behind. Ranged in a row, they started a race through Pier-street, up Union-street and High-street, to the Star inn, making a series of gyrations and evolutions, and occasionally collisions, on the way, highly gratifying to a large assemblage of boys in the rear. Thanks to the IW County Record Office for permission to use this image Return to 1850s Military …

19 November, 2022View
Amy Johnson’s connection with the Isle of Wight

HRS member Anne Grant has done much research regarding Amy’s connection with the Isle of Wight. 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Amy’s time flying into Ryde Airport with Portsmouth, Southsea and Isle of Wight Aviation Ltd. Anne says: ‘Amy and Jim Mollison at Ryde Airport. Amy landed on more than one occasion at Ryde Airport on the Isle of Wight, with her record breaking aviator husband Jim Mollison. Lionel Balfour, who with some business partners including the legendary air circus pilot Sir Alan Cobham, started the ‘Spithead Express’ air ferry service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Pioneering entrepreneur Lionel started Ryde Airport.’ The link to the page on Anne’s website, can be found here. Return to …

26 July, 2014View
Amy Johnson’s connection with the Isle of Wight

HRS member Anne Grant has done much research regarding Amy’s connection with the Isle of Wight. 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of Amy’s time flying into Ryde Airport with Portsmouth, Southsea and Isle of Wight Aviation Ltd. Anne says: ‘Amy and Jim Mollison at Ryde Airport.Amy landed on more than one occasion at Ryde Airport on the Isle of Wight, with her record breaking aviator husband Jim Mollison. Lionel Balfour, who with some business partners including the legendary air circus pilot Sir Alan Cobham, started the ‘Spithead Express’ air ferry service between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Pioneering entrepreneur Lionel started Ryde Airport.’ The link to the page on Anne’s website, can be found here. Return to …

21 October, 2023View
An Eccentric Artiste

Isle of Wight Observer April 1, 1893 M Pachmann’s conduct was eccentric enough when he paid a visit to Ryde a week or so ago. When he came on the platform and sat down and commenced running his fingers up and down the keys. “Bah! Nairvous,” he exclaimed, “Put dem lights down!” He waited for a second and began again, but, as none of those composing the front seats of audience seemed to think it their duty to jump on the platform and extinguish the gas, he shouted “Veel no von put out ze gas?” Eventually the hall keeper came, and there was some distraction caused by his mounting chairs, and then the gas was extinguished. The gifted player even then seemed anything but tranquil, and once when he apparently did not touch the correct note he said “sac-r-r-ree-e-e-e!” in a very audible tone of voice. Then he quieted down and managed to get through a difficult passage to his satisfaction, and looking around as if to say “What do you think of that?” caught the eye of a lady who smiled and nodded. That put him in a good humour. He played to that lady the rest of the evening. Chopin’s music flowed dreamily from the piano, quite a new revelation to many, and the audience warmly applauded. Pachmann was all right after that. His face beamed, and after the performance he favoured the local manager with a stage embrace. “Oh, I do like ze Ryde people,” he said enthusiastically, “They is ze nicest people I play to for very long time.” At Southsea, however, he was in a very bad humour. The Portland Hall was not crowded, and they applauded in the wrong places, and we understand he was so much annoyed that he threw in a little musical instruction gratis. After playing very softly and sweetly, he informed them “Zat ees piano, and this (he added, giving a tremendous crash at the keys) is forte.” But all this was capped by what he has just done at Weston-Super-Mare. He was recalled after a piece of Paderewski’s, and in announcing the title of his encore piece he is reported to have said, “Paderewski is de most modest artiste dat I have never (sic) seen; I myself am de most unmodest artist except Hans von Bulow. He is more unmodest zan I am.” Vladimir Pachmann (1848 – 1933), an acknowledged top player of the time,  was renowned for his eccentric style. Wikipedia reveals that George Bernard Shaw once reported that Pachmann ‘gave his well-known pantomimic performance, with accompaniments by Chopin.’ Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
An electric Tramway

Isle of Wight Observer May 10, 1884 AN ELECTRIC TRAMWAY – We understand that the directors of the Ryde Pier Company have recently paid a visit to Brighton, and have inspected the electric railroad there. They have been so much impressed with the advantages of an electric railroad that they have determined to get rid of the locomotive they at present use, and to substitute electricity. The gain would be great in many respects. They would entirely get rid of the locomotive, and the tramway would only have the weight of the cars, while the electricity would be generated by a gas engine at the shore end of the Pier. We are assured by a director that the cost of the new system would be considerably less than that of the present locomotive. Isle of Wight County Press November 14, 1885 THE PIER TRAMWAY – We understand that the Pier company have entered into a contract with Messrs Siemens for the construction of an electric tramway which will be completed in about three months’ time. This will enable a greater number of journeys to be made at about the same  cost as that of the present horse tram. The building formerly in the occupation of Mr Evans as a fancy and news stall will be transferred to the land end of the pier and utilised as an engine house for the generation of the electric current. Isle of Wight Times November 19, 1885 AN ELECTRIC RAILWAY FOR THE PIERThe Ryde Pier Company may now be said to have entered on a new policy, the directorate having thoroughly made up their minds to do all they can to improve their property and make it attractive to the public, and in their endeavours in this direction we wish them every success. By the middle of January we hope to be able to announce the fact that an electric railway on the pier is an accomplished fact. This will be a step in the right direction. The work of constructing an electric railway on the pier, in place of the tram drawn by horses, has been entrusted to Messrs Siemens Brothers, the great electrical engineers of Woolwich, who are confident of success. The Ryde Pier Company will then be the first to have an electric railway for the conveyance of passengers in England. The late Sir William Siemens had a scheme for working the underground railways in London by electricity, and had he lived, it would have been carried out. The length of the pier is about half-a-mile, and as there are no curves, no better site could have been chosen for an electric railway. When completed it cannot fail to be a great attraction to Ryde, for hundreds of persons will be interested in its working. It is proposed to remove the glass house at the bottom of the pier to the top, and in which will be fixed the machinery, a 12 horse power Otto gas engine by Crossley Bros., and a dynamo. From the dynamo there will be a “lead” running along the side of the tramway properly insulated. On the side of the car will be fitted a collector which will take up the primary current, and conduct it to the motor underneath the car which is coupled with the driving wheels. The return current will pass through the present rails, and no alteration will be required in them except making the necessary connections. There can be no question that this will be a great improvement on the present system of drawing the tram by horses, which give such an unpleasant jerk at starting, and also of the steam car, which made an unpleasant rattle, and was also too heavy for the pier. We congratulate the directorate on taking this step, and believe it will be the forerunner of future prosperity to the pier, and of course it must necessarily follow too increased prosperity to the town of Ryde. Return to Ryde Pier in the 1880s …

21 October, 2023View
An evening at Ashey races with Tony Gale

 A good crowd turned out on a cold and wet September evening to hear local   historian Tony Gale transport us all to the races at Ashey and around the Island. It  was a fascinating talk, with wonderful images of a bygone era, and we were entertained to learn that the Ashey event was the most corrupt in the country – possibly because of the machinations behind the copse when out of view of the stewards! The lovely photographs showed many of the lovely fashions of the turn of the 20th century, when the class divide was alive and kicking! Many thanks to Tony for his wonderful research and delivery. The evening was introduced by Historic Ryde Society (HRS) Chair Liz Jones, who brought the members up to date with recent events and happenings in the Heritage Centre and for the Society. HRS currently has a strong membership, made up of 93 Individual memberships, 55 family memberships and 16 corporate memberships. Our new membership secretary Ro, will now take the membership forward on a rolling basis, so people can join at any time of the year, rather than the February cut-off currently in place.Liz reminded everyone of the opportunity of raising funds for the Society through the online shopping easyfundraising site, accessible via the HRS homepage link. We’ve now raised over £220 at no cost to anyone! Keep on buying, everyone! Using easysearch as a search engine, when supporting HRS, raises 0.5p per search….every little helps, as the supermarket says….The two Astronomic evenings last week raised £251 for funds, and a harp and sitar recital, and a 70s/80s disco night are the next two events for the diary, following on from the September quiz on Thursday, Sept. 26.The RBA Father Christmas grotto will once again be held in the Heritage Centre. More details in due course.Lastly, there are now four photoboards out in the community for people to enjoy a bit of free fun, courtesy of James from the Donald Mcgill postcard museum, and Historic Ryde Society. These boards are proving unbelievably popular, and in August alone, raised £250. Since they were first made two years ago, they’ve brought in over £1100! Fabulous! Return to …

15 July, 2023View
An evening at Ashey races with Tony Gale

 A good crowd turned out on a cold and wet September evening to hear local   historian Tony Gale transport us all to the races at Ashey and around the Island. It  was a fascinating talk, with wonderful images of a bygone era, and we were entertained to learn that the Ashey event was the most corrupt in the country – possibly because of the machinations behind the copse when out of view of the stewards! The lovely photographs showed many of the lovely fashions of the turn of the 20th century, when the class divide was alive and kicking! Many thanks to Tony for his wonderful research and delivery. The evening was introduced by Historic Ryde Society (HRS) Chair Liz Jones, who brought the members up to date with recent events and happenings in the Heritage Centre and for the Society. HRS currently has a strong membership, made up of 93 Individual memberships, 55 family memberships and 16 corporate memberships. Our new membership secretary Ro, will now take the membership forward on a rolling basis, so people can join at any time of the year, rather than the February cut-off currently in place.Liz reminded everyone of the opportunity of raising funds for the Society through the online shopping easyfundraising site, accessible via the HRS homepage link. We’ve now raised over £220 at no cost to anyone! Keep on buying, everyone! Using easysearch as a search engine, when supporting HRS, raises 0.5p per search….every little helps, as the supermarket says….The two Astronomic evenings last week raised £251 for funds, and a harp and sitar recital, and a 70s/80s disco night are the next two events for the diary, following on from the September quiz on Thursday, Sept. 26.The RBA Father Christmas grotto will once again be held in the Heritage Centre. More details in due course.Lastly, there are now four photoboards out in the community for people to enjoy a bit of free fun, courtesy of James from the Donald Mcgill postcard museum, and Historic Ryde Society. These boards are proving unbelievably popular, and in August alone, raised £250. Since they were first made two years ago, they’ve brought in over £1100! Fabulous! Return to …

26 August, 2023View
An evening at Ashey races with Tony Gale

 A good crowd turned out on a cold and wet September evening to hear local   historian Tony Gale transport us all to the races at Ashey and around the Island. It  was a fascinating talk, with wonderful images of a bygone era, and we were entertained to learn that the Ashey event was the most corrupt in the country – possibly because of the machinations behind the copse when out of view of the stewards! The lovely photographs showed many of the lovely fashions of the turn of the 20th century, when the class divide was alive and kicking! Many thanks to Tony for his wonderful research and delivery. The evening was introduced by Historic Ryde Society (HRS) Chair Liz Jones, who brought the members up to date with recent events and happenings in the Heritage Centre and for the Society. HRS currently has a strong membership, made up of 93 Individual memberships, 55 family memberships and 16 corporate memberships. Our new membership secretary Ro, will now take the membership forward on a rolling basis, so people can join at any time of the year, rather than the February cut-off currently in place.Liz reminded everyone of the opportunity of raising funds for the Society through the online shopping easyfundraising site, accessible via the HRS homepage link. We’ve now raised over £220 at no cost to anyone! Keep on buying, everyone! Using easysearch as a search engine, when supporting HRS, raises 0.5p per search….every little helps, as the supermarket says….The two Astronomic evenings last week raised £251 for funds, and a harp and sitar recital, and a 70s/80s disco night are the next two events for the diary, following on from the September quiz on Thursday, Sept. 26.The RBA Father Christmas grotto will once again be held in the Heritage Centre. More details in due course.Lastly, there are now four photoboards out in the community for people to enjoy a bit of free fun, courtesy of James from the Donald Mcgill postcard museum, and Historic Ryde Society. These boards are proving unbelievably popular, and in August alone, raised £250. Since they were first made two years ago, they’ve brought in over £1100! Fabulous! Return to …

4 November, 2023View
An evening with Tracy Edwards MBE

Please note this event will now be rescheduled during 2015. More details in due course. On a date yet to be confirmed, Tracy Edwards MBE will give an after-dinner talk on her ground-breaking, all female, ‘Maiden’ voyage. 25 years after the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Tracy has recently launched a successful project to bring the yacht back to the UK from the Middle East. Tracy says: ‘Maiden transcended sailing because it wasn’t just about getting girls on the water. It was much more than that – it was about breaking moulds and proving that anything was possible.’ If you would like to come along and hear all about this wonderful project, which will be used to benefit children and sailing across the country, tickets for this event, @ £39, are now on sale at: Splash, Union Street, Ryde – 01983 616257The Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Fishbourne – 01983 882325Pascall Atkey & Son, High Street, Cowes – 01983 292381Harwoods of Yarmouth – 01983 760258Bembridge Sailing Club – 01983 872237 Return to …

4 November, 2023View
An extraordinary incident

Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties Isle of Wight Observer March 11 1854 An extraordinary incident occurred off Ryde on Friday last, the particulars concerning which will enable any person to form some faint idea of what a sea fight will be. On the morning in question, Mr Fowles, the marine painter of Ryde, accompanied by his son and another lad, went off in a boat towards Spithead to take a sketch of the fleet, and when he arrived abreast of them near Sands-head, five of the ships opened a tremendous cannonade, the shots flying about in all directions – above, below, and around him. Mr Fowles describes the scene as terrific. At first, he could see the balls, about the size of a man’s head, issue from the cannon’s mouth, tearing through the air towards him with a tremendous oscillation, similar to that of a locomotive; then pitching into the water, tearing it up, and throwing it into columns of 30 feet high; then bounding an immense height into the air, pitching again, and so on, until it became spent, when it would plunge down, carrying with it a white streak of air, which would throw up thousands of bubbles. As the firing proceeded, the smoke increased, through which he could see the balls continually flying out, expecting that each one would send the boat and all it contained to “Davy Jones’s Locker”. This scene lasted about 20 minutes, and was watched with intense anxiety by hundreds of people on shore who assemble daily when the cannonading commences. Mr Fowles, therefore, has probably a better idea now for painting a sea fight than any living artist, which he intends to turn to account. This is a painting of the 1864 Ryde Regatta by A W Fowles. Biographical details for A W Fowles can be found here. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

27 May, 2013View
An Improvement in the High Street

Isle of Wight Observer October 26, 1895 An Improvement in the High Street Mr E Sweetman, sen, is to be congratulated upon the great improvement he has effected in the architectural appearance of High Street by the erection of the handsome hotel on the site of the old Eagle Tavern, for so many years associated with Lake’s Eagle Brewery. Now that the building is finished and the hoarding removed, the handsome front of white brick and cement dressings is very generally admired. It is all Ryde work, the architect being Mr J I Barton and the builder Mr Isaac Barton. The interior arrangements are most convenient and effective. There is an extremely handsome bar; and a private side bar, divided from the bar proper by a screen of coloured glass, which effectially prevents anyone in the public bar seeing those in the private bar. The fittings of the bar are of oak and teak, carved in a manner which does MR Barton infinite credit. When illuminated with the Wenham incandescent burners, which have been fitted, the bar will look extremely attractive from the street at night. Upstairs are a large commercial room, commodious sitting room, bath room and numerous bedrooms, all fitted with electric bells and every modern convenience. Messrs Coombes, of Cross Street, are furnishing the hotel throughout. Return to Ryde Streets …

5 May, 2013View
An Incautious Landlord

Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 Ryde Petty Sessions – Borough Bench – Monday – Before the Mayor (Ald J Barton), Aldermen Colenutt, Captain Daubuz, Professor Simonds and Dr Davey. Joseph Jones, landlord of the Wheatsheaf, was summoned for keeping his house open during unlawful hours. PC Watson deposed that on Sunday morning, the 12th instant, about ten minutes to 8, he was on duty in Melville-street, at the top of Nelson-street. Saw a man come out of the Wheatsheaf, and go down Nelson-street. There was a man at the bottom of the street, evidently watching. Shortly afterwards this man came up the street and went into the Wheatsheaf. Witness afterwards went down and opened the bar door. It was not fastened. There was a man standing against the counter with a pint cup in his hand, half full of beer. As he went in defendant came into the bar. Witness said, “What is the meaning of this, Mr Jones?” He replied “I don’t know.” Witness told him he had no right to have his house opened for the sale of drink at five minutes to 8 on Sunday morning, and that he should report the matter to the Superintendent. He said “Very well, but don’t open your mouth too wide about it,” or words to that effect. He told defendant he should be obliged to report it because there were many complaints in reference to the house. – Defendant said he had just taken in the milk, when a man came into the bar and said that he had been on duty all night and felt ill, and begged him for a glass of ale, and he supplied him. – Superintendent Hinks stated that defendant had kept the house ever since he had been in the town, and had never been summoned before. – The Bench fined defendant £1 and costs. Robert Dunford,  of Daniel-street, was fined 2s 6d and costs for going into the house. Endorsements The license of the Bugle Inn was endorsed from Thomas Scott to Edward Sweetman, jun. Application was made to endorse the license of the Hand-in-Hand, Nelson-place, from Jane Beal to William Jarman. – Ald Colenutt said that the house had not been opened for several years. – Superintendent Hinks replied that the license had been taken out every year. – Ald Colenutt remarked that it was a low place, and the fact that it had been closed showed that the neighbourhood did not require a publichouse. – The matter was adjourned till the next transfer day. HIGH TIDE One of the highest tides known here for a great number of years occurred on Thursday, but though the wind was occasionally rather gusty, it was more or less off the land, so that little damage was done. The sluice in the marshes, however, overfllowed, and there was eighteen inches of water in Alderman Barrow’s Recreation Ground. It taxed Mr A Cooke, and his staff, to keep the railway tunnel sufficiently free from water to permit of uninterrupted traffic. The tides rose so high under the Railway Pier that, had it been very rough, the permanent way must have been injured. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends An Incautious Landlord Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 Ryde Petty Sessions – Borough Bench – Monday – Before the Mayor (Ald J Barton), Aldermen Colenutt, Captain Daubuz, Professor Simonds and Dr Davey. Joseph Jones, landlord of the Wheatsheaf, was summoned for keeping his house open during unlawful hours. PC Watson deposed that on Sunday morning, the 12th instant, about ten minutes to 8, he was on duty in Melville-street, at the top of Nelson-street. Saw a man come out of the Wheatsheaf, and go down Nelson-street. There was a man at the bottom of the street, evidently watching. Shortly afterwards this man came up the street and went into the Wheatsheaf. Witness afterwards went down and opened the bar door. It was not fastened. There was a man standing against the counter with a pint cup in his hand, half full of beer. As he went in defendant came into the bar. Witness said, “What is the meaning of this, Mr Jones?” He replied “I don’t know.” Witness told him he had no right to have his house opened for the sale of drink at five minutes to 8 on Sunday morning, and that he should report the matter to the Superintendent. He said “Very well, but don’t open your mouth too wide about it,” or words to that effect. He told defendant he should be obliged to report it because there were many complaints in reference to the house. – Defendant said he had just taken in the milk, when a man came into the bar and said that he had been on duty all night and felt ill, and begged him for a glass of ale, and he supplied him. – Superintendent Hinks stated that defendant had kept the house ever since he had been in the town, and had never been summoned before. – The Bench fined defendant £1 and costs. Robert Dunford,  of Daniel-street, was fined 2s 6d and costs for going into the house. Endorsements The license of the Bugle Inn was endorsed from Thomas Scott to Edward Sweetman, jun. Application was made to endorse the license of the Hand-in-Hand, Nelson-place, from Jane Beal to William Jarman. – Ald Colenutt said that the house had not been opened for several years. – Superintendent Hinks replied that the license had been taken out every year. – Ald Colenutt remarked that it was a low place, and the fact that it had been closed showed that the neighbourhood did not require a publichouse. – The matter was adjourned till the next transfer day. HIGH TIDE One of the highest tides known here for a great number of years occurred on Thursday, but though the wind was occasionally rather gusty, it was more or less off the land, so that little damage was done. The sluice in the marshes, however, overfllowed, and there was eighteen inches of water in Alderman Barrow’s Recreation Ground. It taxed Mr A Cooke, and his staff, to keep the railway tunnel sufficiently free from water to permit of uninterrupted traffic. The tides rose so high under the Railway Pier that, had it been very rough, the permanent way must have been injured. Return to 1890s Odds and …

25 March, 2023View
An Incautious Landlord

Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 Ryde Petty Sessions – Borough Bench – Monday – Before the Mayor (Ald J Barton), Aldermen Colenutt, Captain Daubuz, Professor Simonds and Dr Davey. Joseph Jones, landlord of the Wheatsheaf, was summoned for keeping his house open during unlawful hours. PC Watson deposed that on Sunday morning, the 12th instant, about ten minutes to 8, he was on duty in Melville-street, at the top of Nelson-street. Saw a man come out of the Wheatsheaf, and go down Nelson-street. There was a man at the bottom of the street, evidently watching. Shortly afterwards this man came up the street and went into the Wheatsheaf. Witness afterwards went down and opened the bar door. It was not fastened. There was a man standing against the counter with a pint cup in his hand, half full of beer. As he went in defendant came into the bar. Witness said, “What is the meaning of this, Mr Jones?” He replied “I don’t know.” Witness told him he had no right to have his house opened for the sale of drink at five minutes to 8 on Sunday morning, and that he should report the matter to the Superintendent. He said “Very well, but don’t open your mouth too wide about it,” or words to that effect. He told defendant he should be obliged to report it because there were many complaints in reference to the house. – Defendant said he had just taken in the milk, when a man came into the bar and said that he had been on duty all night and felt ill, and begged him for a glass of ale, and he supplied him. – Superintendent Hinks stated that defendant had kept the house ever since he had been in the town, and had never been summoned before. – The Bench fined defendant £1 and costs. Robert Dunford,  of Daniel-street, was fined 2s 6d and costs for going into the house. Endorsements The license of the Bugle Inn was endorsed from Thomas Scott to Edward Sweetman, jun. Application was made to endorse the license of the Hand-in-Hand, Nelson-place, from Jane Beal to William Jarman. – Ald Colenutt said that the house had not been opened for several years. – Superintendent Hinks replied that the license had been taken out every year. – Ald Colenutt remarked that it was a low place, and the fact that it had been closed showed that the neighbourhood did not require a publichouse. – The matter was adjourned till the next transfer day. HIGH TIDE One of the highest tides known here for a great number of years occurred on Thursday, but though the wind was occasionally rather gusty, it was more or less off the land, so that little damage was done. The sluice in the marshes, however, overfllowed, and there was eighteen inches of water in Alderman Barrow’s Recreation Ground. It taxed Mr A Cooke, and his staff, to keep the railway tunnel sufficiently free from water to permit of uninterrupted traffic. The tides rose so high under the Railway Pier that, had it been very rough, the permanent way must have been injured. Return to 1890s Odds and …

23 September, 2023View
An interesting time, the 1860s

Boat Accident Isle of Wight Observer November 3, 1860 An interesting time, the 1860s An accident occurred on Friday night, about 12 o’clock, off the Esplanade, between the old and new piers, which, but for the timely assistance of Mr Lewis, coastguard, would perhaps have terminated fatally. Five sailors belonging to a Norwegian brig, lying at the Motherbank, had come on shore it appears for Bacchanalian purposes, and having more libations in honour of the god than was consistent with their understanding, mental or physical, proceeded to make for a boat they had in waiting at the George-street slipway. Of course they described some very eccentric lines in the route, and occasionally found that a horizontal position on the earth was indispensable to unmistakeably demonstrate the perturbed state of their faculties and muscular relaxation. At length, after sundry indescribable grotesque performances, embellished with hooting and swearing, they reached their boat; but the manner in which the embarkation was conducted convinced the coastguard, who witnessed it, that an accident was inevitable, so he at once jumped into another boat and determined to await the issue. His precaution was most fortunate, for they were scarcely 100 yards from the wall, when a quarrel commenced in words; but aquatic fraternities when under the influence of the “vine crowned boy” usually conducts disputes in a more forcible manner. This case was no exception, for words soon begat blows, and blows struggling, and struggling an unexpected cold bath. The boat it appears is without a keel, and in the struggle, they all falling on one side, so far heeled her as to turn three of the crew into the sea; at this juncture Coastguard Lewis pulled to the scene, and after plenty of bellowing on the part of the bathers, succeeded in getting them into his boat and landed them safely on shore. One was well nigh exhausted and was some time in coming to, and when he did all appearances of intoxication were completely worn off, the fright and cold sea bath being seemingly infallible antidotes against the inebrious potions they were suffering from. Their boat being recovered, they again embarked quiet enough and arrived without further disaster at the brig. Great praise is due to Mr Lewis for his precaution and promptness in going to their rescue, for had it not been for him a watery grave would undoubtedly have overtaken them, there being over eight feet of water where the accident happened. Return to the 1860s odd and ends …

25 February, 2023View
An Outside Opinion of Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer August 23rd, 1884 In the course of an interesting article on the Isle of Wight a correspondent of the Daily Telegraph writes as follows: As a pleasure place, Ryde is half-hearted. It seems to have no confidence in itself, and its good relations, as exemplified by the Esplanade, are not resolute enough to reach a perfected intention. Let us hope that this state of thing will not much longer afflict so fair a town. The race is not always to the swift, but eventually the persevering are in the first flight; and if Ryde has permitted its rivals to go ahead that is no reason why it should fail to make up the lost ground. As a matter of fact, the only difficulty is the unfortunate sea-front. The Pier still remains a pleasant place, in spite of steam trams and railway trains; in spite, also, of the fact that the roof of the Pavilion, so much favoured by visitors, has been let to a yacht club, and that an elaborate complication of turnstiles brings one up sharp now and then with a demand for coppers. No company, limited or unlimited, can spoil the view from the pier head, or make it other than a glorious panorama of land and water; a place where, for the nonce, the petty cares and troubles of life are borne away on the breeze, and existence seems a gift to be thankful for. In the evening there is music on the Pier, generally that of a military band from Portsmouth; but even in this important regard the half-heartedness of Ryde comes out. Of course the Pier Company will do as it lists, and must be credited with some very good commercial reason for not turning on its music till August, but we have a right to ask why the Esplanade Gardens are dumb all the day long. Do the Town Council abjure music as a vain delight? Or are they fastidious and unable to reach an ideal, short of which the corporate mind declines to recognise anything as worth having? In either case might there soon be a change. Ryde should be eloquent with music that befits the charming spot on which it stands. Even as an investment the thing would recoup the, no doubt, groaning ratepayer, and it must emphatically be stated that if the natives fancy the ear of imagination can discover music enough in the natural noises of their island they are wrong. The “muddy vesture of decay” has to be reckoned with now as when Jessica’s attention was called to the stars that each in his orbit “like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-ey’d cherubins”. Jessica’s gaze, we fancy, would at once have dropped from the heavens had a lute twanged in the gardens below. An entirely satisfactory feature of Ryde is its bathing pier – a happy example of half-heartedness turned to account. Its projectors having stopped mid-way to their seaward goal, the idea of a bathing-stage redeemed their effort from absolute disaster, and ladies and men can bathe under conditions not only decent, but comfortable and absolutely safe. Of course, if a swimmer goes outside the barriers and away to sea, he does so at his own risk; but by keeping inside there is no risk at all. The bather, moreover, can choose his own depth of water, and dive from the top of the dressing rooms, or waist-deep, and ingloriously splash with the boys. Of Ryde as a residential town too much cannot be said. Well supplied with pure water, admirably drained, with streets kept scrupulously clean, and every advantage taken of any natural beauties of site, it is a model borough, while, in at least one respect, it may claim to be specially enviable. A clause in the local Act enables the Mayor to keep the streets free from unnecessary noises. Without his permission no sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer or nay kind of music can make itself heard in the thoroughfares. There the organ-grinder dare not touch his instrument of torture; there the piano-organ ceases its maddening scales and arpeggios, and the enlightened Teutons who come over to make music in a “barbarous country,” not able to make it for herself, are powerless for evil. So well does the present Mayor, Mr Ald Colenutt, exercise his prerogative that even the Salvation Army is reduced to silence. They parade the streets and fly their banners, but their songs are of the heart, not of the tongue. Facts like these go a great way to make up for the short-comings of Ryde in other respects, and even Hogarth’s “Enraged Musician”, could he live again, might be tempted to dwell in the town; charmed by a municipal government which, if it do not encourage good music, absolutely prohibits that which is bad. Return to 1880s Odds and …

8 April, 2023View
An Uncommon Fish

Isle of Wight Observer September 22 1860 As Anthony Cooper, a fisherman, was fishing off the Sandshead buoy on Thursday morning, he, much to his surprise, hooked on his trott a shark, measuring about four feet. As he hauled it in the boat he hit the young sea-monster a blow upon the head with a knife, which had the effect of causing the fish to cast up accounts. The first account rendered, was a large eel, four feet in length, and this marine snake, considering his length was equal to that of the shark, could only have met with accommodation in those abdominal regions by forming into a coil. This specimen of rarities is the first we have heard of for some time this side of the Wight. Return to 1860s odds and ends …

8 April, 2023View
ANOTHER ICE WELL IN UNION STREET

Recent research into the history of ice wells and the 19th century ice trade has revealed the existence of a second ice well in Union Street, Ryde. In a domestic, rather than commercial setting, nothing else is yet known about the exact whereabouts or dimensions of this well, at Number 12 Union Street. The Hampshire Telegraph of October 23, 1847 contains an advertisement of the sale of the premises by Francis Pittis, which reveals: ‘The premises were erected by the proprietor for his own occupation, and no expense has been spared in the elegance and durability of their construction. Since his retirement a Shop Front has been added, with Plate Glass windows; and they are now in the occupation of Mr Dudelle, Perfumer &c, as yearly tenant, and present Business Premises unequalled for situation, and contain most spacious and elegant apartments for a Lodging House, and by which a large profit may be realized. ‘The House comprises on the basement, Kitchen, housekeeper’s room, butler’s room, larder, scullery, wash house, store room, coal house, beer and wine cellars, and ice well; on the ground floor, front shop, private entrance opening to an elegant and spacious hall and the grand staircase, dining room, library, dressing room, water closet, hot and cold baths; on the first floor an elegantly decorated drawing room, 32 feet by 17 feet and 12 feet high, with statuary marble chimney pieces, and scaglioli columns, two bedrooms, plate closet and secondary staircase; on the second floor, seven bedrooms, housemaid’s closet, and water closet. ‘There is an abundant supply of spring and rain water, and a back entrance from Union-road. ‘The Premises are held on lease for 999 years, and are subject to a ground rent of 25l per annum.’ The auction was due to take place at Yelf’s Hotel in Ryde, on Tuesday, the 26th of October, 1847, at four o’clock in the afternoon. In June 1856, the premises were once again advertised for sale: ‘ A first class PRIVATE RESIDENCE and SHOP, situate in Union-street, now in the occupation of Mr MacKay, confectioner; containing numerous apartments of a superior description, adapted for holding select assemblies, &c; also hot and cold baths, ice well, and every domestic convenience, the house being well-arranged either for a Private Residence, or for carrying on any lucrative business.’   The building subsequently became a bank, with the doors and safe still extant in the basement area. Return to …

17 June, 2023View
Arcade excitement mounts…

Hampshire Newpapers 1830s Hants Advertiser January 16 1836 – THE ROYAL VICTORIA ARCADE – The exterior of this handsome building being finished, the scaffolding has been removed, and it is now exposed to public view. It is a chaste and elegant design; how could it be otherwise when Westmacott is the architect; but it should have been at least two feet higher, as the adjoining houses at present over-top it. Hants Telegraph January 30 1836 – So anxious is the Proprietor of the Arcade, that the building shall be early completed, and its extensive interior arrangement finished, that it may be inhabited prior to the season commencing; that for some time past the workmen employed, have continued their labours by candle light. Hants Advertiser September 10 1836 – The new exhibition room of the Royal Victoria Arcade will open on Monday. We hear it will contain the contributions of several excellent artists. Isle of Wight and General Yacht Club Gazette – July 6 1839 – THE ROYAL VICTORIA ARCADE – We hope the spirited individuals who have taken the large room at the RVA, for a public promenade, will meet with that encouragement they deserve. Our town derives its support from visitors, and yet the inhabitants of this beautiful town have scarcely done anything for their amusements. Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

8 April, 2023View
Arcade Foundation Stone Ceremony – 1835

Hampshire Telegraph – Monday June 8, 1835 EAST MEDINA LODGE, No 204, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 28th May, 1835 The Worshipful Master, Officers, and Brethren of the EAST MEDINA LODGE, deeply impressed with a due sense of the distinguished honour conferred on them by the presence of the Right Honourable the Earl of Durham, the Deputy GM of England, on Monday last, the 25th instant, for the purpose of laying the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria Arcade, take leave most respectfully and fraternally to return his Lordship their thanks for the very handsome and ready acquiescence of his Lordship with the invitation and wishes of the Brethren. To the Rev William Moore, MA, they also tender their best thanks for the very handsome manner in which he acceded to their request in performing Divine Service, and for the admirable and excellent Sermon delivered on the occasion. The Worshipful Masters, Officers, and Brethren of the East Medina Lodge, feel it their pleasing duty to return their fraternal thanks and acknowledgements to the Worshipful Masters, Officers and Brethren of the West Medina Lodge, Cowes, No 41.Albany Lodge, Newport, 176Phoenix Lodge, Portsmouth, 319Harmony Lodge, Gosport, 387New Forest Lodge, Lymington, 401Royal Sussex Lodge, Portsea, 428Also to Brother Sir Lucius Curtis, Bart., Provincial SGW of the County of Hants; Brothers Squires and Osborne, PPSG Wardens of the Isle of Wight; and to Brother Palmer of the Vectis Lodge, Newport, 388; for their attendance on the above occasion, and to assure them at all times the East Medina Lodge will feel lit no less a pleasure than a duty to render them, and the Fraternity in general, every assistance in their power, and to express their best wishes for the success of the Craft in general, and the individual happiness and prosperity of their Brethren, who so fraternally and readily rendered their assistance on the occasion of laying the Foundation Stone of the Royal Victoria Arcade. THOMAS DASHWOOD, WMW E F G SHERIDAN, SWEDWARD MARVIN, JW Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

8 October, 2022View
Arcade Foundation Stone Ceremony – 1835

Hampshire Telegraph – Monday June 8, 1835 EAST MEDINA LODGE, No 204, Ryde, Isle of Wight, 28th May, 1835 The Worshipful Master, Officers, and Brethren of the EAST MEDINA LODGE, deeply impressed with a due sense of the distinguished honour conferred on them by the presence of the Right Honourable the Earl of Durham, the Deputy GM of England, on Monday last, the 25th instant, for the purpose of laying the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria Arcade, take leave most respectfully and fraternally to return his Lordship their thanks for the very handsome and ready acquiescence of his Lordship with the invitation and wishes of the Brethren. To the Rev William Moore, MA, they also tender their best thanks for the very handsome manner in which he acceded to their request in performing Divine Service, and for the admirable and excellent Sermon delivered on the occasion. The Worshipful Masters, Officers, and Brethren of the East Medina Lodge, feel it their pleasing duty to return their fraternal thanks and acknowledgements to the Worshipful Masters, Officers and Brethren of the West Medina Lodge, Cowes, No 41.Albany Lodge, Newport, 176Phoenix Lodge, Portsmouth, 319Harmony Lodge, Gosport, 387New Forest Lodge, Lymington, 401Royal Sussex Lodge, Portsea, 428Also to Brother Sir Lucius Curtis, Bart., Provincial SGW of the County of Hants; Brothers Squires and Osborne, PPSG Wardens of the Isle of Wight; and to Brother Palmer of the Vectis Lodge, Newport, 388; for their attendance on the above occasion, and to assure them at all times the East Medina Lodge will feel lit no less a pleasure than a duty to render them, and the Fraternity in general, every assistance in their power, and to express their best wishes for the success of the Craft in general, and the individual happiness and prosperity of their Brethren, who so fraternally and readily rendered their assistance on the occasion of laying the Foundation Stone of the Royal Victoria Arcade. THOMAS DASHWOOD, WMW E F G SHERIDAN, SWEDWARD MARVIN, JW Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

21 October, 2023View
Arcade Foundation Stone letter

History of East Medina Lodge No 175, from 1813 to 1913 Several new members were admitted during the year 1835. Bro W H Banks, of Lodge 68, the founder of the Royal Victoria Arcade, joined the lodge on 17th June, 1835, and at whose initiative the East Medina Lodge organised the ceremony of laying the foundation stone; and although there is no record as such in the minute book, the lodge invited other Lodges to join them in the ceremony, as the following letter will show:- East Medina Lodge,Town Hall, RydeIsle of Wight16th May, 1835 WORSHIPFUL SIR,I have the honour of being requested by the WM, Officers and Brethren of this Lodge to fraternally solicit the honour of your assistance to lay the foundation stone of the ‘Royal Victoria Arcade’ on Monday, the 25th inst, at 12 o’clock, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master having granted the necessary Dispensation. I have also the pleasure, by desire of Bro Banks (who is about to erect the Arcade), to request the honour of your company to dine with him at the Town Hall, at five o’clock on the same day.The WM will feel obliged by your informing him, at your earliest opportunity, the probable number of Brethren who will attend, in order that the number at dinner may be duly provided for.I have the honour to remain, Worshipful Sir,Your obedient and fraternal Brother,GLOSTER SHERIDANSecretaryTHE WMPhoenix Lodge,Portsmouth Return to Royal Victoria  Arcade …

8 April, 2023View
Arcadia – Spring-Summer 2017

Herewith our double Issue of Arcadia: Arcadia Spring-Summer 2017 More editions …

4 November, 2023View
Arcadia – Summer 2016 – Issue 26

Herewith our Fifth Anniversary Summer Issue of Arcadia:   Arcadia Summer 2016 More editions …

26 August, 2023View
Arcadia – Summer 2016 – Issue 26

Herewith our Fifth Anniversary Summer Issue of Arcadia:   Arcadia Summer 2016 More editions …

4 November, 2023View
Archive Home Page 15-09-2013

Ryde District Heritage Centre is open between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.The centre will be open FREE OF CHARGE on our last ‘Heritage Open Day’ for 2013, which will take place on Sunday, September 15. HRS is delighted that the lace-making ladies will be joining us again. (Donations always welcome, of course!).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 couple of weeks of the Oddfellows images! Visit soon, 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 until the end of September. Due to the frailty and fading of the photographs, it must then be returned for safekeeping. Ryde District Heritage Centre RDHC The Commercial Room This is the Commercial room in the extension of the Centre, opened by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester last July. The vinyl on the wall is a photograph of Sweetman’s Brewery, in John Street. Many bottles and flagons, as well as shop receipts and advertisements form the major display in this room. More artefacts are being brought in on a regular basis. The Ice Well Fund now stands at nearly £6000, thanks to a generous donation of £2000 from The Daisie Rich Trust, and other donations, coming in on a regular basis. 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 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 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….. Volunteers always welcome! 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! 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 – now 4! – 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, with another few days still remaining! This year, for the first time, one of boards went to Bestival.   Fireman Sam and Ryde Fire Officer Damon CorrSeptember Rotunda ImageHRS Chair Liz Jones with the Victorian Strollers – July …

15 July, 2023View
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 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 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 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! 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! 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. …

15 July, 2023View
Archived Newsletters

Archived Newsletters ARCADIA: Spring-Summer 2018 Issue 30 Spring-Summer 2017 Issue 29 Winter 2016-17 Issue 28 Autumn 2016 Issue 27 Summer 2016 Issue 26 Spring 2016 Issue 25 Winter 2015 Issue 24 Autumn 2015 Issue 23 Spring 2015 Issue 22 Autumn 2014 Issue 21 Summer 2014 Issue 20 Spring 2014 Issue 19 Winter 2013 Issue 18 Autumn 2013 Issue 17 Summer 2013 Issue 16 Spring 2013 Issue 15 Winter 2012 Issue 14 Autumn 2012 Issue 13 Summer 2012 Issue 12 Spring 2012 Issue 11 Winter 2011 Issue 10 Autumn 2011 Issue 9 Summer 2011 Issue 8 Spring 2011 Issue 7 Winter 2010 Issue 6 Autumn 2010 Issue 5 Summer 2010 Issue 4 Summer 2010 Issue 3 Spring 2010 Issue 2 Spring 2010 Issue …

21 October, 2023View
Archived Newsletters

Archived Newsletters ARCADIA: Spring-Summer 2018 Issue 30 Spring-Summer 2017 Issue 29 Winter 2016-17 Issue 28 Autumn 2016 Issue 27 Summer 2016 Issue 26 Spring 2016 Issue 25 Winter 2015 Issue 24 Autumn 2015 Issue 23 Spring 2015 Issue 22 Autumn 2014 Issue 21 Summer 2014 Issue 20 Spring 2014 Issue 19 Winter 2013 Issue 18 Autumn 2013 Issue 17 Summer 2013 Issue 16 Spring 2013 Issue 15 Winter 2012 Issue 14 Autumn 2012 Issue 13 Summer 2012 Issue 12 Spring 2012 Issue 11  Winter 2011 Issue 10 Autumn 2011 Issue 9 Summer 2011 Issue 8 Spring 2011 Issue 7 Winter 2010 Issue 6 Autumn 2010 Issue 5 Summer 2010 Issue 4 Summer 2010 Issue 3 Spring 2010 Issue 2 Spring 2010 Issue 1                           …

1 June, 2013View
Army recruitment – 1857

Recruiting the Army Army recruitment – 1857 Isle of Wight Observer October 31, 1857 RECRUITING THE ARMY – A recruiting party have (sic) been in Ryde during the past week; and, notwithstanding that they are dashing fellows and dressed up handsome in red “cloth”, instead of “baize”, and have medals conspicuously displayed on their breasts, they fail in getting many “to take the shilling.” The fact is, working men in Ryde don’t see military service rightly. They look at it as “a shilling a-day to be shot at”, with a flayed back, miserable pension, and “no promotion”, in the distance: instead of a patriotic duty to serve the Queen and the country, in which it is said they have “no stake” whatever. Nevertheless, while Ryde men despise military service, which they think degrading under present conditions, it is not from a lack of valour, as there is scarcely a man-of-war afloat but has one or more of them aboard, and they are reckoned some of the finest seamen in the world. When the Hon Harry Keppel was fitting out the Raleigh last year he gave notice that “none but the right sort of seamen need apply” for berths, and he selected by far the largest portion of his crew from Ryde men, as compared with any other place, and his exploits in China shew he has “the right sort”. Unless, therefore, the terms of military service are altered, the recruiting sergeant had better go to more ignorant districts than Ryde. Return to 1850s Military …

4 November, 2023View
Army recruitment – 1857

Recruiting the Army Army recruitment – 1857 Isle of Wight Observer October 31, 1857 RECRUITING THE ARMY – A recruiting party have (sic) been in Ryde during the past week; and, notwithstanding that they are dashing fellows and dressed up handsome in red “cloth”, instead of “baize”, and have medals conspicuously displayed on their breasts, they fail in getting many “to take the shilling.” The fact is, working men in Ryde don’t see military service rightly. They look at it as “a shilling a-day to be shot at”, with a flayed back, miserable pension, and “no promotion”, in the distance: instead of a patriotic duty to serve the Queen and the country, in which it is said they have “no stake” whatever. Nevertheless, while Ryde men despise military service, which they think degrading under present conditions, it is not from a lack of valour, as there is scarcely a man-of-war afloat but has one or more of them aboard, and they are reckoned some of the finest seamen in the world. When the Hon Harry Keppel was fitting out the Raleigh last year he gave notice that “none but the right sort of seamen need apply” for berths, and he selected by far the largest portion of his crew from Ryde men, as compared with any other place, and his exploits in China shew he has “the right sort”. Unless, therefore, the terms of military service are altered, the recruiting sergeant had better go to more ignorant districts than Ryde. Return to 1850s Military …

3 May, 2013View
Art of Floating

Isle of Wight Observer – August 7 1858 ART OF FLOATING – The following hints may be of much service in this locality at the present season:- Any human being who will have the presence of mind to clasp the hands behind the back, and turn the face towards the zenith, may float at ease and in perfect safety, in tolerably still water – ay, and sleep there, no matter how long. If, not knowing the way to swim, you would escape drowning when you find yourself in deep water, you have only to consider yourself an empty pitcher. Let your mouth and nose – not the top part of your heavy head – be the highest part of you, and you are safe; but thrust up one of your bony hands, and down you go. Turning up the handle, tips over the pitcher. Having had the happiness to prevent one or two drownings by this simple instruction, we publish it for the benefit of all who either love aquatic sports or dread them. Return to 1850s Odds and …

25 March, 2023View
Art of Floating

Isle of Wight Observer – August 7 1858 ART OF FLOATING – The following hints may be of much service in this locality at the present season:- Any human being who will have the presence of mind to clasp the hands behind the back, and turn the face towards the zenith, may float at ease and in perfect safety, in tolerably still water – ay, and sleep there, no matter how long. If, not knowing the way to swim, you would escape drowning when you find yourself in deep water, you have only to consider yourself an empty pitcher. Let your mouth and nose – not the top part of your heavy head – be the highest part of you, and you are safe; but thrust up one of your bony hands, and down you go. Turning up the handle, tips over the pitcher. Having had the happiness to prevent one or two drownings by this simple instruction, we publish it for the benefit of all who either love aquatic sports or dread them. Return to 1850s Odds and …

25 March, 2023View
Ashey Race Course

Taken from the book Ryde Isle of Wight – Its Sports and Attractions: Situate in the charming Vale of Ashey within two miles of Ryde, to which frequent special trains run during the meetings. This is a thoroughly sporting two days meeting at which visitors can enjoy themselves without being subjected to the annoyance of the rough element usually found at Race Meetings. The Residents take advantage of the meeting to turn it practically into a picnic, and unbounded hospitality is the order of the day. Return to Leisure in the 1900s page Return to homepage …

22 March, 2015View
Ashey Race Course

Taken from the book Ryde Isle of Wight – Its Sports and Attractions: Situate in the charming Vale of Ashey within two miles of Ryde, to which frequent special trains run during the meetings. This is a thoroughly sporting two days meeting at which visitors can enjoy themselves without being subjected to the annoyance of the rough element usually found at Race Meetings. The Residents take advantage of the meeting to turn it practically into a picnic, and unbounded hospitality is the order of the day. Return to Leisure in the 1900s page Return to …

23 September, 2023View
ASTRONOMIC DELIGHTS!

Historic Ryde Society would like to thank James Bissell Thomas of The Orrery, for inviting Ian Ridpath, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and Norton’s Star Atlas, to give two lectures on ‘The Stories of Stars’, and ‘The Planets’, at The Orrery on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, September 3 and 4.On the first evening, a  very appreciative audience was enthralled by the wonderful images Ian showed us, and his entertaining delivery kept the evening moving along at a slick pace. Historic Ryde Society was delighted to host a small party from the Island’s own Planetarium, at Fort Victoria.On the second evening, Ian addressed the planets, and took his audience on a guided tour of each, from innermost to outermost and beyond!Despite a stifling evening, with noisy traffic and curious passers-by, the evening was delightful and well received, and Ian said how much he had enjoyed the social nature of both evenings.Many thanks to Graham and Lesley for organising the events, printing posters and flyers, and liaising with Ian who, at the time of first contact, was delivering a lecture series aboard the Queen Mary, somewhere off Norway! Return to …

17 June, 2023View
Attempt to swim from Portsmouth to Ryde

On Monday afternoon Professor Albert, the Scandinavian Swimming Champion, started from Portsmouth on a well-advertised attempt to swim from Portsmouth to Ryde. He had been challenged to a race by a Portsmouth professional, S Sargeant, but indignantly declined to make a race of it. This did not deter the Portsmouth man, however, and when the Scandinavian, at half-past 3, on Monday afternoon, made a dive from the South Parade Pier, Sargeant was there in a wherry with a waterman, and exactly five minutes after Albert had started, took a header from his wherry and started in pursuit of the Professor, who was swimming with a steady breast stroke and accompanied by two boats. Sargeant, however, started with a quick side stroke, and caught the Scandinavian champion three hundred yards from the Pier. Albert had just been affably declaring that he was “just getting right,” and wished “he had been born a fresh,” but on seeing his rival he stopped and warmly upbraided him for interfering with his attempt. Sargeant, however, heeded him not, but, swimming beautifully, went right over towards the Island shore. He was splendidly steered, which is more than can be said for Albert, and after they had been an hour in the water the Portsmouth man was more than a mile to the good, and rapidly drawing away. At half-past 4 Albert was nearing the Knoll and Bell Buoys, and there he stopped. He caught the tide running off the Spit, and in vain he tried to get across so that he might get the favouring current to carry him over towards Ryde. Twice he took doses of brandy in the water, but still he made no headway, and at 20 past 5, raising himself in the water, he warmly vituperated the men who were steering him in the boats. A general feeling was expressed on board the launch that his course had not been well chosen, and at length the Professor proclaimed “it vos damn humbug,” and he should give it up. And he did so. With great difficulty he was got on board one of the boats, and from there to a launch, where Dr A G Reid, who was in attendance, pronounced him as strong as when he went into the water. Be this as it may, during the last hour he had been in the water he had done little but drift, and the launch was hardly two miles from the South Parade Pier when he abandoned the attempt. Sargeant was by this time out of sight, and close up to Ryde Pier. He was then well underneath the shore, and, swimming down, he reached Ryde Pier shortly after 6 o’clock, having accomplished a remarkable feat. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Bachelors’ Ball

Bachelors′ Ball at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club We have to congratulate the bachelor members of the RVYC upon having conceived a brilliant idea, and carried on the same with no little ability. the fact is that one ball whets the appetite for more, and many young people, after a delightful evening at the Fancy Dress Ball, felt that something more ought to follow, so the bachelor members of the RVYC approached their more staid fellows with a startling proposition, unprecedented in Victorian annals. Let us (they said) give a ball to our friends; we will find the needful, and you must turn out and let us have the use of the building for one night. The staid and sober members naturally experienced a shock at such a proposition, but, good naturedly reflecting that they were bachelors themselves once, they eventually assented, and submitted to all sorts of interference with their usual comfort. Then those bachelors set to work, and turned the building inside out. And what a transformation they effected! They entrapped that long suffering individual, the steward, (Mr Perry), and set him to work; in fact, they set everyone in the establishment to work, including the secretary, Captain Eaton. The adventurous spirits who originated this bold innovation, appointed the following a committee: Major Boulcott, Mr Perrott, Mr G Le Marchant, and Captain Hamilton. The ball came off on Tuesday evening, and no one would have recognised the Club House under its altered aspect. The hall was draped with flags and evergreens, and was brilliantly illuminated, gas light being supplemented by innumerable coloured lamps placed in every position available. The smoking room at the side was used for light refreshments, a buffet being placed there. In the large room beyond the supper was set out, no pains being spared to make it look as pleasing to the eye as possible. There were several boars’ heads of startling aspect, and nameless comestibles arranged with great effect and good taste. In the centre of the room was a large figure of Father Christmas, whose ruddy face beamed welcome on the guests. The steward was deservedly congratulated on the success of his arrangements here. The stairs leading to the upper part of the building were decorated with flags, evergreens and coloured lights. The library was fitted up as a drawing room, presenting quite an elegant aspect and, with the open space of the top of the stairs also fitted up with lounges, &c., furnished an agreeable retreat from the crowded ball room. The long room facing the sea was used as the ball room, and though it has often been the scene of festivities of a similar character, there have been few assemblies more joyous than that of Tuesday evening. It was nicely decorated in addition to its usual pictures, with mirrors, evergreens, and flags, and the floor looked like a highly polished mahogany table. About 200 guests were invited, and as there seemed to be no difficulty in finding partners, was a little crowded, it being quite evident that some of the members of the club who were not bachelors were rather curious as to how the whole affair would succeed. As will be noticed in the list hereunder the ladies and gentlemen were very equally divided. Although of course the scene could not compare in brillancy with the late fancy dress ball, there were some very pretty dresses worn. We must, however, be permitted to make exceptions in cases where the ladies’ dresses were cut from the shoulders so as to resemble a letter V. The sooner this ridiculous and senseless fashion is altered the better. Several ladies who appeared in white, with dresses no more décolleté than good taste permitted,  were charming. It seems rather hard on the gentlemen that on occasions when they are supposed to be most joyous and good humoured, their dresses are mournfully and uniformly sombre. A ball room will once again resume its old time brilliancy, when the English “hyperchics” assert themselves, and introduce the pink coat and white waistcoat for evening wear. This fashion has not yet penetrated to England, and it will be a long time we expect before the coat sacred to waiters and evening dress is dethroned. The one advantage of such a style is that at assemblies like this, the sober dress of the males furnishes an effective contrast to the colours of the ladies wear. Altogether, though crowded, the ball room was a very pleasing scene; and as we believe these re-unions do a great deal of good, we hope the “Bachelors’ Ball” will become one of the institutions of the Ryde winter season. Some wag stuck the following notice up in the ball room: IMPORTANT SALE THE BACHELORS WILL BE PUT UP FOR AUCTION AT 3 A.M. January 5th, 1887 Some promising Lots will be offered to the Public. Goods on view during the Evening. TERMS – CASH As possibly some of the bachelors were such through no fault of their own, we hope some of them “went off” well “without reserve”. A good word should be given to the band provided by Mr Jones, which, we need hardly add, performed the programme in a manner which would have startled an anchorite, and it is no doubt due to their strains that so many of the senior members of the club were on this occasion, “caught tripping”. Return to 1880s Leisure …

3 May, 2013View
Bachelors′ Ball at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club

We have to congratulate the bachelor members of the RVYC upon having conceived a brilliant idea, and carried on the same with no little ability. the fact is that one ball whets the appetite for more, and many young people, after a delightful evening at the Fancy Dress Ball, felt that something more ought to follow, so the bachelor members of the RVYC approached their more staid fellows with a startling proposition, unprecedented in Victorian annals. Let us (they said) give a ball to our friends; we will find the needful, and you must turn out and let us have the use of the building for one night. The staid and sober members naturally experienced a shock at such a proposition, but, good naturedly reflecting that they were bachelors themselves once, they eventually assented, and submitted to all sorts of interference with their usual comfort. Then those bachelors set to work, and turned the building inside out. And what a transformation they effected! They entrapped that long suffering individual, the steward, (Mr Perry), and set him to work; in fact, they set everyone in the establishment to work, including the secretary, Captain Eaton. The adventurous spirits who originated this bold innovation, appointed the following a committee: Major Boulcott, Mr Perrott, Mr G Le Marchant, and Captain Hamilton. The ball came off on Tuesday evening, and no one would have recognised the Club House under its altered aspect. The hall was draped with flags and evergreens, and was brilliantly illuminated, gas light being supplemented by innumerable coloured lamps placed in every position available. The smoking room at the side was used for light refreshments, a buffet being placed there. In the large room beyond the supper was set out, no pains being spared to make it look as pleasing to the eye as possible. There were several boars’ heads of startling aspect, and nameless comestibles arranged with great effect and good taste. In the centre of the room was a large figure of Father Christmas, whose ruddy face beamed welcome on the guests. The steward was deservedly congratulated on the success of his arrangements here. The stairs leading to the upper part of the building were decorated with flags, evergreens and coloured lights. The library was fitted up as a drawing room, presenting quite an elegant aspect and, with the open space of the top of the stairs also fitted up with lounges, &c., furnished an agreeable retreat from the crowded ball room. The long room facing the sea was used as the ball room, and though it has often been the scene of festivities of a similar character, there have been few assemblies more joyous than that of Tuesday evening. It was nicely decorated in addition to its usual pictures, with mirrors, evergreens, and flags, and the floor looked like a highly polished mahogany table. About 200 guests were invited, and as there seemed to be no difficulty in finding partners, was a little crowded, it being quite evident that some of the members of the club who were not bachelors were rather curious as to how the whole affair would succeed. As will be noticed in the list hereunder the ladies and gentlemen were very equally divided. Although of course the scene could not compare in brillancy with the late fancy dress ball, there were some very pretty dresses worn. We must, however, be permitted to make exceptions in cases where the ladies’ dresses were cut from the shoulders so as to resemble a letter V. The sooner this ridiculous and senseless fashion is altered the better. Several ladies who appeared in white, with dresses no more décolleté than good taste permitted,  were charming. It seems rather hard on the gentlemen that on occasions when they are supposed to be most joyous and good humoured, their dresses are mournfully and uniformly sombre. A ball room will once again resume its old time brilliancy, when the English “hyperchics” assert themselves, and introduce the pink coat and white waistcoat for evening wear. This fashion has not yet penetrated to England, and it will be a long time we expect before the coat sacred to waiters and evening dress is dethroned. The one advantage of such a style is that at assemblies like this, the sober dress of the males furnishes an effective contrast to the colours of the ladies wear. Altogether, though crowded, the ball room was a very pleasing scene; and as we believe these re-unions do a great deal of good, we hope the “Bachelors’ Ball” will become one of the institutions of the Ryde winter season. Some wag stuck the following notice up in the ball room: IMPORTANT SALETHE BACHELORS WILL BE PUT UP FOR AUCTION AT 3 A.M.January 5th, 1887Some promising Lots will be offered to the Public.Goods on view during the Evening.TERMS – CASH As possibly some of the bachelors were such through no fault of their own, we hope some of them “went off” well “without reserve”. A good word should be given to the band provided by Mr Jones, which, we need hardly add, performed the programme in a manner which would have startled an anchorite, and it is no doubt due to their strains that so many of the senior members of the club were on this occasion, “caught tripping”. Return to 1880s Leisure …

11 March, 2023View
Bachelors′ Ball at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club

We have to congratulate the bachelor members of the RVYC upon having conceived a brilliant idea, and carried on the same with no little ability. the fact is that one ball whets the appetite for more, and many young people, after a delightful evening at the Fancy Dress Ball, felt that something more ought to follow, so the bachelor members of the RVYC approached their more staid fellows with a startling proposition, unprecedented in Victorian annals. Let us (they said) give a ball to our friends; we will find the needful, and you must turn out and let us have the use of the building for one night. The staid and sober members naturally experienced a shock at such a proposition, but, good naturedly reflecting that they were bachelors themselves once, they eventually assented, and submitted to all sorts of interference with their usual comfort. Then those bachelors set to work, and turned the building inside out. And what a transformation they effected! They entrapped that long suffering individual, the steward, (Mr Perry), and set him to work; in fact, they set everyone in the establishment to work, including the secretary, Captain Eaton. The adventurous spirits who originated this bold innovation, appointed the following a committee: Major Boulcott, Mr Perrott, Mr G Le Marchant, and Captain Hamilton. The ball came off on Tuesday evening, and no one would have recognised the Club House under its altered aspect. The hall was draped with flags and evergreens, and was brilliantly illuminated, gas light being supplemented by innumerable coloured lamps placed in every position available. The smoking room at the side was used for light refreshments, a buffet being placed there. In the large room beyond the supper was set out, no pains being spared to make it look as pleasing to the eye as possible. There were several boars’ heads of startling aspect, and nameless comestibles arranged with great effect and good taste. In the centre of the room was a large figure of Father Christmas, whose ruddy face beamed welcome on the guests. The steward was deservedly congratulated on the success of his arrangements here. The stairs leading to the upper part of the building were decorated with flags, evergreens and coloured lights. The library was fitted up as a drawing room, presenting quite an elegant aspect and, with the open space of the top of the stairs also fitted up with lounges, &c., furnished an agreeable retreat from the crowded ball room. The long room facing the sea was used as the ball room, and though it has often been the scene of festivities of a similar character, there have been few assemblies more joyous than that of Tuesday evening. It was nicely decorated in addition to its usual pictures, with mirrors, evergreens, and flags, and the floor looked like a highly polished mahogany table. About 200 guests were invited, and as there seemed to be no difficulty in finding partners, was a little crowded, it being quite evident that some of the members of the club who were not bachelors were rather curious as to how the whole affair would succeed. As will be noticed in the list hereunder the ladies and gentlemen were very equally divided. Although of course the scene could not compare in brillancy with the late fancy dress ball, there were some very pretty dresses worn. We must, however, be permitted to make exceptions in cases where the ladies’ dresses were cut from the shoulders so as to resemble a letter V. The sooner this ridiculous and senseless fashion is altered the better. Several ladies who appeared in white, with dresses no more décolleté than good taste permitted,  were charming. It seems rather hard on the gentlemen that on occasions when they are supposed to be most joyous and good humoured, their dresses are mournfully and uniformly sombre. A ball room will once again resume its old time brilliancy, when the English “hyperchics” assert themselves, and introduce the pink coat and white waistcoat for evening wear. This fashion has not yet penetrated to England, and it will be a long time we expect before the coat sacred to waiters and evening dress is dethroned. The one advantage of such a style is that at assemblies like this, the sober dress of the males furnishes an effective contrast to the colours of the ladies wear. Altogether, though crowded, the ball room was a very pleasing scene; and as we believe these re-unions do a great deal of good, we hope the “Bachelors’ Ball” will become one of the institutions of the Ryde winter season. Some wag stuck the following notice up in the ball room: IMPORTANT SALETHE BACHELORS WILL BE PUT UP FOR AUCTION AT 3 A.M.January 5th, 1887Some promising Lots will be offered to the Public.Goods on view during the Evening.TERMS – CASH As possibly some of the bachelors were such through no fault of their own, we hope some of them “went off” well “without reserve”. A good word should be given to the band provided by Mr Jones, which, we need hardly add, performed the programme in a manner which would have startled an anchorite, and it is no doubt due to their strains that so many of the senior members of the club were on this occasion, “caught tripping”. Return to 1880s Leisure …

23 September, 2023View
Bank Holiday Entertainment

Isle of Wight Observer August 10, 1895 Bank Holiday in Ryde 1895 Quite a variety entertainment formed the attraction at the Pavilion on Bank Holiday. Miss Minnie Palmer sang “The Tin Gee-Gee” and a laughing song, both of which evidently greatly pleased the audience. Professor Etho’s performing dogs were also remarkably well trained. One of them danced on its hind legs on a large revolving wheel, while another turned a back somersault very cleverly. Master Campbell Goldsmid, who has a sweet soprano voice, also sang well, and was warmly encored for Wilfred Bendall’s song “The Pixies”. The gem of the entertainment was, however, Mr Charles Watkins’ humourous sketch. This gentleman is the most accomplished and remarkable whistler we have ever heard, and he seems to produce the sound in a totally different style and manner to that adopted by the ordinary whistler. In one part of the sketch he substituted a shrill little whistle for the letter “s” wherever it occurred, a feat we never heard anyone else accomplish. He sings well, too, but as regards his “patter” he made the mistake of pitching his voice a little too low, so that he was not very distinctly heard. A marvellous feature of his performance was playing a tune by rapping on the top of his head and modulating the sound to notes by opening and shutting his mouth. He also did this on his cheeks, on a knife between his teeth, on a walking stick, &c. THE BANK HOLIDAY – Although the sky looked wild on Monday, the majority of people thought, as there was so much wind, the rain would keep off. Accordingly, a number of our townsmen might have been seen, early in the morning, laden with baskets and hampers, evidently bent on picnicing excursions. An unusual number of excursionists also came into the town, and had the weather remained fine there can be no doubt the fete which the Foresters arranged would have been a great success. Unfortunately, however, shortly after noon, the wind dropped a little, and then the heavy clouds, which had been lowering all day, steadily discharged the moisture with which they were laden. It was rather pitiable to see so many strangers going about under umbrellas or taking every opportunity for shelter. The Arcade was full all the afternoon, and the Pavilion at the end of the pier proved quite a God-send. A great number of visitors found shelter and amusement there in the afternoon, and in the evening over 1200 paid for admission. The number of visitors to the town may be judged from the fact that there have never been so many travellers by the Pier Electric Railway. We understand from a good authority there were over 7000. The trams and steamers were also crowded. On Bank Holiday, when the streets were rather crowded with traffic, Colonel A Clarke, with Mrs Clarke and Miss Norah Clarke, were driving down Union Street in an open carriage. When near Mr Evans’ where the road suddenly shows a sharp gradient, the horse slipped and fell, and was unable to hold the carriage, which seemed very likely to be overturned. The occupants of the carriage were helped out at once, and by the promptitude of some watermen  standing near, the carriage was stopped and the horse restored to its feet. Some poems by Mrs Florence Clarke, can be found here. Return to 1890s Railway …

11 February, 2023View
Bank Holiday entertainment in 1895

Bank Holiday Entertainment Isle of Wight Observer August 10, 1895 Bank Holiday entertainment in 1895 Quite a variety entertainment formed the attraction at the Pavilion on Bank Holiday. Miss Minnie Palmer sang “The Tin Gee-Gee” and a laughing song, both of which evidently greatly pleased the audience. Professor Etho’s performing dogs were also remarkably well trained. One of them danced on its hind legs on a large revolving wheel, while another turned a back somersault very cleverly. Master Campbell Goldsmid, who has a sweet soprano voice, also sang well, and was warmly encored for Wilfred Bendall’s song “The Pixies”. The gem of the entertainment was, however, Mr Charles Watkins’ humourous sketch. This gentleman is the most accomplished and remarkable whistler we have ever heard, and he seems to produce the sound in a totally different style and manner to that adopted by the ordinary whistler. In one part of the sketch he substituted a shrill little whistle for the letter “s” wherever it occurred, a feat we never heard anyone else accomplish. He sings well, too, but as regards his “patter” he made the mistake of pitching his voice a little too low, so that he was not very distinctly heard. A marvellous feature of his performance was playing a tune by rapping on the top of his head and modulating the sound to notes by opening and shutting his mouth. He also did this on his cheeks, on a knife between his teeth, on a walking stick, &c. THE BANK HOLIDAY – Although the sky looked wild on Monday, the majority of people thought, as there was so much wind, the rain would keep off. Accordingly, a number of our townsmen might have been seen, early in the morning, laden with baskets and hampers, evidently bent on picnicing excursions. An unusual number of excursionists also came into the town, and had the weather remained fine there can be no doubt the fete which the Foresters arranged would have been a great success. Unfortunately, however, shortly after noon, the wind dropped a little, and then the heavy clouds, which had been lowering all day, steadily discharged the moisture with which they were laden. It was rather pitiable to see so many strangers going about under umbrellas or taking every opportunity for shelter. The Arcade was full all the afternoon, and the Pavilion at the end of the pier proved quite a God-send. A great number of visitors found shelter and amusement there in the afternoon, and in the evening over 1200 paid for admission. The number of visitors to the town may be judged from the fact that there have never been so many travellers by the Pier Electric Railway. We understand from a good authority there were over 7000. The trams and steamers were also crowded. On Bank Holiday, when the streets were rather crowded with traffic, Colonel A Clarke, with Mrs Clarke and Miss Norah Clarke, were driving down Union Street in an open carriage. When near Mr Evans’ where the road suddenly shows a sharp gradient, the horse slipped and fell, and was unable to hold the carriage, which seemed very likely to be overturned. The occupants of the carriage were helped out at once, and by the promptitude of some watermen  standing near, the carriage was stopped and the horse restored to its feet. Some poems by Mrs Florence Clarke, can be found here. Return to 1890s Leisure page Return to 1890s Railway …

3 May, 2013View
Bank Holiday Entertainment in 1895

Isle of Wight Observer August 10, 1895 Bank Holiday entertainment in 1895 Quite a variety entertainment formed the attraction at the Pavilion on Bank Holiday. Miss Minnie Palmer sang “The Tin Gee-Gee” and a laughing song, both of which evidently greatly pleased the audience. Professor Etho’s performing dogs were also remarkably well trained. One of them danced on its hind legs on a large revolving wheel, while another turned a back somersault very cleverly. Master Campbell Goldsmid, who has a sweet soprano voice, also sang well, and was warmly encored for Wilfred Bendall’s song “The Pixies”. The gem of the entertainment was, however, Mr Charles Watkins’ humourous sketch. This gentleman is the most accomplished and remarkable whistler we have ever heard, and he seems to produce the sound in a totally different style and manner to that adopted by the ordinary whistler. In one part of the sketch he substituted a shrill little whistle for the letter “s” wherever it occurred, a feat we never heard anyone else accomplish. He sings well, too, but as regards his “patter” he made the mistake of pitching his voice a little too low, so that he was not very distinctly heard. A marvellous feature of his performance was playing a tune by rapping on the top of his head and modulating the sound to notes by opening and shutting his mouth. He also did this on his cheeks, on a knife between his teeth, on a walking stick, &c. THE BANK HOLIDAY – Although the sky looked wild on Monday, the majority of people thought, as there was so much wind, the rain would keep off. Accordingly, a number of our townsmen might have been seen, early in the morning, laden with baskets and hampers, evidently bent on picnicing excursions. An unusual number of excursionists also came into the town, and had the weather remained fine there can be no doubt the fete which the Foresters arranged would have been a great success. Unfortunately, however, shortly after noon, the wind dropped a little, and then the heavy clouds, which had been lowering all day, steadily discharged the moisture with which they were laden. It was rather pitiable to see so many strangers going about under umbrellas or taking every opportunity for shelter. The Arcade was full all the afternoon, and the Pavilion at the end of the pier proved quite a God-send. A great number of visitors found shelter and amusement there in the afternoon, and in the evening over 1200 paid for admission. The number of visitors to the town may be judged from the fact that there have never been so many travellers by the Pier Electric Railway. We understand from a good authority there were over 7000. The trams and steamers were also crowded. On Bank Holiday, when the streets were rather crowded with traffic, Colonel A Clarke, with Mrs Clarke and Miss Norah Clarke, were driving down Union Street in an open carriage. When near Mr Evans’ where the road suddenly shows a sharp gradient, the horse slipped and fell, and was unable to hold the carriage, which seemed very likely to be overturned. The occupants of the carriage were helped out at once, and by the promptitude of some watermen  standing near, the carriage was stopped and the horse restored to its feet. Some poems by Mrs Florence Clarke, can be found here. Return to 1890s Leisure page Return to 1890s Railway page Bank Holiday Entertainment Isle of Wight Observer August 10, 1895 Bank Holiday entertainment in 1895 Quite a variety entertainment formed the attraction at the Pavilion on Bank Holiday. Miss Minnie Palmer sang “The Tin Gee-Gee” and a laughing song, both of which evidently greatly pleased the audience. Professor Etho’s performing dogs were also remarkably well trained. One of them danced on its hind legs on a large revolving wheel, while another turned a back somersault very cleverly. Master Campbell Goldsmid, who has a sweet soprano voice, also sang well, and was warmly encored for Wilfred Bendall’s song “The Pixies”. The gem of the entertainment was, however, Mr Charles Watkins’ humourous sketch. This gentleman is the most accomplished and remarkable whistler we have ever heard, and he seems to produce the sound in a totally different style and manner to that adopted by the ordinary whistler. In one part of the sketch he substituted a shrill little whistle for the letter “s” wherever it occurred, a feat we never heard anyone else accomplish. He sings well, too, but as regards his “patter” he made the mistake of pitching his voice a little too low, so that he was not very distinctly heard. A marvellous feature of his performance was playing a tune by rapping on the top of his head and modulating the sound to notes by opening and shutting his mouth. He also did this on his cheeks, on a knife between his teeth, on a walking stick, &c. THE BANK HOLIDAY – Although the sky looked wild on Monday, the majority of people thought, as there was so much wind, the rain would keep off. Accordingly, a number of our townsmen might have been seen, early in the morning, laden with baskets and hampers, evidently bent on picnicing excursions. An unusual number of excursionists also came into the town, and had the weather remained fine there can be no doubt the fete which the Foresters arranged would have been a great success. Unfortunately, however, shortly after noon, the wind dropped a little, and then the heavy clouds, which had been lowering all day, steadily discharged the moisture with which they were laden. It was rather pitiable to see so many strangers going about under umbrellas or taking every opportunity for shelter. The Arcade was full all the afternoon, and the Pavilion at the end of the pier proved quite a God-send. A great number of visitors found shelter and amusement there in the afternoon, and in the evening over 1200 paid for admission. The number of visitors to the town may be judged from the fact that there have never been so many travellers by the Pier Electric Railway. We understand from a good authority there were over 7000. The trams and steamers were also crowded. On Bank Holiday, when the streets were rather crowded with traffic, Colonel A Clarke, with Mrs Clarke and Miss Norah Clarke, were driving down Union Street in an open carriage. When near Mr Evans’ where the road suddenly shows a sharp gradient, the horse slipped and fell, and was unable to hold the carriage, which seemed very likely to be overturned. The occupants of the carriage were helped out at once, and by the promptitude of some watermen  standing near, the carriage was stopped and the horse restored to its feet. Some poems by Mrs Florence Clarke, can be found here. Return to 1890s Leisure page Return to 1890s Railway …

23 September, 2023View
Bank Holiday in Ryde 1895

Bank Holiday Entertainment Isle of Wight Observer August 10, 1895 Bank Holiday in Ryde 1895 Quite a variety entertainment formed the attraction at the Pavilion on Bank Holiday. Miss Minnie Palmer sang “The Tin Gee-Gee” and a laughing song, both of which evidently greatly pleased the audience. Professor Etho’s performing dogs were also remarkably well trained. One of them danced on its hind legs on a large revolving wheel, while another turned a back somersault very cleverly. Master Campbell Goldsmid, who has a sweet soprano voice, also sang well, and was warmly encored for Wilfred Bendall’s song “The Pixies”. The gem of the entertainment was, however, Mr Charles Watkins’ humourous sketch. This gentleman is the most accomplished and remarkable whistler we have ever heard, and he seems to produce the sound in a totally different style and manner to that adopted by the ordinary whistler. In one part of the sketch he substituted a shrill little whistle for the letter “s” wherever it occurred, a feat we never heard anyone else accomplish. He sings well, too, but as regards his “patter” he made the mistake of pitching his voice a little too low, so that he was not very distinctly heard. A marvellous feature of his performance was playing a tune by rapping on the top of his head and modulating the sound to notes by opening and shutting his mouth. He also did this on his cheeks, on a knife between his teeth, on a walking stick, &c. THE BANK HOLIDAY – Although the sky looked wild on Monday, the majority of people thought, as there was so much wind, the rain would keep off. Accordingly, a number of our townsmen might have been seen, early in the morning, laden with baskets and hampers, evidently bent on picnicing excursions. An unusual number of excursionists also came into the town, and had the weather remained fine there can be no doubt the fete which the Foresters arranged would have been a great success. Unfortunately, however, shortly after noon, the wind dropped a little, and then the heavy clouds, which had been lowering all day, steadily discharged the moisture with which they were laden. It was rather pitiable to see so many strangers going about under umbrellas or taking every opportunity for shelter. The Arcade was full all the afternoon, and the Pavilion at the end of the pier proved quite a God-send. A great number of visitors found shelter and amusement there in the afternoon, and in the evening over 1200 paid for admission. The number of visitors to the town may be judged from the fact that there have never been so many travellers by the Pier Electric Railway. We understand from a good authority there were over 7000. The trams and steamers were also crowded. On Bank Holiday, when the streets were rather crowded with traffic, Colonel A Clarke, with Mrs Clarke and Miss Norah Clarke, were driving down Union Street in an open carriage. When near Mr Evans’ where the road suddenly shows a sharp gradient, the horse slipped and fell, and was unable to hold the carriage, which seemed very likely to be overturned. The occupants of the carriage were helped out at once, and by the promptitude of some watermen  standing near, the carriage was stopped and the horse restored to its feet. Some poems by Mrs Florence Clarke, can be found here. Return to 1890s Railway …

3 May, 2013View
Bathing at Priory Bay

A beautifully situated bay within easy reach of Ryde, where the best of bathing can be enjoyed from tents pitched on the shore. Here mixed bathing is conducted on the Continental system, which is so much appreciated by the English when abroad. A well-laid footpath along the sea-front connects this bay with Ryde. Return to homepage Return to Leisure in the 1900s …

4 November, 2023View
Bathing at Priory Bay

A beautifully situated bay within easy reach of Ryde, where the best of bathing can be enjoyed from tents pitched on the shore. Here mixed bathing is conducted on the Continental system, which is so much appreciated by the English when abroad. A well-laid footpath along the sea-front connects this bay with Ryde. Return to homepage Return to Leisure in the 1900s page     …

14 March, 2015View
Beachlands

Beachlands August 1892 Isle of Wight Observer, August 1892 By Order of the Trustees. “BEACHLANDS”, Ryde. For many years the Residence of the late Sir John Lees, Bart. Three days’ sale of the Valuable Furniture, Ornamental China, Books, Silver Plate, Plated Articles and other effects. MESSRS WALLIS, RIDDETT and DOWN have received instructions from the Trustees, to SELL by AUCTION, on the premises, on WEDNESDAY, August 31st, 1892, and two following days’ the VALUABLE CONTENTS of the above residence, including Buhl and marqueterie cabinets, large Pier and mantel glasses, a handsome Florentine mirror, nine gilt Louis XVI arm chairs, three gilt console tables, a valuable painted Italian table, oak and gilt chairs in needle-work, two cottage pianofortes, ormulu and crystal candelabra, a massive ormulu inkstand from the Tuileries, choice ornamental china, including a magnificent pair of Bloor Derby vases, 16 inches, and other fine specimens of Crown Derby, Dresden, and Oriental china, handsome Sevres, buhl and ormulu clocks, groups and statuettes of old French biscuit, several valuable bronzes, a large Turkey carpet, mahogany dining room furniture, a fine carved-oak table with inlaid top, Chippendale hall furniture, mahogany bureau, 1100 ounces of silver plate, and a large assortment of plated articles, including epergnes, candelabra, fruit stands, tankards, entrée dishes, dish covers, tea services, trays, &c. About 800 volumes of books, a large telescope on stand, the furniture of 18 bed and dressing rooms, including eight mahogany wardrobes, decorated pine suites, four cheval glasses, &c. Pretty Worcester dessert services, table glass, lots of coppers, and the usual appointments of the servants’ apartments, plants in pots and other effects. May be viewed on the preceding Monday and Tuesday. Catalogues may be had at the Auctioneers’ Offices, Town Hall Chambers, Ryde Return to main Houses …

19 April, 2013View
Beachlands August 1892

Isle of Wight Observer, August 1892 By Order of the Trustees. “BEACHLANDS”, Ryde. For many years the Residence of the late Sir John Lees, Bart. Three days’ sale of the Valuable Furniture, Ornamental China, Books, Silver Plate, Plated Articles and other effects. MESSRS WALLIS, RIDDETT and DOWN have received instructions from the Trustees, to SELL by AUCTION, on the premises, on WEDNESDAY, August 31st, 1892, and two following days’ the VALUABLE CONTENTS of the above residence, including Buhl and marqueterie cabinets, large Pier and mantel glasses, a handsome Florentine mirror, nine gilt Louis XVI arm chairs, three gilt console tables, a valuable painted Italian table, oak and gilt chairs in needle-work, two cottage pianofortes, ormulu and crystal candelabra, a massive ormulu inkstand from the Tuileries, choice ornamental china, including a magnificent pair of Bloor Derby vases, 16 inches, and other fine specimens of Crown Derby, Dresden, and Oriental china, handsome Sevres, buhl and ormulu clocks, groups and statuettes of old French biscuit, several valuable bronzes, a large Turkey carpet, mahogany dining room furniture, a fine carved-oak table with inlaid top, Chippendale hall furniture, mahogany bureau, 1100 ounces of silver plate, and a large assortment of plated articles, including epergnes, candelabra, fruit stands, tankards, entrée dishes, dish covers, tea services, trays, &c. About 800 volumes of books, a large telescope on stand, the furniture of 18 bed and dressing rooms, including eight mahogany wardrobes, decorated pine suites, four cheval glasses, &c. Pretty Worcester dessert services, table glass, lots of coppers, and the usual appointments of the servants’ apartments, plants in pots and other effects. May be viewed on the preceding Monday and Tuesday. Catalogues may be had at the Auctioneers’ Offices, Town Hall Chambers, Ryde Return to main Houses …

23 September, 2023View
Beachlands August 1892

Isle of Wight Observer, August 1892 By Order of the Trustees. “BEACHLANDS”, Ryde. For many years the Residence of the late Sir John Lees, Bart. Three days’ sale of the Valuable Furniture, Ornamental China, Books, Silver Plate, Plated Articles and other effects. MESSRS WALLIS, RIDDETT and DOWN have received instructions from the Trustees, to SELL by AUCTION, on the premises, on WEDNESDAY, August 31st, 1892, and two following days’ the VALUABLE CONTENTS of the above residence, including Buhl and marqueterie cabinets, large Pier and mantel glasses, a handsome Florentine mirror, nine gilt Louis XVI arm chairs, three gilt console tables, a valuable painted Italian table, oak and gilt chairs in needle-work, two cottage pianofortes, ormulu and crystal candelabra, a massive ormulu inkstand from the Tuileries, choice ornamental china, including a magnificent pair of Bloor Derby vases, 16 inches, and other fine specimens of Crown Derby, Dresden, and Oriental china, handsome Sevres, buhl and ormulu clocks, groups and statuettes of old French biscuit, several valuable bronzes, a large Turkey carpet, mahogany dining room furniture, a fine carved-oak table with inlaid top, Chippendale hall furniture, mahogany bureau, 1100 ounces of silver plate, and a large assortment of plated articles, including epergnes, candelabra, fruit stands, tankards, entrée dishes, dish covers, tea services, trays, &c. About 800 volumes of books, a large telescope on stand, the furniture of 18 bed and dressing rooms, including eight mahogany wardrobes, decorated pine suites, four cheval glasses, &c. Pretty Worcester dessert services, table glass, lots of coppers, and the usual appointments of the servants’ apartments, plants in pots and other effects. May be viewed on the preceding Monday and Tuesday. Catalogues may be had at the Auctioneers’ Offices, Town Hall Chambers, Ryde Return to main Houses …

22 October, 2022View
BEAUTIFUL SPIN OF 100 YARDS

A Beautiful Spin – 1865 Isle of Wight Observer May 13, 1865 For some time past the sporting fraternity of this celebrated watering place have been deeply interested in a talked-of running match between a tall well-known runner of considerable pretensions and a little kettle-drummer of the Ryde Volunteer battalion band. Monday last was fixed for the contending parties to test their respective abilities, when both lads came to scratch in a condition that reflected the highest credit on their trainers. As they made their preliminary arrangements, never was a greater physical disparity exhibited between two contending parties; but “Little Billy” looked up at his wiry, gigantic antagonist, nothing daunted at his defiant attitude. According to agreement, the professional allowed two yards start, and each youth toed his scratch with the utmost confidence in his flying powers; the backers of both lads betting level. A capital start was effected, the long and rapid strides of the Big-un being the admiration of all who had the pleasure of witnessing such a race; but the “Little Wonder” seemed to possess the advantage of flying in the air and gradually drawing away from his opponent, he came in an easy winner by 4 yards – congratulating his father, who had won a “bob” over the morning’s transaction. The arrangements on the ground were most exemplary – fair play being the order of the day. SPRIGHTLY SPRING – Our town and environs are now decked in Nature’s choicest costume; perfumed with the balmiest scents; and charmed with the song of the mellifluous nightingale and the quaint cuckoo, and the choruses of lesser birds. The foliage of trees and hedgerows is shaded with every imaginable tint of green; the chestnut, the lilac, and the laburnam, vie with the May Queen in scenting the air; so that all is more lovely now than at any other time of year. STORM – After sunset on Monday night electric clouds began to gather in this locality, and about 10 o’clock flashes of lightning were seen. These flashes gradually increased in intensity, until about 2 o’clock on Tuesday morning, when the storm culminated, and for two hours the Island was wrapped in electric flames; the thunder resembled peals of artillery – sounds to which we are accustomed in Ryde – and seemed to shake the heaven and the earth, and most certainly did shake the nerves of both the strong and the weak; at the same time the windows of heaven seemed opened again for a second deluge. As the quarry of Fanaticism has been rather heavily worked in Ryde lately, and the town placarded with bills announcing “the second coming of Jesus”, many deluded folk fell a-praying, and rushed into the streets for help. However, He who rules the storm for the wise purposes of Nature heeded not such exhibitions, but went on with His glorious work – purifying the air, revivifying the earth, and filling the natural reservoirs with the health-giving spring. When will vain and puny man consider himself a link, not the chain? Return to 1860s Military …

19 November, 2022View
Beginnings of Ryde Pier

Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle October 1st 1810 BEGINNINGS OF RYDE PIER Notice is hereby given that Application is intended to be made to Parliament in the ensuing Session, for leave to bring in a Bill, in order to obtain an Act of Parliament for extending and completing the Pier lately made at Ryde, in the Parish of Newchurch, in the Isle of Wight, in the County of Southampton: and that it is intended, in completing such Pier, to extend the same from its present termination as far as low water mark, so as to permit the landing of passengers on the same at all times of tide. Minchin and Weddell Solicitors, Gosport. Notice is hereby given, that an Application will be made to Parliament, in the coming Sessions, for leave to bring in a Bill to erect a Market-House and Market-Place, in the town of Ryde, in the parish of Newchurch, in the Isle of Wight, in the County of Southampton, and that the same is intended  to form part of the Bill of which notice has been given, for obtaining an Act, to complete and extend the Pier, lately made at Ryde, aforesaid. Minchin and Weddell Solicitors, Gosport.  September 20, 1810 VALUABLE PROPERTY – ISLE OF WIGHT To be SOLD by AUCTION, at the Bugle Inn, Newport, on Thursday, the fourth of October, 1810, at four o’clock in the afternoon, (unless previously disposed of by Private Contract) Lot 1 – all those valuable Premises, situated at Lower Ryde, and comprising that capital and long established INN called the BUGLE, occupying one of the first situations for trade in the Island, together with the coach-houses, stables, convenient wharf for landing passengers, and a piece of land adjoining. These very eligible premises are now in full trade, being the constant resort of passengers by the Mail Coach, and other conveyances from Newport, and by the packet vessels and boats from Portsmouth. The views of the Motherbank, Stoke’s Bay, Spithead and Portsmouth, are extensive and uninterrupted: and this truly important situation for trade is rendered still more valuable by the large East and West India Fleets, which are often detained by contrary winds for many weeks together,  at a small distance from the shore. The above property is held upon lease of 99 years, determinable on three young lives, and subject to a small yearly quit rent. The Bugle was situated at the dry end of Ryde Pier and later replaced by The Royal Pier Hotel. Return to Ryde Pier page …

19 April, 2013View
Bicycle Championship

The 25 Mile Bicycle Championship….. Open to Island Amateurs Isle of Wight Observer, November 24, 1883 We scarcely think it necessary to remind our readers that this race will take place next Tuesday, at 2 o’clock, round the Canoe Lake. As we notice the interest in the race has increased and is now very intense, we anticipate, with favourable weather, a very large gathering to witness the event. The authorities have carried out our suggestion, and have carefully repaired the track, which we venture to say will be in such a state by the 27th that no one will be able to complain. The silver cup to be awarded to the winner has been on view in Messrs J and A Morgan’s establishment in Union-street. It is of solid silver, gilt on the inside, and was supplied by Mr Rickard, of High-street, at a cost of £5 5s. Certainly it is of elegant design, and a not unsubstantial reward. The money for the cup and medals has been very willingly subscribed by inhabitants of the town, so that the cup presented by the President of the Club will remain to be raced on for another occasion. All competitors, except Mr Richardson of Freshwater, have now been on the Ryde track, so that one should be better able to judge of their respective powers, but we have no doubt that the state of the weather will influence the result materially at this season of the year. Certainly some riders will do comparatively better on a windy day, while others wish for a calm. If the wind is high it will mlake a difference in the number of time medals to be awarded, for although we anticipate the race will be won under 90 minutes on a quiet day when probably all would obtain medals, yet a very high wind will prolong the race another ten minutes and prevent several riders doing the distance under the 105 minutes. Mr Tarrant has this week been riding an entirely new machine, which he has just purchased. It is ten pounds lighter than the machine he was to have ridden, which is a great advantage on a good course. It seems to suit him remarkably well, and of the Ryde men he is undoubtedly the favourite, though Mr Marvin rides remarkably well, especially against the wind, and if it blows he has a splendid chance. Mr Smith will fortunately be able to ride, and is even now but little the worse for his accident. Mr Case, of Newport, has not entered, but Master Walters, of the Rev Goulden’s school, will make one of the starters, hoping to secure a time medal. We admire this young gentleman’s pluck. The general opinion is that either Peel or Tarrant will win, with Messrs Marvin, Feltham, Joyce, Colenutt and Smith well up. RYDE AND NEWPORT RAILWAY – Early on Tuesday morning the engine attached to the train from Newport to Ryde gave out at the Ashey station and could not get into Ryde. The result was that the company were obliged to miss their 8.50 train, and some little inconvenience, not to say alarm, was caused. The train came through the station about 10 30 and was cheered by some of those waiting. Return to 1880s Leisure …

3 May, 2013View
Binstead and Ryde Cricket Club 1852

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. Return to Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
Bird Life in the Town

Isle of Wight Observer October 26, 1895 On Tuesday a couple of martins were seen flying very near the ground up and down Union Street. A carriage, or something of the sort, suddenly diverted the birds from their course, and they flew straight into the establishment of Mr Richard Colenutt, the well-known wine merchant. Their struggles to get through the window excited some little alarm, for it was feared they would knock down some of the bottles, which might, easily in their fall, break the glass. At the expense of no small amount of trouble the intruders were caught, and again set free in their native element. It is not often these birds are seen flying in the main street of this town so low that when turned in their flight they fly into a shop. Doubtless, however, they were picking up the few stray house flies that still remain, and will soon be starting again to a southern region. Their rendezvous, before finally going south, is St Thomas’ Church Spire. Last year about this time, large numbers of these birds were seen on or around this spire, from which they seemed to start in a body. Although not the fastest of the swallow tribe they are endowed with very considerable powers of flight. Some years ago a gentleman caught a martin as she was entering her nest, and, by way of experiment, carried her by rail a distance of 15 miles and set her free. She was carefully timed, and was said to have got back to her nest in less than 13 minutes! It is evident, therefore, to a bird that can fly at the rate of a hundred miles an hour, a journey to Africa is soon accomplished. The tower of St Thomas’ has also been colonised by a number of Jackdaws, who during the summer have deserted it, finding plenty of food in the surrounding fields and woods. These have now returned, and have resumed their winter quarters. They collect contributions of food from the neighbouring houses, the inhabitants of which are always glad to see the friendly birds again. There are a few starlings which also go around and pick up food in the same neighbourhood. By the way, as a contrast between the powers of flight of various birds, we may state that a starling liberated like the martin above referred to took an hour and a half to cover the same distance. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Blinds and Iron uprights

Isle of Wight Observer September 1855 Observer September 20, 1855 – Blinds and Iron uprights Sir, – Through the medium of your useful paper I beg to draw the attention of the Commissioners to the nuisance done here, by many shopkeepers, in keeping up their blinds and iron uprights for many hours after the sun has ceased to annoy them, and many of them are not very ornamental. I have frequently remarked that the iron uprights are left standing long after dark, and where the streets are narrow many persons come in contact with them, at the risk of having their teeth knocked out or getting a black eye. Hoping this nuisance may be abated,I remain, your obedient servant,A VISITOR. Return to shop letters …

15 July, 2023View
BOROUGH OF RYDE – 1870

THE MAYOR – George Fellows Harrington, Esq.ALDERMEN – Joseph Paul, Geo F Harrington, Edward Thurlow – Until Nov 9, 1871Thomas Dashwood, James Fairall, James Dashwood – Until Nov 9, 1874COUNCILLORS – East Ward – Thos Raine Felgate, George Garnett, Thomas Sibley – Until Nov 9, 1870Thomas White, Joseph Futcher, George Barkham – Until Nov 9, 1871Edmund Cooper, Edward Marvin, jun, John Bevins – Until Nov 9, 1872 Town Clerk and Clerk to the Local Board: W H PullenBorough Surveyor: Francis Newman CEBorough Treasurer: T W EldlridgeTreasurer to the Local Board: C RobertsRoad Surveyor and Inspector of Nuisances: A SivellRate Collector: W F HelyerSuperintendent of Police: John Henry BurtSuperintendent of Cemetery: Henry MewTurncock: David ChesselTown Sergeant and Town Crier – Henry Buckett This is one of the Ryde Town Sergeant’s uniforms, dating from the 19th century.Perhaps it belonged to Henry …

25 February, 2023View
Bread

High price of bread Isle of Wight Times January 19, 1882 DEAR BREAD – Dear Sir – It has been opportunely shown that in August last the average price of wheat was 47s 1d, in September 55s 2d, in October 46s 9d, and at the opening of the present year 44s 3d per quarter. If anything, the rates have decreased a trifle during the past week. Now when the rise took place four months ago the bakers increased the price of a four pound loaf by one penny, and in the majority of cases the rate remains the same, notwithstanding the fact that wheat is now cheaper than it was before the additional penny was exacted from the consumer. There has been no augmentation in the cost of labour, and journeymen bakers are still amongst the worst paid skilled labourers in the country. It is a question between the wholesale market price of wheat and retail price of the manufactured loaf. No adventitious circumstances have arisen to justify the maintenance of an addition of twelve and a half per cent upon the price of the four pound loaf. For little more than one month there may have been a fair pretext for the increase, but why the September rate should now be maintained, perhaps only the bakers can say. I think, Sir, this is a question which affects most of the community, and, unless there is a more justifiable reason for the “dear loaf” than I can conceive, cheaper rates should be called for. I am, Sir, yours truly, A BREAD WINNER STREET ANNOYANCE Sir, I beg to suggest for the protection of the residents in Ryde that the President of the College, and the Principles of all the Schools here should be requested (or enforced if necessary) to inflict heavy fines on all boys, or “hobbledehoys”, under their care – found to be in possession of Catapults – one of the “infernal machines” at the present time so distructively in use in the Isle of Wight, but most particularly in Ryde. I make this request feelingly as I have two large plate glass window panes smashed and a frame of ornamental glass in my portio also destroyed. I think if we can obtain security by these means we shall soon be able to fix any misdeeds, on the “roughs” of Ryde and have them punished forthwith. I remain, Sir, Your obedient servant, A L Return to 1880s Letters …

26 May, 2013View
BREAD

High price of bread Isle of Wight Times January 19, 1882 DEAR BREAD – Dear Sir – It has been opportunely shown that in August last the average price of wheat was 47s 1d, in September 55s 2d, in October 46s 9d, and at the opening of the present year 44s 3d per quarter. If anything, the rates have decreased a trifle during the past week. Now when the rise took place four months ago the bakers increased the price of a four pound loaf by one penny, and in the majority of cases the rate remains the same, notwithstanding the fact that wheat is now cheaper than it was before the additional penny was exacted from the consumer. There has been no augmentation in the cost of labour, and journeymen bakers are still amongst the worst paid skilled labourers in the country. It is a question between the wholesale market price of wheat and retail price of the manufactured loaf. No adventitious circumstances have arisen to justify the maintenance of an addition of twelve and a half per cent upon the price of the four pound loaf. For little more than one month there may have been a fair pretext for the increase, but why the September rate should now be maintained, perhaps only the bakers can say. I think, Sir, this is a question which affects most of the community, and, unless there is a more justifiable reason for the “dear loaf” than I can conceive, cheaper rates should be called for.I am, Sir, yours truly,A BREAD WINNER STREET ANNOYANCESir, I beg to suggest for the protection of the residents in Ryde that the President of the College, and the Principles of all the Schools here should be requested (or enforced if necessary) to inflict heavy fines on all boys, or “hobbledehoys”, under their care – found to be in possession of Catapults – one of the “infernal machines” at the present time so distructively in use in the Isle of Wight, but most particularly in Ryde. I make this request feelingly as I have two large plate glass window panes smashed and a frame of ornamental glass in my portio also destroyed. I think if we can obtain security by these means we shall soon be able to fix any misdeeds, on the “roughs” of Ryde and have them punished forthwith.I remain, Sir,Your obedient servant, A L Return to 1880s Letters …

26 August, 2023View
Brigstocke Terrace Fire – 1853

Isle of Wight Observer October 29, 1853 FIRE – A fire broke out at Number 2, Brigstocke Terrace, the residence of Capt and Miss Christian, on Wednesday morning at one o’clock, which threatened destruction to the whole pile of buildings. It appears that Miss Christian, who was suffering severely from face-ache, had retired to rest, but in getting up to seek relief had fainted and fallen, and the candle set fire to the valence. Half suffocated, she aroused and gave alarm. The fire engines were sent for, and then ensued that confusion which we always expected would arise upon such an emergency. There is no Fire-bell to arouse the brigade; their places of abode were unknown; when the engine arrived, a part of the hose was missing, – it had been shaken off on the way; then the engine could not be got on the north front where the fire was, and the hose was not long enough to reach when the engine was in the street; ultimately it was brought to the south front and the hose carried up stairs; then it was found the suction pipe was stopped – a piece of rope had unaccountably got into it; then there was NO WATER LAID ON; people had to run about to borrow buckets to fetch water. To make “confusion worse confounded” all were masters, and upwards of an hour was already wasted, and nothing done. The fire all this time was spending its fury upon a feather bed, and Miss Christian fortunately shut the door on leaving the room, so that it did not spread, otherwise the engine would have been powerless. The furniture in the room was destroyed, the floor burnt through, and all the paint was scorched off that and the adjoining rooms by the excessive heat: the water afterwards did more injury than the fire. The inmates escaped uninjured. The furniture was insured in the Kent Mutual Insurance Office. The damage to the furniture and house is estimated at £500 or £600. This is the third fire which has occurred upon the Player property. A few years ago their church was struck by lightning, and more recently Manor House was on fire. We presume all their property is insured, as they are indifferent about a water supply.[The above Fire Company (of which Mr Marvin is the Agent) sent down an Inspector, and satisfactorily settled the amount of damages within 24 hours.] THE TERRACE FIRE To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer. Sir, Having been aroused, I hastened to the scene of the late fire, which at one time threatened the destruction of that noble building. I found the engine shortly manned; the men that were there exerting themselves to the utmost; and the engine playing her part well. It is to be regretted that there is no Fire Bell in the town to call the brigade together, it is true that the bell of the Messrs Dashwood has been offered, but who will venture to ring it when there is a large dog kept loose in the yard. It is also to be regretted that there is no road in front of the Terrace so that the engine could have been got there and the hose played directly on. And as regards ladders fortunately there were some close at hand at the new building, showing the necessity that there should be ladders kept ready at hand and often examined, and the engine practised by the brigade, who ought to wear some distinguishing mark whereby they might be known by the police and others, as mistakes of this kind actually occurred; two of the brigade having entered the house were ordered back by the police, wlthough requested by Capt Christian to keep themselves in readiness should a further outbreak take place. Great praise is due to Mr Kitson, also to the Coopers for their exertions, and among the gentlemen assisting I observed Mr R W Bloxam, Mr T Dashwood, Mr Ratcliffe, Mr James Woodrow, Crown Hotel, and others.FROM ONE WHO ASSISTED To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, the recent fire in Brigstocke Terrace brings to my recollection the one that occurred some years ago at Manor House. I trust that those who used their endeavours to put it out will meet with better compensation than I did. Hearing there was a fire at Manor House I instantly hastened there, and finding the upper story was not yet ignited, myself with two others climbed from the timber yard adjoining (where the Club House now stands) over the outhouses till we reached the main roof. We pulled off the large stone slates, and after some difficulty, made a hole in the ceiling, through which we got, and commenced saving beds, chairs, and all the moveable furniture that we could; the engine playing from the front into the windows at the same time. The consequence was we were drenched with wet, and our clothes torn so as to be not fit for wear again. I am happy to say the fire was subdued. When leaving that premises, I was told by a town official that my conduct had been approvingly noticed, and I was entitled – to a pint of beer! Being thirsty with so much exertion, I did go to partake of it, when I found I was forestalled, as the small amount allowed was consumed by the thirsty souls who had arrived before me. Such remismess displayed towards others as well as myself, would not prevent me from using my best endeavours at any time to help put a fire out; nevertheless, working men should have their clothes replaced, and not be losers for their pains, at least so thinks one who believes thatA FRIEND IN NEED IS A FRIEND INDEED. Isle of WIght Observer, November 5 1853THE LATE FIRE – We are glad to be able to state that the body of men who assisted to extinguish the fire which occurred at No 2, Brigstocke terrace last week, have been liberally renumerated by the Player family. Each man received 15s. at the office of the steward Mr T B Hearn on Wednesday last. Isle of Wight Observer, November 12 1853THE TERRACE FIRE  – We feel gratified to state that the working classes who assisted at the fire, have been handsomely remunerated (with the exception of about four deserving individuals who it is to be hoped will not be forgotten as their names escaped the collector’s notice) which will be a further inducement to exert themselves in the future protection of lives and property. Number 2, Brigstocke Terrace, was the scene of earlier dramatic events, in 1851, during election riots in Ryde. This event is documented on Ryde Social Heritage Group’s website. to go to this page, …

11 March, 2023View
Brookfield Fire

Isle of Wight Observer July 16 1859 FIRE AT LORD BURGHLEY’S RESIDENCE, BROOKFIELD, RYDEOn, Sunday, about 1.20 pm, a horse was furiously ridden to the police station and engine house, and the messenger announced that there was a fire at Brookfield. In the short space of 20 minutes, such is the efficiency of the fire brigade, and the readiness of the inhabitants to assist, the engine was on the spot in full working, notwithstanding that the water had to be fetched from a pond in the field aout 200 feet distant. On arriving on the spot immediately the fire was made known, we found that the fire was confined to the coach-house and stables, the greater part of the roof and loft floor of which was in flames. The firemen, however, soon commenced operations, and at 3.45 the fire was entirely subdued. Fortunately the horses, carriages, and a great part of the harness were saved, and the damage to the building is not great. The stablemen, whose rooms were over the coach-house, suffered the greatest loss, as all their clothes were destroyed. Amongst the debris  we observed two patent “Fire Annihilators”, which, as usual, either for the want of knowledge of how to use them, or other causes, were of no service whatsoever. One thing should be mentioned, and that is, for the want of a sufficient length of hose (or rather because the hose of one engine will not fit that of the other, and thus cannot be made available) a vast amount of extra heavy-labour was required to get the water from the pond to the engine, instead of the engine being close to the pond. To all who assisted, the greatest credit is due, and perhaps we may, without being invidious, particularly name Capt. and Miss Brigstocke, who worked hard in getting the water and directing operations, and their conduct was in strong contrast to that of a lot of buckram tradesmen who stood by without offering to lend the slightest help whatever. Were either of their premises on fire, would they like to be treated so? Of course, such labour is purely voluntary, but we think they would have shewn better taste, if they were too lazy to lend a helping hand, if they had walked off from the scene of destruction. The police also rendered most efficient aid, the whole, with the exception of one, being on the spot. Return to fire-fighting …

11 March, 2023View
Bruised hat due to low awnings

Bruised hat due to low awnings! November 1858 Isle of Wight Observer November 1858 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, another season has been passed by me in a most agreeable manner at the charming town of Ryde, and being once more in my comfortable home, where, by my fireside on Saturday evenings I receive and read, as usual, with much gratification, your extremely amusing and intellectual Observer, in which you do not spare your fellow-townsmen if they deserve your censure, nor your praise and support when they merit it, and knowing the influence you possess in the minds of the good people of Ryde, will you do me the favour of trying once more to abate that intolerable nuisance, the low awnings in front of some of the shops in Union-street, and which have again obliged me to spend my money upon a new hat, owing to the bruises and knocks which the old one received in passing a shop nearly opposite to Yelf’s-hotel, the owner of which, a straw hat or bonnet maker, most obstinately persists, by the lowness of his awning, in rendering that side of the street almost impassible, even for moderately tall people? Pray insert this in your next number, and oblige your friend and admirer, LD SARUM There is also need of reformation in this point in many shops in the High-street. Salisbury, 12th October, 1858 Return to Letters about …

15 July, 2023View
Business Changes 1884

Isle of Wight Observer June 28, 1884 Business Changes 1884 BUSINESS CHANGES – Persons returning to Ryde after an absence of a few years would not fail to notice the changes which have taken place. They would doubtless admire the new business quarter in High-street, but would be more struck by the changes which have taken place in the oldest street in the town – Pier-street. For a great number of years the large house, known as Union House, was a railway enquiry office. That will shortly be opened as a restaurant. From time immemorial the shop near it has been occupied by a chemist. That is now closed, and our respected townsman, Mr T S Flower, has removed therefrom to the house next to Mr Hooper’s fine premises. Those who admire the neat and tasteful appearance of Mr Flower’s new establishment will almost fail to recognise it as the dingy old-fashioned place in which the late Mr Moses formerly carried on business. The change has been complete, and the improvement to the street near Mr Hooper’s is very considerable. We trust Mr Flower will be successful in his new business premises, and that the old shop will soon find a tenant. The work of alteration has been carried out by Mr Hiram Jenkins. The only old-fashioned house in Pier-street now is Mrs Parsons’ restaurant, which, as a genuine relic of old Ryde, we hope will long escape the inevitable changes which time, sooner or later, brings. The following image looks west along Pier Street. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
Busy Bee Quiz Night

We are pleased to announce that Busy Bee Garden Centre has agreed to sponsor the next Quiz Night, to coincide with the opening of their new store. Busy Bee has been spending the last few months building a state of the art Garden Centre with Glass Atrium, Restaurant with balcony, disabled access and a glass fronted entrance hall. For more information about Busy Bee Garden Centre and date of opening of the new store visit the Busy Bee website …

15 July, 2023View
Cab men′s Shelter

Isle of Wight Observer December 20, 1890 Sir, May I relate an incident in connection with the Cabmen’s Shelter on the Esplanade? A week or ten days ago, it occurred to me that the men using this shelter must have rather a dull time of it during this cold weather, so one day I went in and asked them if they had any thing there to read? The men replied –  there were six or seven present – that they had nothing, but would much like to have, so I said that if one of them would call at my house I would be glad to give them some books and magazines. Accordingly one of them did come up, on Tuesday evening last, and I gave him a large bound volume of “Our own Fireside” magazine, a book about Stanley’s travels, “The voyage of the Sunbeam”, and some six or eight miscellaneous magazines. I said the books were to remain in the shelter permanently, and wrote to the effect inside them. The magazines were to remain there a month, at the end of which they might divide them between them, and I would supply a fresh lot from time to time. This morning one of the cabmen came to me as I was passing to say it was no use my giving books to the shelter as the men would not allow them to remain, and that everything I had sent had been taken away! Can you tell me under what regulations the men enjoy the use of this shelter, to whom it belongs, and to whom they are responsible, if to any one? Is there any means by which books, &c., given to the shelter, for the use of the men there, can be secured? One would like to do something to render the hours these poor fellows ahve to spend there a little more cheeful, but if this is to be the way the first effort is received by them what is to be done?I am, Sir, yours truly,A Resident The shelter can be seen behind the fountain in the middle of Ryde Esplanade. Return to the 1890s letters …

25 March, 2023View
Cab men′s Shelter

Isle of Wight Observer December 20, 1890 Sir, May I relate an incident in connection with the Cabmen’s Shelter on the Esplanade? A week or ten days ago, it occurred to me that the men using this shelter must have rather a dull time of it during this cold weather, so one day I went in and asked them if they had any thing there to read? The men replied –  there were six or seven present – that they had nothing, but would much like to have, so I said that if one of them would call at my house I would be glad to give them some books and magazines. Accordingly one of them did come up, on Tuesday evening last, and I gave him a large bound volume of “Our own Fireside” magazine, a book about Stanley’s travels, “The voyage of the Sunbeam”, and some six or eight miscellaneous magazines. I said the books were to remain in the shelter permanently, and wrote to the effect inside them. The magazines were to remain there a month, at the end of which they might divide them between them, and I would supply a fresh lot from time to time. This morning one of the cabmen came to me as I was passing to say it was no use my giving books to the shelter as the men would not allow them to remain, and that everything I had sent had been taken away! Can you tell me under what regulations the men enjoy the use of this shelter, to whom it belongs, and to whom they are responsible, if to any one? Is there any means by which books, &c., given to the shelter, for the use of the men there, can be secured? One would like to do something to render the hours these poor fellows ahve to spend there a little more cheeful, but if this is to be the way the first effort is received by them what is to be done?I am, Sir, yours truly,A Resident The shelter can be seen behind the fountain in the middle of Ryde Esplanade. Return to the 1890s letters …

23 September, 2023View
Calendar of Events

20 May, 2022View
Captain Buckett and Fire – Fighters keep busy!

The Fire Brigade Isle of Wight Observer July 3, 1875 THE FIRE BRIGADE- The local Fire Brigade, under Capt Buckett, went out for practice on Thursday night with the hose and reel. They went to the Esplanade first, testing the force of the hydrants, and then proceeded to the Nelson-street Chapel the front part of which had a thorough good washing. Several houses in Cross-street were also subjected to the same ordeal. ALARM OF FIRE Isle of Wight Observer January 22, 1870 On Friday evening last, between 9 and 10 o’clock, a little girl was passing up Union-road, when she saw dense volumes os smoke issuing from the roof of Mr Leonard Halstead’s workshops, which is situated next door to Mr Cheverton’s wine and spirit stores. Mr Buckett, at the Town-hall, as well as the police, were speedily communicated with, and they were on the spot almost with the rapidity of lightning; indeed, within a quarter of an hour from the time of the alarm, 19 out of the 20 firemen were there at work with the hose and the plug. It is a subject relfecting the highest credit on our local firemen, whose prompt exertions were undoubtedly the means of saving a great destruction of valuable property. It appears that the workmen in the employ of Mr Halstead had, on Friday afternoon been melting lead, for which purpose they had kept up a large fire, which heated the back of the fire place so much that some tarred planking at the back of the bricks began to sweal (sic) and at the time the girl first saw the smoke, had burnt out and caught some of the wood work of the ceiling on fire. The firemen carried the hose over the roof to the spot where the fire was burning, and by dint of great exertion got it under by 12 o’clock. In the upper part of the workshops there are two rooms, one of which is used for storing paper, and this was immediately removed. As it was, the ceiling was much scorched; and in the work room, from which it is divided by a thin partition, there was a large hole burnt in the ceiling. the lower part of the building is used as a store for turpentine, oil, &c., and contained a large quantity of these dangerous materials. Had the fire caught hold of these, there would probably have been an explosion, and considering that the next building was filled with wines and spirits, and moreover that it is only separated by a thin brick wall, we have much reason to be thankful that the fire was so promptly suppressed. The greatest possible credit is due to Mr Buckett, and the firemen generally; also to the police, who did all in their power and watched the premises all night in case of further outbreak. The damage fortunately is trifling, not exceeding £20, and that appears to have been caused more by water than fire. The building, we understand, is insured, but not Mr Halstead’s stock. Fire, April 1889 Isle of Wight Observer April 27, 1889 On Sunday morning at five o’ clock a waterman named Harry Smith was passing the Pier Hotel, going towards the Pier when he observed flames in the coffee-room. He gave information to Harry Gladdis, a toll-collector at the Pier, and then notified the fact to the fire brigade and the police, who quickly arrived. Gladdis succeeded in giving warning at the hotel, and the small hand-engine kept on the premises, together with the plentiful supply of water from the large tank on the top of the building, sufficed, when the casing of the window which was burning had been pulled down, to extinguish the flames without the use of the hose. Considerable damage was done to the carpets and furniture, as well as to the new wallpaper. The place was full of visitors, but very few of them were aware of what had occurred until the next morning. The fire is attributed to the over-heating of the flue from the new range which has been placed under the coffee-room, a large fire having been kept up for the purpose of supplying hot water in all parts of the building. The damage is estimated at from £150 to £200. – Another fire occurred on Tuesday morning, at about four o’clock, on the premises of Mr A Bevis, hosier &c., Union-street. It seems that some passengers from the mail-boat, in coming up the Pier, observed smoke issuing from the chimneys, and, in walking up Union-street, they smelt the smoke. A little boy named Norris, aged about 13 or 14, ran to the police station and called Mr Supt. Hinks and several fire-men, and the Captain of the fire-brigade (Mr C Langdon) was also summoned. The hose and reel soon arrived – indeed, we are informed that the fire brigade turned out quicker than they have done for a score of years. The door was burst open, and Mr F Morant on his hands and knees gallantly took in the nozzle and water was poured on the seat of the fire. The shutters were broken down and a second hose was brought into action and the full force of the water speedily extinguished the fire. The stock was greatly damaged by the smoke. Mr Bevis is moving lower down the street and his furniture had already been shifted. Workmen had been engaged on Monday in taking down the fittings, and the stock was to have been removed on Tuesday. the cause of the fire is unknown. The damage has been valued at from £150 to …

11 March, 2023View
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. Return to 1860s Railway …

19 November, 2022View
Centre Upgrade

‘Ryde District Heritage Centre will be closed from 4pm, February 22 until the end of March, in order to change displays. Apologies for any inconvenience caused. We look forward to seeing you all after the 18th, when the new-look Centre will be …

4 November, 2023View
Charity in 19th century Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer January 25th, 1890 St Faith’s Preventive Home – the report of this excellent charity (which originated in the kindly heart of Mrs Worsley), has just been issued, together with the balance sheet. The report acknowledges, with great thankfulness, the kind help given at the sale of work, in Easter last. With hands thus strengthened the managers have been enabled to rescue and provide for several more children. Two homeless little ones have been saved from the itinerant life of destitute tramps. During the year eleven children have been sheltered and sent to other homes, and twelve remain in at present. The Home cost £215 to support, and £296 were collected for it, so that there is a balance in hand of £81. The report is signed Mrs A W Spring and Mrs M R Tomlin, as visitors; and Mrs Worsley as Secretary. The Refuge Home, Ryde – The annual report of the above home, which has just been issued, says; “We do indeed need continued and increased support, for the nature of many of the cases received and helped is a very large expense to the funds; and in a refuge how can we turn adrift, without an effort to influence for good, those who seek our sympathy? Thirty-three girls have passed through during the past year, and we do ask earnestly for more subscriptions to carry on the work. The continued assistance and ever ready aid afforded by Messrs Rich and Davies, as well as kind gifts of clothing, meat, fruit and vegetables have been invaluable, for which we render our heartiest thanks. We are sorry to find from the financial statement there is a balance due to the hon. treasure of £102, so that help is needed. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Christmas at Ryde Shops

Christmas at the Shops Isle of Wight Observer December 25 1886 Christmas at Ryde Shops Once more genial Christmas is upon us, and, as of yore, our tradesmen are well to the front in their efforts to do honour to the festive season. But the weather has been somewhat against them this year, a hard frost on Tuesday changing to a heavy fog in the evening, followed by a downpour which continued all day on Wednesday. The bad weather doubtless had a somewhat discouraging effect, and considerably checked people from going out on show night. THE BUTCHERS – ‘Mr E Groves’ handsome premises never looked better than they did on Wednesday evening. His first shop was surrounded with the quarters of some splendid beasts, and carcasses of sheep. His pork butchering side showed a quantity of small pork of appetising appearance. All this, interspersed with evergreens, made a most attractive show, and kept up the reputation of this long established business. Messrs Minter have been rebuilding their premises, and the work has so far advanced that the appearance of the new building can now be judged, the scaffolding having been removed. The general verdict is that the premises are a credit to High-street. The shop is arranged much in the same style of the old one, but is larger and loftier, and as the carcasses hung round it – all prime meat – the handsome appearance of the new shop attracted crowds around it. (E K Minter’s shop is now Ryde Hospice Shop, next to the Crown Hotel. An illustrated receipt can be seen in the Miscellaneous Gallery page) Mr Stamp always arranges his show with good taste, and never more so than this Xmas. The whole front of his shop was completely hidden with splendid meat. In the centre was the head of an ox, from the nostrils of which two jets of gas projected. That old fashioned tradesman, Mr Locke, made great preparation for the festive season, the whole front of his premises being lined with pork of all sizes, festooned in artistic style with sausages and evergreens. It was an exceedingly pretty show. There was, however, none of the the large meat which Mr Locke has displayed on former occasions. Very enormous pigs are apt to be coarse, and although they excite wonder when hung up, they are not so satisfactory when eaten, so Mr Locke has mostly confined himself to small pork this year. Mr Hellier had a nice show, some of it prize meat and Ajax and Co on the opposite side of the road, showed splendid beef, fatted (according to the label thereon) at General Boxer’s. Mr Morgan, who sells New Zealand mutton, was doing a good trade, and Mr Loader, at the top of the street, was also very busy. He was selling some very good looking meat at fabulously low prices. A dead ox with gilded horns, and a garland round its neck, reposed on the front of his shop, and attracted quite a crowd. Messrs Taylor and Love, pork butchers, also had excellent shows. THE POULTERERS – Once more the handsome front of the establishment of Mr E Hooper was literally covered with splendid turkeys, geese, hares and game of all kinds, while the celerity with which they were disposed of, showed the reputation which Mr Hooper has for selling good things. Mr Joblin and Mrs Netten were more modest in their displays, but Mr Johncox, in High-street, had quite a fine show, which included a fawn in the centre of a group of game. THE GROCERS – We must congratulate Mr Jacobs on the honour he has done Xmas. His establishment undoubtedly carried off the palm for elegance of window dressing. Next came Mr R Colenutt’s handsome shop, filled with specimens of the hams which have won such a wide reputation, and in the centre of which was a fine boar’s head. Messrs Norman and Son contented themselves with their usual sober, though good, arrangement. Mr Stroud, in Cross-street, decorated the front of his shop, but the fashion of doing anything very special at Xmas seems to be dying out amongst the grocers. ….to be …

8 May, 2013View
Christmas at the Shops

Isle of Wight Observer December 25 1886 Christmas at Ryde Shops Once more genial Christmas is upon us, and, as of yore, our tradesmen are well to the front in their efforts to do honour to the festive season. But the weather has been somewhat against them this year, a hard frost on Tuesday changing to a heavy fog in the evening, followed by a downpour which continued all day on Wednesday. The bad weather doubtless had a somewhat discouraging effect, and considerably checked people from going out on show night. THE BUTCHERS – ‘Mr E Groves’ handsome premises never looked better than they did on Wednesday evening. His first shop was surrounded with the quarters of some splendid beasts, and carcasses of sheep. His pork butchering side showed a quantity of small pork of appetising appearance. All this, interspersed with evergreens, made a most attractive show, and kept up the reputation of this long established business. Messrs Minter have been rebuilding their premises, and the work has so far advanced that the appearance of the new building can now be judged, the scaffolding having been removed. The general verdict is that the premises are a credit to High-street. The shop is arranged much in the same style of the old one, but is larger and loftier, and as the carcasses hung round it – all prime meat – the handsome appearance of the new shop attracted crowds around it. (E K Minter’s shop is now Ryde Hospice Shop, next to the Crown Hotel. An illustrated receipt can be seen in the Miscellaneous Gallery page) Mr Stamp always arranges his show with good taste, and never more so than this Xmas. The whole front of his shop was completely hidden with splendid meat. In the centre was the head of an ox, from the nostrils of which two jets of gas projected. That old fashioned tradesman, Mr Locke, made great preparation for the festive season, the whole front of his premises being lined with pork of all sizes, festooned in artistic style with sausages and evergreens. It was an exceedingly pretty show. There was, however, none of the the large meat which Mr Locke has displayed on former occasions. Very enormous pigs are apt to be coarse, and although they excite wonder when hung up, they are not so satisfactory when eaten, so Mr Locke has mostly confined himself to small pork this year. Mr Hellier had a nice show, some of it prize meat and Ajax and Co on the opposite side of the road, showed splendid beef, fatted (according to the label thereon) at General Boxer’s. Mr Morgan, who sells New Zealand mutton, was doing a good trade, and Mr Loader, at the top of the street, was also very busy. He was selling some very good looking meat at fabulously low prices. A dead ox with gilded horns, and a garland round its neck, reposed on the front of his shop, and attracted quite a crowd. Messrs Taylor and Love, pork butchers, also had excellent shows. THE POULTERERS – Once more the handsome front of the establishment of Mr E Hooper was literally covered with splendid turkeys, geese, hares and game of all kinds, while the celerity with which they were disposed of, showed the reputation which Mr Hooper has for selling good things. Mr Joblin and Mrs Netten were more modest in their displays, but Mr Johncox, in High-street, had quite a fine show, which included a fawn in the centre of a group of game. THE GROCERS – We must congratulate Mr Jacobs on the honour he has done Xmas. His establishment undoubtedly carried off the palm for elegance of window dressing. Next came Mr R Colenutt’s handsome shop, filled with specimens of the hams which have won such a wide reputation, and in the centre of which was a fine boar’s head. Messrs Norman and Son contented themselves with their usual sober, though good, arrangement. Mr Stroud, in Cross-street, decorated the front of his shop, but the fashion of doing anything very special at Xmas seems to be dying out amongst the grocers. ….to be continued……..here…. Christmas at the Ryde Shops Isle of Wight Observer December 25 1886 Christmas at Ryde Shops Once more genial Christmas is upon us, and, as of yore, our tradesmen are well to the front in their efforts to do honour to the festive season. But the weather has been somewhat against them this year, a hard frost on Tuesday changing to a heavy fog in the evening, followed by a downpour which continued all day on Wednesday. The bad weather doubtless had a somewhat discouraging effect, and considerably checked people from going out on show night. THE BUTCHERS – ‘Mr E Groves’ handsome premises never looked better than they did on Wednesday evening. His first shop was surrounded with the quarters of some splendid beasts, and carcasses of sheep. His pork butchering side showed a quantity of small pork of appetising appearance. All this, interspersed with evergreens, made a most attractive show, and kept up the reputation of this long established business. Messrs Minter have been rebuilding their premises, and the work has so far advanced that the appearance of the new building can now be judged, the scaffolding having been removed. The general verdict is that the premises are a credit to High-street. The shop is arranged much in the same style of the old one, but is larger and loftier, and as the carcasses hung round it – all prime meat – the handsome appearance of the new shop attracted crowds around it. (E K Minter’s shop is now Ryde Hospice Shop, next to the Crown Hotel. An illustrated receipt can be seen in the Miscellaneous Gallery page) Mr Stamp always arranges his show with good taste, and never more so than this Xmas. The whole front of his shop was completely hidden with splendid meat. In the centre was the head of an ox, from the nostrils of which two jets of gas projected. That old fashioned tradesman, Mr Locke, made great preparation for the festive season, the whole front of his premises being lined with pork of all sizes, festooned in artistic style with sausages and evergreens. It was an exceedingly pretty show. There was, however, none of the the large meat which Mr Locke has displayed on former occasions. Very enormous pigs are apt to be coarse, and although they excite wonder when hung up, they are not so satisfactory when eaten, so Mr Locke has mostly confined himself to small pork this year. Mr Hellier had a nice show, some of it prize meat and Ajax and Co on the opposite side of the road, showed splendid beef, fatted (according to the label thereon) at General Boxer’s. Mr Morgan, who sells New Zealand mutton, was doing a good trade, and Mr Loader, at the top of the street, was also very busy. He was selling some very good looking meat at fabulously low prices. A dead ox with gilded horns, and a garland round its neck, reposed on the front of his shop, and attracted quite a crowd. Messrs Taylor and Love, pork butchers, also had excellent shows. THE POULTERERS – Once more the handsome front of the establishment of Mr E Hooper was literally covered with splendid turkeys, geese, hares and game of all kinds, while the celerity with which they were disposed of, showed the reputation which Mr Hooper has for selling good things. Mr Joblin and Mrs Netten were more modest in their displays, but Mr Johncox, in High-street, had quite a fine show, which included a fawn in the centre of a group of game. THE GROCERS – We must congratulate Mr Jacobs on the honour he has done Xmas. His establishment undoubtedly carried off the palm for elegance of window dressing. Next came Mr R Colenutt’s handsome shop, filled with specimens of the hams which have won such a wide reputation, and in the centre of which was a fine boar’s head. Messrs Norman and Son contented themselves with their usual sober, though good, arrangement. Mr Stroud, in Cross-street, decorated the front of his shop, but the fashion of doing anything very special at Xmas seems to be dying out amongst the grocers. ….to be …

23 September, 2023View
Christmas at the Shops

Isle of Wight Observer December 25 1886 Once more genial Christmas is upon us, and, as of yore, our tradesmen are well to the front in their efforts to do honour to the festive season. But the weather has been somewhat against them this year, a hard frost on Tuesday changing to a heavy fog in the evening, followed by a downpour which continued all day on Wednesday. The bad weather doubtless had a somewhat discouraging effect, and considerably checked people from going out on show night. THE BUTCHERS – ‘Mr E Groves’ handsome premises never looked better than they did on Wednesday evening. His first shop was surrounded with the quarters of some splendid beasts, and carcasses of sheep. His pork butchering side showed a quantity of small pork of appetising appearance. All this, interspersed with evergreens, made a most attractive show, and kept up the reputation of this long established business. Messrs Minter have been rebuilding their premises, and the work has so far advanced that the appearance of the new building can now be judged, the scaffolding having been removed. The general verdict is that the premises are a credit to High-street. The shop is arranged much in the same style of the old one, but is larger and loftier, and as the carcasses hung round it – all prime meat – the handsome appearance of the new shop attracted crowds around it. (E K Minter’s shop is now Ryde Hospice Shop, next to the Crown Hotel. An illustrated receipt can be seen in the Miscellaneous Gallery page) Mr Stamp always arranges his show with good taste, and never more so than this Xmas. The whole front of his shop was completely hidden with splendid meat. In the centre was the head of an ox, from the nostrils of which two jets of gas projected. That old fashioned tradesman, Mr Locke, made great preparation for the festive season, the whole front of his premises being lined with pork of all sizes, festooned in artistic style with sausages and evergreens. It was an exceedingly pretty show. There was, however, none of the the large meat which Mr Locke has displayed on former occasions. Very enormous pigs are apt to be coarse, and although they excite wonder when hung up, they are not so satisfactory when eaten, so Mr Locke has mostly confined himself to small pork this year. Mr Hellier had a nice show, some of it prize meat and Ajax and Co on the opposite side of the road, showed splendid beef, fatted (according to the label thereon) at General Boxer’s. Mr Morgan, who sells New Zealand mutton, was doing a good trade, and Mr Loader, at the top of the street, was also very busy. He was selling some very good looking meat at fabulously low prices. A dead ox with gilded horns, and a garland round its neck, reposed on the front of his shop, and attracted quite a crowd. Messrs Taylor and Love, pork butchers, also had excellent shows. THE POULTERERS – Once more the handsome front of the establishment of Mr E Hooper was literally covered with splendid turkeys, geese, hares and game of all kinds, while the celerity with which they were disposed of, showed the reputation which Mr Hooper has for selling good things. Mr Joblin and Mrs Netten were more modest in their displays, but Mr John Cox, in High-street, had quite a fine show, which included a fawn in the centre of a group of game. THE GROCERS – We must congratulate Mr Jacobs on the honour he has done Xmas. His establishment undoubtedly carried off the palm for elegance of window dressing. Next came Mr R Colenutt’s handsome shop, filled with specimens of the hams which have won such a wide reputation, and in the centre of which was a fine boar’s head. Messrs Norman and Son contented themselves with their usual sober, though good, arrangement. Mr Stroud, in Cross-street, decorated the front of his shop, but the fashion of doing anything very special at Xmas seems to be dying out amongst the grocers. ….to be continued……..here…. Return to 1880s Odds and Ends …

8 April, 2023View
Christmas Day timetable

Isle of Wight Observer December 1868 Trains on Christmas Day – 1868 Return to 1860s railway page Return to Railway …

19 November, 2022View
Christmas Poems

Isle of Wight Observer December 24 1881 HAIL TO MERRY CHRISTMASHail! hail to merry Christmas! with its jollity and cheer,May all enjoy its blessing, and a happy coming year!The yule-log brightly blazing, and the good old carol sung,Life’s many cares are chasing, making gladsome every one!The mistletoe is hanging! lads and lasses dance around;The holly branches waving! mirth and merriment abound!And now, the wine cup taking, let us drown in wassail bowlThe strife illwill is making, that it have no more control.All enmity forgetting, let us greet with friendly hand,And every better feeling in our brotherhood expand;The good old year is waning, and it gladdens as it goes,A farewell banquet spreading, we will celebrate its close!And, in the new year coming, may true happiness be ours,And sweets for all be strewing through its sunshine and its showers!Hail! hail to merry Christmas! with its jollity and cheer,May all enjoy its blessings, and a happy coming year.       J M E H THE CHILDRENS CHRISTMASDear children all, whose limbs are strong,Who romp and laugh the whole week long,Please give a little thought to-dayTo some who cannot skip and play. Today papa will give new toysUnto his darling girls and boys,And you will throw the old ones by,In nursery corner they will lie. But let me tell you what to doWith your old toys when you have new,Just pack them up and send them allUnto the Children’s Hospital. Each crippled doll and broken toyWill fill some tiny heart with joy<‘Twill ease some little limbs that ache,And many a merry Christmas make. Return to Poetry …

11 March, 2023View
Circus Complaint September 1868

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, I happen to live in that part of town which has lately had to endure the infliction of a circus in our midst, and a most abominable nuisance to the neighbourhood it certainly was; indeed, its whole tendency is of a demoralising kind – it congregates the young of both sexes, and when they leave such places it often happens they fall into evil. Do these circus proprietors (who pay no rates or taxes in any town wherein they locate) have to get permission of the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners before they perform in the town? If so, I trust permission for several weeks of such a nuisance will not again be granted; or, at all events, if it is allowed, let the performance be in the neighbourhood of West-street.Yours truly,THE FATHER OF A FAMILY [We have made enquiry and find that permission of the Chairman of the Board has never been asked in such cases; the circus proprietors, if they can secure land with consent of the ground landlord, consider they have a right to perform, and we are not aware that this right has ever been disputed. – ED I W O. Return to the main letters …

11 March, 2023View
Civic Furniture

Isle of Wight Observer March 27 1869 STRAY SKETCHES FOR CIVIC FURNITURE We have had submitted to our inspection an exceedingly well executed sketch bearing the above title, suggested we are informed by reading in a local paper the report of a discussion thereon in a newly made borough. It is a cruel piece of satire skilfully delineated, and unquestionably emanates from the brain of the clear wag who not long since favoured us with a most complimentary design for our municipal seal. The chair proposed for our worthy Mayor is artistic in design, and not by any means altogether comfortless; those allotted to the Clerk and the Councillors are not only without cushions but present such an appearance of unmitigated rigidity that weary humanity turns from them in disgust. On the other hand the setting accommodation provided for the Aldermen is of a most delightfully luxurious character, and is so devised as to enable these municipal magnates to conduct their official transactions in an almost recumbent position. The seats on which the representatives of our local press are supposed to settle are of an excessively indurated and primitive character, but nevertheless possess positive comfort in comparison with either that assigned for our sergeant-at-mace of those appropriated to the burgesses who pay the rates, the former being an inverted bucket, and the latter such a frightfully hard and uncomfortable contrivance that it can only be characterised as resembling the natural result of a cross between a butcher’s block and a washing stool. As the caricaturist preserves a strict incognito, we are unable to communicate in any other manner our desire to be furnished with another copy of his inimitable burlesque of civic upholstery. Return to 1860s Odds and Ends …

28 May, 2013View
Classic Car Rally 2014

Historic Ryde Society was delighted to be invited to have a stall at the Classic Car Rally 2014 event, held as usual on Ryde seafront. The rain held off, and Sheila, Claire and Diana did a sterling job during the course of the day. The new Beachy Books community project book, Your Journey into Ryde, proved very popular with visitors, and 14 copies were sold. Altogether, just over £120 was raised for the Society. Many thanks to Vic Galucci for inviting Historic Ryde Society to take part in this wonderful annual event. Thanks also to Dani, of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, who very kindly loaned a small table for the event. Return to …

21 October, 2023View
Classic Car Rally 2014

Historic Ryde Society was delighted to be invited to have a stall at the Classic Car Rally 2014 event, held as usual on Ryde seafront. The rain held off, and Sheila, Claire and Diana did a sterling job during the course of the day. The new Beachy Books community project book, Your Journey into Ryde, proved very popular with visitors, and 14 copies were sold. Altogether, just over £120 was raised for the Society. Many thanks to Vic Galucci for inviting Historic Ryde Society to take part in this wonderful annual event. Thanks also to Dani, of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, who very kindly loaned a small table for the event. Return to …

14 September, 2014View
Cleanliness

Cleanliness is in the eye of the beholder….. Isle of Wight Observer June 25 1881 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Dear Sir, – I have been staying in Ryde for the last three months, and have been greatly pleased and interested in the various alterations and improvements which are taking place in the town. The sea front and Esplanade, and the grounds round the new boating lake, will be very pretty and attractive when they are clothed with shrubs and flowers, and when completed will form an esplanade that any town may be proud of. I have also paid a visit to the new college: the excellent arrangement of the school, its healthy situation and beautiful grounds must soon bring it into prominence. There are also many alterations and improvements on the pier: the enlargement of the pier head the nice waiting room, and the very pretty refreshment room. I hear also that the directors have engaged a first-class band to play three times a day during the season, and that it is their intention to erect a band stand and two large awnings with chairs, &c., for the convenience of visitors. What can be more pleasant than to spend an hour or two on Ryde Pier, watching the arrival and departure of the steamboats and trains, the yachts, steamboats, and, the great variety of vessels constantly passing between Portsmouth, Southampton, and Cowes, the ironclad fleet at Spithead, the lovely view of the town from the pier, with the towers of Osborne in the distance? To talk of the piers of Brighton, Hastings, and Eastbourne, where the land has not a tree to clothe it, and the sea is without a sail, does seem to me to be absurd. Ryde pier only wants a few conveniences and improvements to make it the most beautiful and attractive on the South Coast. I believe many of the inhabitants of Ryde are not aware of the comforts and conveniences of the bathing on the Victoria Pier. The baths are one hundred yards in length by thirty feet in width, with frequent openings for experienced swimmers to go out into the open sea. The dressing boxes are convenient and all the arrangements comfortable. There are spring boards and diving poles to take a header from, and you know that the water is fresh as the open sea can make it. By taking a book of tickets you can bathe for 4 1/2d, and the tide serves for twelve hours out of the twenty-four. Few towns have so good bathing, and I have fully enjoyed my dip from the Victoria Pier. The town of Ryde only requires a little more public spirit and energy to make it one of the most prosperous places in England. Wishing Ryde every success, and hoping that I shall be spared to pay this clean and healthy town many more visits, believe me, dear Sir, your obedient servant,            VIATOR. THE REMOVAL OF DUST AND ASHES To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – I am sorry  to be obliged to complain of the way in which the scavenging of the town is carried on. Frequently during the last year or so my dust bin has been left three weeks and a month without being touched, and I find on talking to my neighbours that mine is not the only case. I think the Town Council really ought to see into this matter, which is a serious inconvenience and a nuisance. Yours, &c.,             A RATEPAYER Return to 1880s Letters …

26 May, 2013View
Cleanliness is in the eye of the beholder…..

Isle of Wight Observer June 25 1881 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Dear Sir, – I have been staying in Ryde for the last three months, and have been greatly pleased and interested in the various alterations and improvements which are taking place in the town. The sea front and Esplanade, and the grounds round the new boating lake, will be very pretty and attractive when they are clothed with shrubs and flowers, and when completed will form an esplanade that any town may be proud of. I have also paid a visit to the new college: the excellent arrangement of the school, its healthy situation and beautiful grounds must soon bring it into prominence. There are also many alterations and improvements on the pier: the enlargement of the pier head the nice waiting room, and the very pretty refreshment room. I hear also that the directors have engaged a first-class band to play three times a day during the season, and that it is their intention to erect a band stand and two large awnings with chairs, &c., for the convenience of visitors. What can be more pleasant than to spend an hour or two on Ryde Pier, watching the arrival and departure of the steamboats and trains, the yachts, steamboats, and, the great variety of vessels constantly passing between Portsmouth, Southampton, and Cowes, the ironclad fleet at Spithead, the lovely view of the town from the pier, with the towers of Osborne in the distance? To talk of the piers of Brighton, Hastings, and Eastbourne, where the land has not a tree to clothe it, and the sea is without a sail, does seem to me to be absurd. Ryde pier only wants a few conveniences and improvements to make it the most beautiful and attractive on the South Coast. I believe many of the inhabitants of Ryde are not aware of the comforts and conveniences of the bathing on the Victoria Pier. The baths are one hundred yards in length by thirty feet in width, with frequent openings for experienced swimmers to go out into the open sea. The dressing boxes are convenient and all the arrangements comfortable. There are spring boards and diving poles to take a header from, and you know that the water is fresh as the open sea can make it. By taking a book of tickets you can bathe for 4 1/2d, and the tide serves for twelve hours out of the twenty-four. Few towns have so good bathing, and I have fully enjoyed my dip from the Victoria Pier. The town of Ryde only requires a little more public spirit and energy to make it one of the most prosperous places in England. Wishing Ryde every success, and hoping that I shall be spared to pay this clean and healthy town many more visits, believe me, dear Sir, your obedient servant,            VIATOR. THE REMOVAL OF DUST AND ASHES To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – I am sorry  to be obliged to complain of the way in which the scavenging of the town is carried on. Frequently during the last year or so my dust bin has been left three weeks and a month without being touched, and I find on talking to my neighbours that mine is not the only case. I think the Town Council really ought to see into this matter, which is a serious inconvenience and a nuisance.Yours, &c.,             A RATEPAYER Return to 1880s Letters page Cleanliness is in the eye of the beholder … Isle of Wight Observer June 25 1881 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Dear Sir, – I have been staying in Ryde for the last three months, and have been greatly pleased and interested in the various alterations and improvements which are taking place in the town. The sea front and Esplanade, and the grounds round the new boating lake, will be very pretty and attractive when they are clothed with shrubs and flowers, and when completed will form an esplanade that any town may be proud of. I have also paid a visit to the new college: the excellent arrangement of the school, its healthy situation and beautiful grounds must soon bring it into prominence. There are also many alterations and improvements on the pier: the enlargement of the pier head the nice waiting room, and the very pretty refreshment room. I hear also that the directors have engaged a first-class band to play three times a day during the season, and that it is their intention to erect a band stand and two large awnings with chairs, &c., for the convenience of visitors. What can be more pleasant than to spend an hour or two on Ryde Pier, watching the arrival and departure of the steamboats and trains, the yachts, steamboats, and, the great variety of vessels constantly passing between Portsmouth, Southampton, and Cowes, the ironclad fleet at Spithead, the lovely view of the town from the pier, with the towers of Osborne in the distance? To talk of the piers of Brighton, Hastings, and Eastbourne, where the land has not a tree to clothe it, and the sea is without a sail, does seem to me to be absurd. Ryde pier only wants a few conveniences and improvements to make it the most beautiful and attractive on the South Coast. I believe many of the inhabitants of Ryde are not aware of the comforts and conveniences of the bathing on the Victoria Pier. The baths are one hundred yards in length by thirty feet in width, with frequent openings for experienced swimmers to go out into the open sea. The dressing boxes are convenient and all the arrangements comfortable. There are spring boards and diving poles to take a header from, and you know that the water is fresh as the open sea can make it. By taking a book of tickets you can bathe for 4 1/2d, and the tide serves for twelve hours out of the twenty-four. Few towns have so good bathing, and I have fully enjoyed my dip from the Victoria Pier. The town of Ryde only requires a little more public spirit and energy to make it one of the most prosperous places in England. Wishing Ryde every success, and hoping that I shall be spared to pay this clean and healthy town many more visits, believe me, dear Sir, your obedient servant,            VIATOR. THE REMOVAL OF DUST AND ASHES To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – I am sorry  to be obliged to complain of the way in which the scavenging of the town is carried on. Frequently during the last year or so my dust bin has been left three weeks and a month without being touched, and I find on talking to my neighbours that mine is not the only case. I think the Town Council really ought to see into this matter, which is a serious inconvenience and a nuisance.Yours, &c.,             A RATEPAYER Return to 1880s Letters …

25 March, 2023View
Closing up of Union Street view

ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER OCTOBER 2, 1852 We are sorry to see that the buildings are progressing, so as effectually to close up the view, and to continue the present unsightly and inconvenient approach to the pier. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
Closing up of Union Street view

Closing up of Union Street view ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER OCTOBER 2, 1852 We are sorry to see that the buildings are progressing, so as effectually to close up the view, and to continue the present unsightly and inconvenient approach to the pier. Return to Ryde Streets …

5 May, 2013View
Closing up of Union Street view

ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER OCTOBER 2, 1852 We are sorry to see that the buildings are progressing, so as effectually to close up the view, and to continue the present unsightly and inconvenient approach to the pier. Return to Ryde Streets …

23 September, 2023View
Coaches and carriages

Lost and Found Office Isle of Wight Observer August 27, 1864 Coaches and carriages HENRY BUCKETT, Town Crier, begs most respectfully to inform the inhabitants of Ryde and its vicinity that he has OPENED a Lost and Found Office at the Town Hall, Ryde. – Information may also be obtained at the “Observer” Office, Ryde. FOR SALE at CARTER’S COACH FACTORY, UNION STREET, RYDE, an assortment of about 30 CARRIAGES, New and Second-hand, comprising – Broughams, Waggonettes, Park Phaetons, Barouches, four and two wheel Dog Carts, single and double Basket carriages and Albert Phaetons; also a light spring cart. Orders and repairs punctually attended to. TO be SOLD, a Bargain, a Handsome BASKET CARRIAGE, the property of a gentleman; built by Lenny; cost 35 guineas; almost new, and in good repair. Price £25. – Apply to Messrs Wallis, House Agents, Union-street, or to Mr Carter, Carriage Factor, Ryde. The above advertisment dates from 1881 Return to 1860s Odds and Ends …

25 February, 2023View
Coffee Morning and Private Tour

Bridget’s Group was the first local group to take up the offer of a coffee morning and private tour in the Heritage Centre, on Thursday, March 7, 2013. Organised by HRS committee member, Linda McArdle, each member of the group paid £3 for the experience. Sixteen members of the group came out on a miserable day to learn about the creation of the arcade and the Heritage Centre from volunteer and HRS committee member, Derek Tomlinson. They then wandered around the Centre at their convenience. Two members of the group also joined Historic Ryde Society, which was an added bonus! If you know or are a part of any local group which may be interested in such a visit, please contact Linda via the Centre on 01983 717435 during opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday, between 11am and 4pm. You can also book via the email: admin@historicrydesociety.com, when your details will be passed to Linda, who will make the arrangements. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
Coleman′s Wood Sale 1887

SALE OF A BRICKMAKER’S PROPERTY On Tuesday evening Mr A J Coombes submitted to public auction the freehold and leasehold properties included in the estate of the late Mr William Tayler. The freehold property, Coleman’s Wood, about five acres, comprising a detached stone-built residence, together with the brickyard, stabling, sheds, brick kilns, &c, where the business has been carried on for 30 years, was knocked down to Mr Isaac Barton for £500. The two cottages at Upton, near the Windmill, producing the yearly rent of £20 16s, ground rent of £3 3s, were bought by Mr S Salter for £135. Mr Plumbley bought a similar lot for £175, and Mr Souter another similar lot for £150. Four dwelling houses at Haylands, producing a rental of £42 10s, ground rent £5, were bought by Mr Plumbley for £450. The other two lots did not sell. The stock-in-trade was sold on the following day, good prices being realised. Return to main Houses …

22 October, 2022View
Colonel E Howard-Brooke

Colonel E Howard-Brooke, who was born at Castle Howard, Vale of Ovoca, co. Wicklow (of which property he is the heir), resides at Belvedere Lodge, Ryde, and for seven seasons has been the Master of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds. (Taken from a family scrapbook, written in 1898 – the Colonel and family also lived at Faircroft, Binstead Road, and his widow Mrs Howard-Brooke, died at The Lawn, Spencer Road.) The subject of this sketch joined the army in 1865, and was appointed to the First Hampshire Regiment, in which he served for ten years in India. During this time he indulged in all kinds of sport, and on one occasion, with General Sir John Davis, bagged no fewer than seventeen tigers in seven days – a truly marvellous performance. He also had capital sport among other big game, and was very successful at pig-sticking. He now combines the duties of a MFH with the command of the Third Hampshire Regiment. The gallant officer is exceedingly popular with the followers of his pack in the Isle of Wight, and is on the most friendly terms with the farmers whose land he hunts. He has had an excellent cubbing season, thanks to the good feeling existing between himself and such big preservers of pheasants as Sir Barrington Simeon, MP, Sir Charles Seeley, and others, who have given strict orders to their gamekeepers that foxes, as well as pheasants, must be found in the coverts when wanted. The prospects, therefore, of hunting in the coming season in the Isle of Wight are very promising. The late Sir Victor Brooke, who was first cousin of Colonel Brooke, was also an ardent sportsman, and was Master of the Pau Hounds. Colonel E Howard Brooke is well known in yachting circles, and is a member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. A novel feature of the Isle of Wight Hunt this season is the riding astride of the ladies. There are few among the younger members of the hunt who do not adopt this method of riding when exercising their horses. But the method is by no means common, for the reason, perhaps, that when out with the hounds it probably attracts too much attention to the fair riders. It is said, however, that when riding astride, longer distances can be covered and more difficult districts ridden over with less fatigue to both rider and hunter. The country in the Isle of Wight is very different from that in the Midlands or many counties further south, and it is necessary, therefore, for ladies to take this into consideration when they have a long day’s run in front of them. Among those who favour the new style are Mrs Forster, who, attired in a dark-coloured habit, with a perfectly fitting long coat, makes a charming figure astride. Mrs Davenport and Mrs Thornton look uncommonly well and very businesslike, while the children, who during the holidays are present in numbers, universally adopt this means of riding. Among the popular followers, none receives a warmer welcome at meets than Mrs Howard-Brooke, the wife of the enthusiastic master. Although this lady is not quite such a keen follower as some other members, she looks exceptionally well seated on her first-class mount, and speaks with spirit of some delightful runs in which she has participated. This report is not indicative of any support for hunting by Historic Ryde Society, but merely a transcript of a family scrapbook cutting, reflecting the different standards of yesteryear. Return to 1890s Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
COMMUNITY DARK SKIES

The Isle of Wight has some of the best dark skies in the UK. Vectis Astronomical Society is hoping to achieve “Community Dark Skies” status for the Island. In order for that to succeed, they need your support. Please help them by popping in to the Heritage Centre and signing the petition to say you agree that the Isle of Wight should make every effort to protect its skies from further light pollution. Everyone should be able to enjoy this wonderful resource. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
Completion of the Electric Telegraph to Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer, November 5 1859 An event of no ordinary importance (although it seems to attract little or no attention) has just occurred to the inhabitants and visitors of this town; namely, the completion of the laying of the wire in connection with the Telegraph, via Cowes, Sconce Fort, and Hurst Castle; thus opening a communication instantaneously with all parts of the World within the “magic circle”. To illustrate the importance we attach to this circumstance, we will give an example: the laying was completed on Monday afternoon last, and the wire was immediately tested and found “all right”; and the following day a storm arose of such severity as to cut us off from all communication with the mainland, with the exception of the post, via Southampton, at 3.30am. before the gale attained its intensity. No matter how urgent the emergency, there was complete isolation; what greater proof, then, could there be required to prove the absolute necessity and utility of the Telegraph? Of course, we are not surprised at the supineness of the inhabitants generally with regard to this great event; inasmuch as four or five years ago, when a move was made by us to introduce the Telegraph, we could find but one person only to encourage us, and that was Mr Edward Marvin, sen., who joined us in a guarantee to secure £200 -a-year business for three years, which the Company declined unless the guarantee was made perpetual. So things stood till now, and we feel confident the speculation will answer. But why should not the opening of the communication be attended with éclat?   Surely many inferior objects are puffed up; and, therefore, the full merit ought not to be withheld from this. But, as the French say, “Chacun a son gout.” REMOVAL OF AN OLD LANDMARK – The well-known veranda in Union-street has been removed this week, which, to the eye accustomed to the town, gives a very naked appearance to the street. This was one of the landmarks of Ryde, and it was erected near half-a-century ago when the place was a village; and was first used as a lottery office, when those schemes were sanctioned by Government. Doubtless its removal will enhance the value of the property which before seemed buried. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Contact Us

11 May, 2022View
Copyright Statement

© Copyright  of Historic Ryde Society all rights reserved Unless otherwise specifically stated herein, Historic Ryde Society shall retain any and all title, rights and interests it may have in its trademarks, copyrights, other intellectual property rights and other rights in respect of or connected to this web site. Historic Ryde Society shall own all intellectual property rights in this web site as a whole including all rights in and to trade secrets, patents, copyrights, trademarks, and know-how, as well as moral rights and similar rights of any type, under the laws of any governmental authority, domestic or foreign. Ryde Isle of Wight International Film Festival shall also own any data it creates as a result of operating the web site. Everything seen or read or contained in this web site is protected by copyrights and, except as strictly provided and permitted in these Terms & Conditions and / or on the web site, may not be used without the prior written permission of A C S Kay, D J R Wood and other Committee Members of Historic Ryde Society. For permission e-mail info@historicrydesociety.co.uk. Historic Ryde Society neither warrants nor represents that any use of material displayed on the web site will not infringe rights of third parties not owned by or affiliated with Historic Ryde Society. This web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information, the terms of which must be observed and obeyed. © of Photographs and Creative Designs All the photographs and graphic (creative) designs included on this web site are owned by and are the copyright of Historic Ryde Society,  Eve Designs Ltd and Historic Ryde Society Committee members except where otherwise stated, and can not be copied, reprinted or used on any other web site without the artists express permission. Historic Ryde Society  Images  are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from the Historic Ryde Society. © of Video Clips Any video clip shown on the Historic Ryde Society site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License. The video remains the copyright of the cinematographer, who has given Historic Ryde Society the sole rights to publish the film on line or otherwise and show it, in its entirety. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from the Historic Ryde …

8 October, 2022View
Cream Tea and Babycham Night

A sell-out event, Cream Tea and Babycham Night proved to be one of Historic Ryde Society’s most successful fundraising efforts! Nearly 80 fans came along to Yelf’s Hotel to hear Ryde’s own Philip Norman relate stories from his childhood on Ryde Pier, where his father Clive, ran The Seagull Ballroom. The event raised over £400 for the Society. Author of Babycham Night, and The Skaters’ Waltz, as well as biographies of John Lennon, Sir Elton John and Mick Jagger, Philip is currently working on a biography of Sir Paul McCartney. It was not without a certain un-nerving time, however, as Philip missed the ferry he was due to catch, due to the train driver having to stop to ‘do some paperwork’! Sighs of relief all round, when he appeared on the next ferry! Many thanks to Yelf’s for a wonderful cream tea, and ordering in a special delivery of Babycham! Return to …

21 May, 2015View
Cream Tea and Babycham Night

A sell-out event, Cream Tea and Babycham Night proved to be one of Historic Ryde Society’s most successful fundraising efforts! Nearly 80 fans came along to Yelf’s Hotel to hear Ryde’s own Philip Norman relate stories from his childhood on Ryde Pier, where his father Clive, ran The Seagull Ballroom. The event raised over £400 for the Society. Author of Babycham Night, and The Skaters’ Waltz, as well as biographies of John Lennon, Sir Elton John and Mick Jagger, Philip is currently working on a biography of Sir Paul McCartney. It was not without a certain un-nerving time, however, as Philip missed the ferry he was due to catch, due to the train driver having to stop to ‘do some paperwork’! Sighs of relief all round, when he appeared on the next ferry! Many thanks to Yelf’s for a wonderful cream tea, and ordering in a special delivery of Babycham! Return to …

23 September, 2023View
Cricket

Ryde Cricket Club – 1860 Isle of Wight Observer November 3 1860 A meeting of the Ryde cricket club will take place at the Thatched-house Tavern (which was in Cross Street) on Monday evening to conclude the arrangements for taking and preparing a play ground. The rules are now published, and we extract that relating to subscriptions, as it may induce some to become members:- “That members pay 1s (5p) entrance and 2d (1p) per week, or an annual subscription of 10s 6d. (52p) Subscribers to the amount of 5s (25p) to be entitled to the use of the booth only”. Return to 1860s Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
Crossing the Line – The Ryde Ventilator – Saturday June 3 1871

Ventilator Crossing the Line – The Ryde Ventilator – Saturday June 3 1871 On Saturday the 18th ult, one of the locomotives belonging to the Isle of Wight Railway crossed the new line over St John’s road. A pony and cart belonging to a man named West, in the employ of Mr Blackall Simmons, happening to be passing by at the time, the unexpected appearance of the fiery monster so frightened the pony that it started off at a violent pace, and three persons had a very narrow escape. If locomotives are to be allowed to cross the line the sooner gates are put up the better. The following photograph shows the junction of Monkton Street and St John’s Road before the railway bridge was built. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
Crown Assembly Room, Ryde December 2, 1867

Although the date of the above concert is December 2, 1867, a similar concert must have taken place the following March, as this critique appears in the Isle of Wight Observer, of March 12, 1868. NATIVE MINSTRELS’ CONCERT – The above concert took place on Monday evening, at the Victoria Rooms. Judging from the well-filled room, the Native Minstrels must have been gratified and well remunerated for their expenses and trouble. Of the performances itself we cannot but speak highly. The jokes, though sometimes sustained “usque ad nauseam”, were generally speaking original, and afforded very good amusement to the audience. We compliment the minstrels on their programme, and in part one we would especially mention the comic songs, which seemed to us better performed and much more popular than the ballads, although Messrs Wellington and B Williams sand their songs with much feeling. We cannot help remarking that there seemed to us a great want of power in the choruses, and would suggest the addition of two or three more members to their present number. The whole of part II was very amusing indeed, the Military Gorilla was original, and with the Four Black Crows kept the audience in very good humour. The solos on the bones and banjo were, in fact, superior to amateur performances in general, and were both deservedly encored. In the Troublesome Servant our friend the Bones was very droll. We were hardly so much gratified at the Silver Belt Jig, and the ballad which preceeded it. The performance was brought to a close by the favourite Skedaddle, and we compliment the minstrels on their success. One very great drawback during the entertainment was the noise from the gallery, accompanied by the breaking of windows, and we have no doubt, that should the minstrels be prompted to favour us with another concert, they will see the necessity of placing some person in hte gallery to ckeck the somewhat uncivilised system of applauding peculiar to Ryde boys. It would be very creditable to our Native Minstrels if they would give a fashionable entertainment or two during the season in aid of our new church, and we have no doubt that the elite of Ryde would ensure for the occasions a very select and numerous audience. Return to the main Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
Death of Mr Henry Knight Observer August 10, 1895

We have to record the death of Mr Henry Knight, of the Arcade, at the age of 75. As there are few men who have played such a prominent part in the history of our town as Mr Henry Knight has done, his death is worthy of something more than a passing reference. There can be no doubt that Mr Knight was a very remarkable man. and had he been blessed with the advantages of a better education, he might possibly have played a still more prominent part in the world. He came to Ryde about 40 years ago, and became possessed of the Arcade. He soon took an interest in local affairs, and was noted as one who was always in opposition. He possessed the power, not often seen in laymen, of assimilating Acts of Parliament. As he was ever ready to give a legal opinion, and to quote chapter and verse in support of his contention, he soon became known as the “Amateur Lawyer”, a soubriquet which gave way, later on, to that of the “People’s Henry”, as he always professed to champion the cause of the ratepayers. By many he became regarded as an unprincipled agitator – a regular fire-brand – while others considered him as an honest man, whose only object was to battle with jobbery and corruption. In truth he possessed all the qualities of a reformer. His enthusiasm and energy knew no bounds, and those who disliked the man could not help admiring the ability and energy with which he fought any battle in which he was engaged. At first he was not taken seriously, but a time soon arrived when it was discovered what a potent force he was. The question which agitated the community and created an amount of ill-feeling which can hardly be understood by the present generation , was that of through communication. As soon as the Isle of Wight Railway was projected, the question arose how people were to be conveyed from the steamers by the railway. A company was promoted by Mr W Webster, QC (the father of our present member, Mr Richard Webster), called the Ferry Company. They built a pier (now the Bathing Pier) and a number of docks, and their object was to place people in the railway carriages directly they arrived, and carry them across a viaduct over the Esplanade, near the Castle, through East Street, and thence through the Marshes to the railway. As that part of the Esplanade immediately east of the Pier became covered with wharves and docks the scheme, though warmly championed by Mr Benjamin Barrow, became most unpopular. The Ryde Board of Commissioners declared perpetual war against the Ferry Company, and thousands of pounds were spent by the Commissioners and by the Pier Company, till at last the Ferry Company were obliged to succumb, their affairs were wound up in Chancery, and their powerful rivals, the Pier Company, became possessed of their partially-completed pier, docks and works. But the question of providing through communication became mnore urgent as traffic increased. The Pier Company having obtained a Tramway Act in 1862, it became known that they intended to carry the tramway along the Esplanade and through Monkton Street. There was a great deal of prejudice against tramways at that time. The whole town was up in arms, and the subject of our notice was to the fore in opposition, as usual. The opposition succeeded, and several other attempts to settle the question failed. Mr George Young (a gentleman whose ability had brought him fortune) then joined the Pier Company with the express object, as he declared, of settling the question of through communication and bringing the Railway down to the Pier. Under this gentleman’s astute guidance the Pier Company began enclosing that portion of the Esplanade which is now the Gardens in order to run a railway and make a station there. People barely realised what was to be done at first, but when, in 1870, the work commenced and it was seen that the best part of the front of this town was to be occupied by railway works, public indignation rose to a perfect furore. Mr Knight was quite in his element as the leader of the opposition, and his popularity with a certain section of his fellow townsmen became unbounded. The town was divided into Knightites and anti-Knightites, who hated each other with a cordiality suggestive of the times of the Montagues and Capulets. A certain section of the Corporation, who were said to have shares in the Pier Company, were accused of being traitors to the town, and of deliberately surrendering public property of enormous value to, and placing the town under the heel of, a powerful company. Another question which still further aroused indignation was a proposal to purchase the Gas Works, which was likewise denounced by Mr Knight as “a job”. He was the principal agent in founding a Ratepayers’ Association, which was soon joined by the most influential ratepayers of the town. Their object was to remove all those members of the Council suspected of being connected with public companies. Mr Knight succeeded in gaining a seat on the Town Council in the November election of 1871. Then the fun began! We have not space to describe the irritation of that remarkable time, nor the whole of the steps taken by the Ratepayers’ Association, of which  Sir Collingwood Dickson, Bart., was chairman. Suffice it to say that when Mr Knight obtained, as a member of the Council, access to the Corporation minutes and books, he soon began to make accusations of illegal expenditure. Appeals to Quarter Sessions against the rates, the issue of writs upon the old members of the Council for such sums as £700 and £800, were amongst the incidents of the exciting time when Alderman JAmes Dashwood was mayor. The result was that eventually the harrassed members of the Corporation, whom Mr Knight denounced as “the clique”, resigned in a body, (with the exception of Mr Thomas White), and the leading members of the Ratepayers’ Association took their places. Mr Leach was elected Mayor, and Sir Collingwood Dickson, General Jeffreys and Mr Bowlby were placed on the Aldermanic Bench. Such a complete turnabout had never before been seen perhaps in the history of any town, and it was unquestioningly largely due to the pertinacity of Henry Knight, who attained such an influence in the new Council that he was sometimes called the Dictator. At other times Mr Leach and General Jeffreys were joined with him, and dubbed “The Triumvirate”. But no sooner had Mr Knight been wafted by the peculiar circumstances of the time into office, than his popularity began sensibly to decline. He had been regarded as the “incorruptible”, but it soon became evident that he was not to remain unassailed. The first blow to his prestige, was that directly he got into power – after having clamoured for a legal Town Clerk – he put one of his proteges, who had no knowledge of the work, into office. There were also stories of gas meters (of which he was found to be the agent), &c, while he alienated friends by the rancour with which he pursued those who had retired from office. Very few wanted to see townsmen who had made mistakes in carrying out public duties, ruined by legal proceedings. But Mr Knight and his friends showed little mercy, so the star of Mr Knight and his colleagues began sensibly to decline, and eventually the old members, headed by Dr Barrow, got back to power again. A singular thing contributed to Mr Knight’s retirement from public life. Mrs Girling and a number of her “Shaker” disciples paid a visit to Ryde, and held a mission at the Victoria Rooms. Mr Knight was completely fascinated by the singular doctrines propounded, and became a constant attendant. On one occasion, when the women were gyrating and dancing on the platform, to the astonishment of everyone, Mr Knight rose and declared his solemn belief and conviction that Mrs Girling was a re-incarnation of Christ; that the dancing girls were under the influence of the Holy Spirit; and that the end of all things was at hand! From that time forth he championed the cause of the “Shakers” as vigorously as he had combatted his opponents in local matters. He spent much of his substancein supporting the “Shaker” community, who had an encampment at Hordle. The members of that community suffered terrible hardships, but they were told they could none of them die unless they were guilty of sin. Some of them did die from the suffering they had to go through. It was not, however, till the prophetess herself passed away, that her disciples lost faith. It need hardly be said that Mr Knight’s adherence to this movement lost him all his local influence. He has never been taken seriously since. Mr Knight’s abilities have been displayed in other directions than those we have indicated. He was the original inventor of the ingenious horse clipping machine which (in an improved form) is now so well known. He was likewise the patentee of other ingenious contrivances, including a tin-opener, which is also still sold. He claimed to be the first in the field with an automatic weighing machine. We do not think his patents brought him much money; he had, however, not a few lawsuits about them, in which he took unfailing delight. In private life Mr Knight was an estimable citizen, his chief fault being the truly British one of pugnacity, which led hiim to be an uncommonly hard hitter. He liked to take the weaker side, and if possible win the victory. We believe it was this feeling, as much as anything else, which made him sympathise with, and work so hard for Mrs Girling and her fanatical disciples. There can be no question that in Mr Henry Knight we have lost one of the most remarkable men who ever came into Ryde, but it is also true that he was the means of sowing much ill-feeling and many dissensions which are only just beginning to subside. Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

22 April, 2023View
Diana Wood

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Diana Wood, founder of Historic Ryde Society, and co-founder, along with Tony Packer, of Ryde District Heritage Centre. Without her drive, imagination and enthusiasm, it is unlikely that we would have such a splendid collection of all things Ryde, and the premises in which to display them. The people of Ryde owe her a huge debt of gratitude. Following a stroke last year, Diana was still active in the community, with the Harp on Wight Festival being close to her heart. Diana’s funeral will be held at the Isle of Wight Crematorium on Monday 21st January at 10.30am. Anyone wishing to pay their respects will be most …

16 December, 2023View
Dinosaur Isle Kids’ Day

Dinosaur Isle in Sandown organised a free admission event for parents and children and invited HRS to attend. We could not compete with a fossil display so we provided items under the title ‘Not only fossils come out of the ground’. We had a display of many items dug up or found  by metal detectors, etc. that the children were invited to pick up and examine. It was attended by some 2500 people and it was nice to see parents who did not have to say ‘Don’t touch’ !! The team members: David Newman, Brian and Sandy …

21 October, 2023View
Dinosaur Isle Kids’ Day

Dinosaur Isle in Sandown organised a free admission event for parents and children and invited HRS to attend. We could not compete with a fossil display so we provided items under the title ‘Not only fossils come out of the ground’. We had a display of many items dug up or found  by metal detectors, etc. that the children were invited to pick up and examine. It was attended by some 2500 people and it was nice to see parents who did not have to say ‘Don’t touch’ !! The team members: David Newman, Brian and Sandy …

26 February, 2016View
Disagreeable stench

Unpleasant Atmospheric Impregnation Isle of Wight Observer January 15, 1876 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, – On several days in the last week, more especially on Saturday, a most disagreeable stench pervaded the neighbourhood of Pier-street and the streets adjoining, and on the morning of Saturday its offensive character was perceived at the elevations of Upper-George-street and Cross-street.Whether the cause of the disgusting effluvium was the efflux of sewage thrown back by the east wind on the sands, or the emanations from putrescent seaweed, I do not pretend to know, but an odour so offensive and diffusive proves the existance very near to us of those subtle forces which produce and develop disease, and if not persistent yet recurring at intervals is well calculated to, and indeed does produce in the minds of visitors, a very unfavourable impression of the sanitary condition and arrangements of the town.It is impossible to estimate the extent of the injury which a prejudice so created may inflict or has inflicted on the owners of property, lessees of houses, and tradesmen in this beautifully situated marine town.Doubtless it is a very laudable object of those in authority to procure for us an abundant supply of pure water, but it is not less desirable that they should secure to us and our visitors an atmosphere untainted by the pollution of fetid sewage or rotten seaweed.There may be many difficulties in removing the cause of the nuisance to which I have adverted, but they are such as should be engaged and overcome. If there is neglect or delay in dealing with this matter, it is not presumptuous to predict that the health and prosperity of the town may be seriously endangered. Perchance some of your readers may regard it as impertinent boldness in a young burgess calling public attention to a matter of this kind, but perhaps they will extend to me their indulgence when I state that the remarks I have made have been suggested, not merely by the recent unpleasant atmospheric impregnation, but also by observations made by visitors and residents on several occasions during the past and preceding years.I am, Sir, yours respectfully,T S FLOWER,Opposite the Pier, Ryde, Jan 13, 1876. Return to 1870s …

25 March, 2023View
Disclaimer

Disclaimer of Historic Ryde Society The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information in this website is provided by  Historic Ryde Society, their advertisers and writers. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. The views and opinions of the originators expressed therein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Historic Ryde Society or any agency or entities thereof. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website. Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Historic Ryde Society. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, Historic Ryde Society takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our …

8 October, 2022View
Disclaimer of Historic Ryde Society

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information in this website is provided by  Historic Ryde Society, their advertisers and writers. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information up-to-date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. The views and opinions of the originators expressed therein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Historic Ryde Society or any agency or entities thereof. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website. Through this website you are able to link to other websites which are not under the control of Historic Ryde Society. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. Every effort is made to keep the website up and running smoothly. However, Historic Ryde Society takes no responsibility for, and will not be liable for, the website being temporarily unavailable due to technical issues beyond our …

8 April, 2023View
DISFIGURING A SEAT ON THE ESPLANADE

G. Basset Isle of Wight Observer August 18, 1860 More 1860s tales from the newspapers DISFIGURING A SEAT ON THE ESPLANADEOn Thursday afternoon some mischievous wretch, infatuated with a love for his name, and thinking perhaps that if imbecility kept it from the world one way it should give it in another, deeply cut in legible characters “G Basset”, on the seat near the Marine Baths. However much such a cognomen as “G Basset” might grace a certain celebrated “Calendar”, we can assure the owner of it that neither one nor the other would be considered an ornament to the seats around by the community of Ryde. What particular pleasure the miserable asine biped derived from the performance cannot possibly be known to any but himself, but perhaps that admirable corrective, solitary confinement, would have a more salutary effect upon this monomania for name etching than idling away hours by the seaside, so we recommend the friends of G Basset to act upon the hint, or perhaps the officers of the law might aid in a manner less creditable if more notorious! Return to 1860s odds and ends …

25 February, 2023View
Donald McGill

7 May, 2022View
Donald McGill is officially open!

Although there is still a little bit of work to do, the Donald McGill saucy seaside postcard museum is now ready for public viewing! Thanks to a great deal of hard work by James and HRS volunteers, the last few days have been a frantic push to move things forward. This will mean that as from tomorrow, the entrance charge will increase to £3 for two museums in one. This is a soft opening, but there will be an all-singing, all dancing opening once the few remaining tasks have been completed. Watch this space…. Please let family and friends know we’re now fully open for business, and, with the stairlift in place, there’s no excuse! Return to …

16 December, 2023View
Donald McGill Postcard Museum

Known as the ‘King of the Seaside Postcard’ Donald McGill created over 12,000 artworks for postcards from 1904 to 1962. His cards cover the Suffragette movement, Transport, two World Wars….in fact everything he observed throughout a career which spanned nearly six decades is reflected in his designs. In 2009, the copyright to Donald McGill’s art was bought by James Bissell-Thomas, as well as a significant collection of McGill memorabilia. This collection forms the Donald McGill Saucy Seaside Postcard Museum, now housed in Ryde District Heritage Centre. Over 300 of Donald’s cards were disapproved by seaside councils during the 1950s. Censorship bodies from places such as Blackpool and the Isle of Man would request the forthcoming season’s cards from publishers, and a committee would then decide if the cards were suitable for sale to the public. In 1953, Police raided 5 shops in Ryde and seized over five thousand McGill postcards deemed unsuitable. McGill was prosecuted under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act. Through the exhibition, it is hoped that Donald’s talent as an accomplished artist will be fully appreciated, and the unfairness with which he was treated following his prosecution laid to rest. Return to …

11 June, 2014View
Donald McGill Postcard Museum

Known as the ‘King of the Seaside Postcard’ Donald McGill created over 12,000 artworks for postcards from 1904 to 1962. His cards cover the Suffragette movement, Transport, two World Wars….in fact everything he observed throughout a career which spanned nearly six decades is reflected in his designs. In 2009, the copyright to Donald McGill’s art was bought by James Bissell-Thomas, as well as a significant collection of McGill memorabilia. This collection forms the Donald McGill Saucy Seaside Postcard Museum, now housed in Ryde District Heritage Centre. Over 300 of Donald’s cards were disapproved by seaside councils during the 1950s. Censorship bodies from places such as Blackpool and the Isle of Man would request the forthcoming season’s cards from publishers, and a committee would then decide if the cards were suitable for sale to the public. In 1953, Police raided 5 shops in Ryde and seized over five thousand McGill postcards deemed unsuitable. McGill was prosecuted under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act. Through the exhibition, it is hoped that Donald’s talent as an accomplished artist will be fully appreciated, and the unfairness with which he was treated following his prosecution laid to rest. Return to …

23 September, 2023View
Donald McGill Shop

10 May, 2022View
Donkey Racing

Isle of Wight Observer November 10, 1860 Some donkey racing came off on Tuesday afternoon near the Nelson Tavern, but as we were not favoured with a “card” our readers, if interested in the asinine affair, must seek information elsewhere. We can nevertheless inform them that the Ryde donkey won, so the star of our reputation for “fast donkey” would seem to be in the ascendant, which however is a species of celebrity more to be deprecated than encouraged, for we would not like to hear enterprising tourists, in giving glowing descriptions of their travels, pass over Ryde with a casual remark that it was distinguished for its donkeys. After the mounted racing was over, some of the more ardent supporters of the donkey turf got up some running matches between boys, which if not extraordinary in itself created extraordinary fun and laughter. Return to 1860s Odds and Ends …

8 April, 2023View
Dover House, The Strand, Ryde

With FREE House History workshops now a regular feature of the Historic Ryde Society calendar, the research below shows what kind of material can be discovered with a little delving into the archives. The research was done several years ago as a birthday present for a friend who lives in the house. There is one new course coming up – on Wednesday, September 25. Please call 01983 717435 during opening hours, Monday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm, for further information. This map appears in an 1833 Guide to the Isle of Wight, published by Gloster Sheridan, a hotelier from Newport, who ran a boarding establishment in Union Street, opposite Yelf’s Hotel. (2013 – currently Ladbrokes) The map clearly shows no development on the shore east of Wellington Street (now Dover Street), and from the Newchurch Poor Rate books, we learn that Ryde Castle was begun in 1833. The development of the road we now know as The Strand, followed over the next ten to twelve years, and Ryde Esplanade was laid out in 1855/56. Gloster Sheridan was an early mover and shaker in Ryde, who helped to lay both the foundation and cope stones of Ryde Town Hall and Market House in 1830/31. He was also present at the ceremonies celebrating the Royal Victoria Arcade, but fell into financial difficulties and left the Island to become a Workhouse Governor. He died in Salford, very shortly after the 1841 census, leaving a pregnant wife and five children, four of whom had remained with grandparents in Newport. One of the most successful Ryde builders of this period was Thomas Dashwood, born in Whippingham in 1788. Thomas was responsible for many important buildings in the town, including Brigstocke Terrace, St Thomas’ Church, Holy Trinity Church, Ryde Town Hall and Market House and several of the houses in The Strand. (He also built St Catherine’s Lighthouse) Beautiful plans for The Strand exist in the Isle of WIght County Record Office, with strict instructions for the builders: ‘No erection of any kind, or any tree, flower or shrub is to be allowed more than four feet higher than the top of the north boundary wall except trees or shrubs growing within eight feet of the land to be built on’. Dated October 1842, these instructions appear on a plan for numbers 12 and 13 The Strand, on a plot owned by Edward Marvin, who later became Mayor of Ryde. The Rate Books of April 1844 indicate there are six houses completed in The Strand at this time, including Dover House, built and owned by Thomas Dashwood. Thomas built and lived in Dover Cottage, across the road from Dover House, on the south side of the road. Thomas, and subsequently his Trustees and heirs, owned Dover House for more than sixty years but only lived in it for a very short time. Over that period of sixty years, it was leased to three separate families, with very different stories to tell. The first tenant, in 1848, was Sir James Brabazon Urmston. Born in Chigwell in 1785, James followed his father into the East India Company and sailed to Canton on a ship owned by his father – the Sir Edward Hughes, in 1816. It is related that when the ship stopped in St Helena  to supply the garrison James ‘partook of breakfast with Napoleon’. James and his wife Elizabeth lived in Macau, and had four sons and a daughter. James was knighted for his part in dealing with  Ruan Yuen, the Viceroy of Canton, and the affair of the frigate Topaze in 1821, and in the 1823/24 season, earned nearly £20,000 commission. He wrote a book about his experiences: ‘Observations on the China Trade: And on the importance and advantage of removing it, from Canton, to some other part of the coast of that empire’, published by A H Baily in 1834. James’ sons pursued military careers, and his daughter died unmarried. His third son, Henry, married Harriet Elizabeth, the daughter of William Hughes Hughes MP of Bellevue House, Ryde. The Poor Rate Books indicate the Urmstons only took the house for the season, as Thomas Dashwood’s name appears in the October 1848 entry. With the establishment of The Isle of WIght Observer in September 1852, and its weekly publication of ‘The Fashionable List’, a comprehensive list of residents of and visitors to Ryde, researching tenants of houses is made much easier. William Henry Hamilton and his wife Catherine occupied Dover House full time until the end of June, 1860. From the Australian Dictionary of Biography, we learn that William was born in Liverpool in around 1790, and began his career as a public servant and banker. After joining the Navy, he became secretary to Admiral Scott in June 1808 and subsequently Sir Richard King, commander of the Indian Station. In 1820, William became a partner in a mercantile house in Bombay. Ill health forced him to leave India in 1824, and William and Catherine travelled to Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), where he became a dealer in wool, settling near Hamilton, a town possibly named after him. William was asked to take over the running of the Naval Office, and subsequently became Police Magistrate of the New Norfolk District. He resigned in 1830 to become the first full time salaried bank manager in Australia, and returned to England with his family in January 1832. He became the London representative of the Derwent Bank until its closure in 1849. After leaving Dover House, William and Catherine moved to Southfield House in Haylands, Ryde, which they had built in 1859/60. Sadly, Catherine died in August 1861, and is buried in Ryde Cemetery. William moved to Bristol, where he died in 1870. Within a week of William and Catherine’s departure from Dover House, The Fashionable List tells us the Bloxam family had moved in. Robert Bloxam was a founder member of the College of Surgeons, and he and his wife Anne moved to the Island shortly after their marriage in Westminster in 1800. Their first child, John, was born in Newport in July 1801. (Robert’s nephews, Andrew and Richard, were on the voyage of HMS Blonde in 1824, when it returned the bodies of the King and Queen of the Sandwich Islands, (now Hawaii) who had both succumbed to measles on a journey to England. Andrew became an eminent botanist. His brother Matthew is known as the source of the myth that William Webb Ellis was the founder of the game of Rugby. Their mother was a sister of the artist Sir Thomas Lawrence.) Anne Bloxam and her children moved to Dover House following Robert’s death. Their daughter Lucy remained there until her own death in 1904. It is worthy of note that her servants, Frank and Hannah Moorman, remained with her for over thirty years. Lucy Bloxam’s obituary reveals she was an enthusiastic supporter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Volunteer movement, and very well thought of in the local community. If you would like to learn more about the history of your home, or any house, please get in touch via the Heritage Centre, as free House History workshops are offered from time to time. The next is on February 20, 2013, followed by another on March 27. Return to Houses …

22 October, 2022View
Dover Street Improvement

Isle of Wight Observer July 1855 RYDE NEWS DOVER STREET IMPROVEMENT (?) – We had occasion a few weeks ago to laud what we then considered the great improvement the Commissioners were making in Dover-street, by reducing the hill and making the access to the Esplanade more easy. Since that time they have altogether altered their plan, and the pavement on the west side of the street is to remain nearly as high as it was before, and the road is to be approached by a flight of steps placed on the outside of the curb! A more dexterous scheme for endangering life and limb could not in our opinion have been conceived, and we should scarcely have supposed it possible to have found any persons wild enough to have adopted it. Setting aside all opinion as to the ugliness of the alteration, we simply protest against it as being dangerous; and would suggest that if there must be a raised foot path, there should be an iron railing outside of it. We have heard more dissatisfaction expressed with regard to this affair, than upon any other local question for some time past, but we do not for one minute pretend to say to whom the honour of the innovation is due; whoever they are, they should be held responsible for all accidents accruing from it. HOURS OF BUSINESS – We are sorry to see another retrograde movement made in this town in prolonging the hours of business by keeping shops open until nine o’ clock in the evening. The plea for this absurdity is, that the streets look dull when the shops are closed, and it is not for a minute pretended that any more business will be done; so that there appears to  be more self-abnegation in tradesmen than they get credit for, and a very large class of assistants are to be fried in gas to enable the idle to have an hour’s extra gazing into shops. This is slightly different to what appeared in the Isle of Wight Observer on May 19th, 1855… PUBLIC WORKS All the works of the town are satisfactorily progressing and many minor improvements are being carried out. The pavement on the south side of the Strand is being completed; the hill in Dover-street is lowered so that the approach to the Esplanade will be gradual; and tenders are invited for making roads in Trinity-street, Belvidere-street, and Dark-lane; also for sewers in Princes-street. When all completed, Ryde will be vastly improved. The Commissioners have advertised for another loan of £15000 to enable them to discharge their liabilities. Return to Ryde Streets …

5 May, 2013View
Dr. Noel Stimson about Royal National Lifeboat

Dr Noel Stimson has given a brilliant talk about Royal National Lifeboat Institution in front of guests and members of HRS on Wednesday, 17 May at Yelf’s Hotel. Raffle and entry raised £75–after £30 donation and £10 for raffle prizes, we raised £35 for the HRS …

16 December, 2023View
Early Closing movement and the Grocers’ Assistants March 1855

Isle of Wight Observer March 10 1855 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight ObserverSir, we desire through the columns of your valuable newspaper, to express our gratitude to our employers for their kindness in acceding to our requirements to close their establishments for a longer period at 7 o’clock, especially as the drapers, who are the first in everything relative to early closing,have reference to join us in this movement. We hope the noble spirit which the grocers of Ryde has manifested may induce the tradesmen of other towns to follow their example, and confer the boon we now enjoy as their assistants, thereby giving them the same opportunities for recreation and literary pursuits.Endeavouring to merit a continuance of the favour so liberally bestowed upon us by our employers.We remain, Sir, your obedient servants,THE GROCERS’ ASSISTANTS OF RYDE The Early Closing Movement took a long time to be adopted on a widespread basis, which can be seen by the fact of this letter which appeared in the Isle of Wight Times, in July 1885. EARLY CLOSINGTo the Editor of the Isle of Wight TimesSIR – I am certainly very glad to see “Veritas” has again opened the question of early closing in your valuable columns, I quite agree with him that the hours the assistants of our town have to be in business are very long, and although I am a grocer in this favoured borough, and am obliged, in self-defence, to keep my establishment open until 9pm, I am of opinion that equally as much business would be done, if an understanding could be come to by the Grocers and Drapers – for I consider these are the only trades that have cause to complain – to arrange to close at 8pm, and 5 o’clock one evening in the week. This is now nearly universally done, and why should not the employers of Ryde, have the same advantages as assistants have in almost all other towns?Hoping that this letter may induce the Early Closing Association to move in the matter.I remain, Yours truly,GROCERRyde, July 6th, 1885. Return to Shop Letters …

15 July, 2023View
Early days of the Railway question

ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER  September 11, 1852 Robert Stephenson visits the Island – 1852 RAILWAY –  On Friday a report was very widely circulated, that a very respectable party in London had sent a gentleman down, offering to pay all expenses the town of Newport had gone to, about the improvement of the river, and to lay a rail from East Cowes to Newport; thence to Merston, where there would be a branch line from Ryde to meet; and from thence to Shanklin and Ventnor. We hear that some of the landowners are favourable to it; but a meeting of the council was held, last evening, at the council chamber, to take it into consideration, the result of which we hope to be able to give in our next. September 18, 1852A RAILWAY IN THE ISLE OF WIGHT – Persons are stationed at various points in the Isle of Wight to ascertain the traffic, with a view of bringing forward a scheme for a Railway very shortly. Mr Stephenson, the celebrated engineer, is on a professional visit at the present time; and we hear, the notices will be issued at the proper time for an application to Parliament for that purpose. If a rail can be so constructed as not to interfere with the beauties of the Island, we should hail with satisfaction the realisation of such a scheme; the advantage of which to Ventnor, Shanklin, as well as other places, if only in the article of coal, are obvious to all. The agriculturalist also would reap great profit by the more easy transport of his commodities, and much of the expense (little of which is defrayed by tolls) would be saved in the enormous wear and tear of the roads. We should advise our island friends however to refrain from taking shares; rather let the Railway Company interested in securing the traffic for their main line bear the brunt of it. RAILWAY – We said in our last we hoped to be able to give a report of the meeting of the Town Council, which was held on Thursday evening last, to take into consideration the offer of a company in London, to lay down a line in the Isle of Wight. It was decided to do nothing in the matter until they heard more from the Company, who were waiting to hear the feeling of the landed proprietors upon the subject, and that, if they meant to carry out their offer, to call a public meeting of the inhabitants, to have the general feeling expressed upon it. September 25, 1852THE PROJECTED RAILWAY – A private meeting, convened, we believe, by some of the shareholders of the Pier Company, but whether instigated by their hopes or fears we know not, the Press not being invited, was held at the Town Hall on Monday. We can only glean that the meeting was composed of Dr Lind, Captain Brigstocke, Mr Yelf, Mr Marvin, Mr John Woodrow, Mr Hellyer, Mr Taplin, and one or two more, and that an unmistakeable feeling in favour of a Railway was manifested. Without at all questioning the right of any gentleman to hold a meeting in whatever manner they choose, still we think in a matter of such great importance as the establishment of a Rail, the public have a claim to a report of their deliberations, as frequently out of such a close meeting great events spring, as in the case of the Public Health Act here. Return to 1850s railway page Return to Railway …

19 November, 2022View
Eccentric Europeans

Attempt to swim from Portsmouth to Ryde Eccentric Europeans On Monday afternoon Professor Albert, the Scandinavian Swimming Champion, started from Portsmouth on a well-advertised attempt to swim from Portsmouth to Ryde. He had been challenged to a race by a Portsmouth professional,  Sargeant, but indignantly declined to make a race of it. This did not deter the Portsmouth man, however, and when the Scandinavian, at half-past 3, on Monday afternoon, made a dive from the South Parade Pier, Sargeant was there in a wherry with a waterman, and exactly five minutes after Albert had started, took a header from his wherry and started in pursuit of the Professor, who was swimming with a steady breast stroke and accompanied by two boats. Sargeant, however, started with a quick side stroke, and caught the Scandinavian champion three hundred yards from the Pier. Albert had just been affably declaring that he was “just getting right,” and wished “he had been born a fresh,” but on seeing his rival he stopped and warmly upbraided him for interfering with his attempt. Sargeant, however, heeded him not, but, swimming beautifully, went right over towards the Island shore. He was splendidly steered, which is more than can be said for Albert, and after they had been an hour in the water the Portsmouth man was more than a mile to the good, and rapidly drawing away. At half-past 4 Albert was nearing the Knoll and Bell Buoys, and there he stopped. He caught the tide running off the Spit, and in vain he tried to get across so that he might get the favouring current to carry him over towards Ryde. Twice he took doses of brandy in the water, but still he made no headway, and at 20 past 5, raising himself in the water, he warmly vituperated the men who were steering him in the boats. A general feeling was expressed on board the launch that his course had not been well chosen, and at length the Professor proclaimed “it vos damn humbug,” and he should give it up. And he did so. With great difficulty he was got on board one of the boats, and from there to a launch, where Dr A G Reid, who was in attendance, pronounced him as strong as when he went into the water. Be this as it may, during the last hour he had been in the water he had done little but drift, and the launch was hardly two miles from the South Parade Pier when he abandoned the attempt. Sargeant was by this time out of sight, and close up to Ryde Pier. He was then well underneath the shore, and, swimming down, he reached Ryde Pier shortly after 6 o’clock, having accomplished a remarkable feat. An Eccentric Artiste Isle of Wight Observer April 1, 1893 M Pachmann’s conduct was eccentric enough when he paid a visit to Ryde a week or so ago. When he came on the platform and sat down and commenced running his fingers up and down the keys. “Bah! Nairvous,” he exclaimed, “Put dem lights down!” He waited for a second and began again, but, as none of those composing the front seats of audience seemed to think it their duty to jump on the platform and extinguish the gas, he shouted “Veel no von put out ze gas?” Eventually the hall keeper came, and there was some distraction caused by his mounting chairs, and then the gas was extinguished. The gifted player even then seemed anything but tranquil, and once when he apparently did not touch the correct note he said “sac-r-r-ree-e-e-e!” in a very audible tone of voice. Then he quieted down and managed to get through a difficult passage to his satisfaction, and looking around as if to say “What do you think of that?” caught the eye of a lady who smiled and nodded. That put him in a good humour. He played to that lady the rest of the evening. Chopin’s music flowed dreamily from the piano, quite a new revelation to many, and the audience warmly applauded. Pachmann was all right after that. His face beamed, and after the performance he favoured the local manager with a stage embrace. “Oh, I do like ze Ryde people,” he said enthusiastically, “They is ze nicest people I play to for ver long time.” At Southsea, however, he was in a very bad humour. The Portland Hall was not crowded, and they applauded in the wrong places, and we understand he was so much annoyed that he threw in a little musical instruction gratis. After playing very softly and sweetly, he informed them “Zat ees piano, and this (he added, giving a tremendous crash at the keys) is forte.” But all this was capped by what he has just done at Weston-Super-Mare. He was recalled after a piece of Paderewski’s, and in announcing the title of his encore piece he is reported to have said, “Paderewski is de most modest artiste dat I have never (sic) seen; I myself am de most unmodest artist except Hans von Bulow. He is more unmodest zan I am.” Vladimir Pachmann (1848 – 1933), an acknowledged top player of the time,  was renowned for his eccentric style. Wikipedia reveals that George Bernard Shaw once reported that Pachmann ‘gave his well-known pantomimic performance, with accompaniments by Chopin.’ …

25 February, 2023View
EDUCATION

Education in the Ryde District Heritage Centre Ryde District Heritage Centre was officially opened by Andrew Turner MP, and Lady Lucinda Lambton on July 1st, 2011. This day marked the 175th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria Arcade, by Lord Lambton. The exhibition opened on August 15th. HRS has a rolling plan of educational workshops suitable for all ages, and welcomes visits to the centre by school and community groups. Please contact the RDHC on 01983 717435 for further details. Return to Cyril’s …

8 April, 2023View
Education for the Blind of the Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight Observer April 8, 1865 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – I should feel obliged by your inserting the following in your next paper. Having sent circulars to the clergymen of the various parishes, Dissenting ministers, and several gentlemen and ladies of the Island, I beg to say I shall be most happy to receive their names to be on the committee, or any others who feel interested in the welfare of the blind. It may not be uninteresting to many of your readers to know the origin of a blind society in the Isle of Wight. In June, 1863, a lady by the name of Vicars (I believe the aunt of late Headley Vicars) came to Wootton Bridge and taught me to read in the house that I was born in, and about a year ago recommended me to Mr Moor, who came to Ryde and established a society, whose failure may be attributed to want of publicity. I am anxious to ameliorate the condition of my blind brethren and sisters both by education and pecuniary assistance, and many are in distressing circumstances; indeed, I should be most happy (if the funds would permit) to establish a home for them in the Island.I am, Sir, your much obliged servant,John CooperWootton Bridge, IW, April 5, 1865.PS – Subscriptions received at the “Isle of Wight Observer” Office, Ryde Return to 1860s Letters …

25 March, 2023View
Electric Telegraph to Ryde

Completion of the Electric Telegraph to Ryde Isle of Wight Observer, November 5 1859 An event of no ordinary importance (although it seems to attract little or no attention) has just occurred to the inhabitants and visitors of this town; namely, the completion of the laying of the wire in connection with the Telegraph, via Cowes, Sconce Fort, and Hurst Castle; thus opening a communication instantaneously with all parts of the World within the “magic circle”. To illustrate the importance we attach to this circumstance, we will give an example: the laying was completed on Monday afternoon last, and the wire was immediately tested and found “all right”; and the following day a storm arose of such severity as to cut us off from all communication with the mainland, with the exception of the post, via Southampton, at 3.30am. before the gale attained its intensity. No matter how urgent the emergency, there was complete isolation; what greater proof, then, could there be required to prove the absolute necessity and utility of the Telegraph? Of course, we are not surprised at the supineness of the inhabitants generally with regard to this great event; inasmuch as four or five years ago, when a move was made by us to introduce the Telegraph, we could find but one person only to encourage us, and that was Mr Edward Marvin, sen., who joined us in a guarantee to secure £200 -a-year business for three years, which the Company declined unless the guarantee was made perpetual. So things stood till now, and we feel confident the speculation will answer. But why should not the opening of the communication be attended with éclat?   Surely many inferior objects are puffed up; and, therefore, the full merit ought not to be withheld from this. But, as the French say, “Chacun a son gout.” REMOVAL OF AN OLD LANDMARK – The well-known veranda in Union-street has been removed this week, which, to the eye accustomed to the town, gives a very naked appearance to the street. This was one of the landmarks of Ryde, and it was erected near half-a-century ago when the place was a village; and was first used as a lottery office, when those schemes were sanctioned by Government. Doubtless its removal will enhance the value of the property which before seemed buried. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

27 May, 2013View
ELECTRICITY ON RYDE PIER

Isle of Wight Observer May 1885 The Ryde Pier company have for the last few years adopted a practice which is likely to do them more harm than good – the exclusion of members of the Press from their meeting. A special meeting of the company was held on the 2nd inst., to which our reporter made application for admission, but a reply was sent to the effect that they “had their own reporter”. It is a matter of indifference to us whether we publish the proceedings of the shareholders’ meeting, but we can inform the directors that this exclusion of the Press has made an exceedingly bad impression on the public mind, and the result is that people imagine the concern is in even a worse condition than it is, with the result of still further depressing the value of Pier shares. Nothing took place at the last meeting of shareholders which might not have been made public. The question for discussion was simply what form of locomotion should in future be adopted for the Pier Tramway. There appears to have been blunder after blunder made in regard to the Pier. Horse traction was found expensive, and was thrown on one side a few years since in favour of an engine, which was to be heated by means of gas. This wonderful contrivance was made on a strikingly original principle, and it was thought the maximum of power was to be obtained with the minimum of fuel, both in weight and expense. Alas for the anticipations of theorists! The engine could not be made to work satisfactorily with gas, and had to be heated in the ordinary way; but, as it was not adapted for ordinary fuel, it was constantly going wrong. Besides, it was too heavy, and when the directors had the Tramway Pier packed with an enormous quantity of gravel, the weight of the gravel and added to that of the engine was too much. The tram pier began to sink, and the locomotive, which had been a constant source of worry, was thrown on one side. Then the pier directors made arrangements with an electrician, named Brain, who was to have made an electric railway. But as this gentleman was unable to light up a ballroom for one night by means of electricity, it is not surprising that he signally failed with the electric railway. He seems to have imagined that he could do the whole of the work by means of secondary batteries, which were to be put underneath the seats of the carriages. The directors left Mr Brain to do the work and take the responsibility, and their only loss was a damaged carriage or so. But the result was that the electrician ruined himself, and has left England for the colonies in consequence. Now, a certain section of the directors, of whom Mr Gibbs and Mr Cudlipp are leaders, are trying to introduce electricity again, their model this time being the Brighton Electric Railway. After one failure, and in the face of statements that the railway at Brighton is only a toy one, and useless for real work, it is not surprising that quite an animated discussion took place at the meeting in question. The opponents of the electric railway wished to save the thousand pounds (its initial cost), and provide traction by an endless chain, which is one of the cheapest and most effective means of locomotion known for short distances. Their arguments were, however, wasted and, by a number of proxies, a majority of 1318 was secured in favour of electricity. We shall, therefore, either see one of these little toys running up and down the Pier, and (not improbable) another partial success, divided by a very thin line from failure. We do not mean to say that carriages will not go up and down the Pier by electricity, but we somewhat doubt whether the cost will not be greater both to construct and keep working than the endless rope would be. Return to 1880s Ryde Pier …

22 April, 2023View
Entertainment and Leisure

Leisure and Entertainment Ryde in the 19th century was a very entertaining place to be! In the season, bands played every day on the pier, plays and burlesques were performed in the theatre, there were exhibitions in the Victoria Rooms, (now Town Chambers in Lind Street), and balls and concerts in the Town Hall! On the Poetry page you will see a poem written by a lady bemoaning the fact a whole year has gone by without a Fancy Ball……….this was a rare event. In the local newspapers, lists of attendees were published, which included a full description of costumes of both ladies and gentlemen. On this page, we’ll be explaining how the residents of 19th century Ryde spent their leisure time. You may be quite jealous! Leisure in the 1850s Leisure in the 1860s Leisure in the 1870s Leisure in the 1880s Leisure in the 1890s The “Old Madrid” Fancy Fair, April 1907 The Old Madrid part 2 Leisure in the 1900s ISLE OF WIGHT OBSERVER 19th FEBRUARY 1876 “SPELLING BEE” Another of these interesting entertainments was given at the Town Hall, on Thursday evening, on which occasion the large room was well filled, and we have no doubt that as a result of the entertainment the Royal Isle of Wight Infirmary and the School of Art will be benefitted to a considerable extent, the proceeds being devoted to these two excellent institutions. The chair was taken by the Mayor (B BARROW Esq.); and Dr J RICHARDS Esq., acted as interrogator, and Alfred WOODWARD, Esq., and Mr W B SMITH as referees. The words were much better selected than on the last occasion, and there could not now be many complaints of a lack of fairness. After the Mayor had opened the meeting, the first competition for the juniors (ie those under 16 years of age) commenced. There were about 25 young girls and 25 lads, and with these Mr RICHARDS, who was an admirable interrogator, soon began to deal. “Phaeton”, “furlough”, “clergy” and “axiom” (spelt acciom), “nucleus”, “rhythm”, “indict” (spelt indite), and a number of other similar words, soon removed more than one half of the competitors from the platform. “Sirloin” was spelt correctly, but the Mayor said he would give a prize to anyone who would tell him how the joint came by the name. Two or three answers came from different parts of the room. King Charles II was dining off this particular joint, on one occasion, and declared it to be so good that he said he would knight it, which he did and it had ever since been called sirloin. “Altar” (for alter) soon sent another off; as did also carboine (for carboy), rapsody (for rhapsody), sensorious (for censorious), sycholl (for cycle); hyatus (for hiatus), which was some of the worst spelling of the juniors. The girls were certainly the best spellers, and soon the number was reduced to five – three girls and two boys – the number of prizes. The next competition was to see who would take first and second prize &c. Before this took place, however, Mrs GURNELL favoured the audience with the good old song, “My lodgings are on the cold, cold ground,” which she sang with great sweetness and taste. In response to the loud encore, she gave “I’d be a butterfly”. JULY 1904 ALTERATIONS AT THE THEATRE ROYAL, RYDE. – Mr J BANNISTER HOWARD, the new proprietor, has spared no expense in cleaning and re-decorating the Theatre Royal. The work has not been done in a perfunctory manner, but the lower part of the Theatre, beneath the stage and pit, has been thoroughly cleaned out, and we understand over three tons of paper and rubbish have been cleared away. The dressing rooms have been cleaned and whitewashed, and the machinery under the stage seen to. Mr H LEONARD, the acting manager, discovered a passage, intended to give access, when the house is crowded, to the side of the pit, but it had evidently never been used. An extra gallery entrance and exit to the street is being made on the front of the Theatre, and the newly used entrance to the stalls from Lind Street has been repapered and decorated. The new paper which has been placed on the walls of the Theatre, is a Japanese embossed pattern, which looks rich without being too gaudy. In fact the whole of the decorations are in very good taste. We trust Mr BANNISTER HOWARD will find the new seats he has been able to add to the pit stalls and pit appreciated and well filled.(The Theatre Royal burned to the ground in May, 1961. The National Westminster Bank was built in its place.) The postcard below shows members of Ryde Amateur Dramatic Society in “The Peacemaker” Town Halls, Ryde, April 17, 18 and 19, …

8 October, 2022View
Esplanade Gardens and Canoe Lake

Taken from the book: Ryde Isle of Wight Its Sports and Attractions: Laid out in 1880 at a cost of over £30,000, affording an extensive Esplanade and carriage drive of nearly a mile. The Gardens are provided with Shelters, Band Stand, Flower Beds and Fountains. The whole forming a delightful promenade, from which extensive views of the neighbouring coast, and craft of all description can be seen and admired without fatigue. The Canoe Lake is to the east of the Gardens and is of a uniform depth of 2ft., is used for  rowing and sailing, and for Model Yacht racing. Return to homepage Return to Leisure in the 1900s …

4 November, 2023View
Esplanade Gardens and Canoe Lake

Taken from the book: Ryde Isle of Wight Its Sports and Attractions: Laid out in 1880 at a cost of over £30,000, affording an extensive Esplanade and carriage drive of nearly a mile. The Gardens are provided with Shelters, Band Stand, Flower Beds and Fountains. The whole forming a delightful promenade, from which extensive views of the neighbouring coast, and craft of all description can be seen and admired without fatigue. The Canoe Lake is to the east of the Gardens and is of a uniform depth of 2ft., is used for  rowing and sailing, and for Model Yacht racing. Return to homepage Return to Leisure in the 1900s …

31 March, 2015View
Events

23 April, 2022View
Excursionists in Ryde

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 …

8 May, 2013View
Explosion of Gas in Ryde

Isle of Wight Times January 9th, 1879 What might have been a very serious explosion of gas took place on the premises of Mr Miller, tailor and outfitter, High-street, on Saturday morning. It appears that when Mr A Miller came downstairs he noticed a strong smell of gas in the back sitting-room, and told the boy to put some water into the slide of the gasolier, but instead of doing so, he got a pair of steps and went to the top of the room and struck a match, and the gas having collected near the ceiling, a sharp explosion immediately followed. The boy himself, (named Whittington) was thrown violently off the steps and his head and face rather severely scorched. The window of the sitting-room was blown out, and the door between the shop and the room shivered into splinters, some of which were found in the shop window, which was also shattered. Mr A Miller, who was in the shop, was thrown violently into the street, and his face was cut by the pieces of plate glass from the window. Happily, the premises were not set on fire, but the furniture and stock were scorched and singed. One fortunate circumstance was in the fact that the shop door, which had only just been closed, had been open for some time, thus allowing a considerable quantity of gas to escape, or the results might have been much more disastrous. Mr Miller is carrying on his business in the shop opposite, (formerly occupied by a chemist) during the necessary repairs. Isle of Wight Observer January 11, 1879 EXPLOSION – On Saturday last a very serious explosion of gas occurred at Mr A Miller’s, tailor, in High-street. It appears that early in the morning Mr Miller noticed a strong smell of gas, and sent a boy named Whitington to find out where it came from. The lad sent into the room behind the shop and incautiously lighted a match, when a tremendous explosion occurred, which blew the plate-glass windows of the shop into little pieces, shivered the door between the shop and the back room to pieces, and also blew out the windows at the back with such violence that a rain water butt in the yard had a number of small pieces of glass sticking into it as if they had been fired from a gun. The furniture and the stock of the shop also caught on fire, but it was soon extinguished, and the greatest damage consisted of several bill files being burnt, and also some cloth singed. It is fortunate no one was passing in the street at the time, or they might have been seriously injured. The Gas Explosion Isle of Wight Observer February 20, 1879 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Dear Sir, – I am pleased to state that the loss occasioned by the late gas explosion at my Outfitting Establishment, 34, High-street, has been promptly met by the Sun and Lancashire Insurance Companies. The damage to the property by the former, and to stock and furniture by the latter Company. The Lancashire Company, upon the representation of their Agent, Mr J A Purnell, have forwarded a cheque for £2 2s to Mr Councillor Barton in acknowledgement of the valuable services rendered by him in running through the shop immediately after the explosion and extinguishing the flame before any serious damage was done to the stock.Yours obediently,34, High-street, Ryde           ALFRED MILLERFeb. 13th, …

25 February, 2023View
Fanny Oglander’s Letter, July 1836

Fanny Oglander, of the Nunwell family, was a prolific letter-writer. In 1835, she had written  to her brother, at the time serving in India, to tell him of plans to build an arcade in Union Street. ‘There is one in Southampton, which has obviously put it into Mr Banks’ head’. Mr Banks was William Houghton Banks, who founded the Arcade, and laid out Vernon Square. This is a scan of the letter she wrote to her brother telling him of the opening ceremony. (Image courtesy of Isle of Wight County Record Office) The Arcade here was opened on the first of this month, it was a beautiful day and multitudes of People came to see the sight, as Lord Yarborough could not come himself, he deputed Mr Blachford, of the Newport Bank, who is a Freemason, to act for him – Mr Banks’ friends gave him a Dinner afterwards at the Pier Hotel, Sir Richard Simeon, and  Richard [Oglander] were of the number and attended few other Gentlemen, but a good many of the chief Tradespeople of the Town. Sir Robert Peel has taken Norris Castle for two Months. Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

8 October, 2022View
Fashionable Society

The Fashionable Society List appeared weekly in the local papers to let people know who was in town.  Another popular column was Hotel Arrivals. The gentry were actively encouraged to give details of their movements, in order that they could be published. Balls were frequently mentioned in the papers, often listing those present, and, in the case of Fancy Dress Balls – very popular throughout the late 19th century-, giving a detailed list of the costumes worn. The New Year Festivities of January 1856 included the following:GENTRY’S BALL – The first of a series of annual new-year’s balls took place at the Town-hall on Tuesday, under the stewardship of Colonel Harvey, Captain Hancock, RN, Capt. Carden, 77th, and Capt Le Marchant. The attendance was quite as good as could be expected, considering the numerous private engagements usual at this time of year, – the bereavement which some of the leading families has sustained, – and the unavoidable absence of Colonel Harvey, the first steward. Those present included Lady Clifford, the Misses Clifford, Miss Hughan, and Capt. Clifford, RN; The Hon J P Ward, the Misses and Mr Ward; Mrs Young, Miss Young, Miss Garrett, and Mr Young; Mr and Miss Brigstocke; Mr and Mrs Lees, Miss Mears, and Mr Mears; the Misses Ferguson, Capt. Ferguson and Mrs Ferguson; Mrs Justly Hill, the Misses Hollingsworth, Miss Menzies and Mr Menzies, RN; Mr and Mrs Bloxam, Mr Lock, and Mrs Lock; Capt. Breedon, Capt. Hancock, RN, Rev J Le Marchant, and Capt. Le Marchant;Mrs Duff, Miss Astley, and Capt. Duff; Mr Barry, Mr Phillips, Mrs T B Hearn, Miss Fisher, Miss Brickman, and Mr T B Hearn; Mr Oliver &c., &c. There were about 75 present, nearly all of whom staid until the programme was concluded, at a little after 3am on Wednesday morning. The rooms were tastefully arranged for the occasion, under the superintendance of Mr McKay, who provided the supper consisting of white soup, raised pies, game, poultry, jellies, and indeed every luxury of the season, in the greatest profusion. The band (which was pronounced excellent by all) was most spiritedly conducted by Mr Jones, and we were pleased to see on this first occasion of Mr Jones’s management of our balls several townsmen in the band, including Mr Austin, lately returned from Jullien’s band. We understand that Mr Jones will have another ball about the end of this month. Great satisfaction was expressed with regard to all the arrangements; and, doubtless, the “Ryde New-year’s Ball” will take its stand amongst the local attractions for which that town is …

5 November, 2022View
Father Christmas opens his grotto!

Father Christmas arrived and took residence in his grotto on Saturday, December 7, 2013. He’ll be there on Saturday and Sunday, December 7/8 and December 14/15 from 11 till 4. There’s a charge of £3.50 for children to visit the Grotto, where they’ll meet Santa, receive a small gift, and some sweets. Queen Victoria also visited, brought to the Arcade in a carriage, drawn by Shire horses, Jeff and Bob. Accompanied by Ryde Mayor, Cllr Wayne Whittle, and Ryde Town Crier, Steve King, the Royal party toured the Centre and met Father Christmas. More photographs on the Gallery pages. Return to …

29 July, 2023View
Fire Escape Practice

Isle of Wight Observer April 29 1865 FIRE ESCAPE – On Wednesday evening last several of the fire brigade, under the direction of Mr Buckett, went out for an evening’s practice. They found that with one ladder they could go over the roof of the Congregational Church in George-street, and with the whole length of the escape they were enabled to go beyond the clock of Trinity Church, and that in a very short space of time. Thus there would not be much danger to life from a fire in the highest buildings in Ryde. EXTRAORDINARY PHENOMENA – We have been favoured with the following communication from one of the young gentlemen in Mr Paul’s Naval School: “About 1 o’clock this afternoon a remarkable optical illusion was visible from Ryde. My attention was first directed to it by observing a ship steaming in from the eastward, which suddenly appeared to have all its vertical dimensions enlarged to about three times their former size. On looking towards Portsmouth I found that a similar phenomenon was visible there; the houses, &c., seeming to be lengthened in the same manner. After a short time the aspect of things changed for the more usual case of looming; direct images of the different objects appearing immediately over them in the air. Soon after, as is frequently the case, this mirage of suspension was combined with one of vertical reflection, showing in the air, both direct and inverted, images of the different objects, the former being uppermost. The air had a misty appearance, and the distance of the opposite shore seemed much lessened. These phenomena, which lasted  in all about half an hour, were not visible from the upper part of Ryde. Tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 6 o’clock, there will be a race of 100 yards, on the Esplanade, between “Reindeer” and “The Canada Pet” both men being heavily backed. The lovers of this sport will, no doubt, muster largely on the occasion. BILLIARDS – A great treat was afforded the lovers of this scientific and fascinating game on Monday last at Snow’s Rooms, Union-street, when Mr Wm Dufton, of London, and Mr Evans, of London, played a game of 1000 up, Evans receiving 100 points. The play throughout was of the most exciting kind, Evans particularly distinguished himself, making 17 and 19 winning hazards from the spot, in a break of no less than 116. It appeared to us that Mr Dufton was not in his usual form; in fact, when Snow called the game 1000 to 845, Mr Dufton addressed a few words to the company present, stating that he had intended not to play billiards this year, but upon being asked to play for his old friend Snow’s benefit he could not refuse. We are pleased to add that the room was filled with a select party. Return to  Fire fighting …

11 March, 2023View
Fire in George Street

Isle of Wight Observer September 15 1860 A fire – the origin of which is involved in stupidity – broke out on the premises of Mrs Read, George-street, on Monday night, and was near upon ending disastrously. It would be folly to call this event “an accident”, as it was the result of a careless fellow, lacking a watchful mother by his side, who had taken a book to read in bed, and after some time fell asleep, and, as a matter of course, the candle fell over and set fire to the bed and clothes. Now, if this individual had been merely roasted for his trouble, and the evil ended there, it would have mattered but little; it is endangering a neighbourhood, and the risk of burning innocent persons in their beds that is of consequence. As it was he woke merely frightened, and then committed the wise act of quitting the premises in a half nude state, and going to the Pier, where he met a Coastguard, who gave the alarm by firing off a pistol, nearly causing the hearts of some of the Volunteer Rifles, who heard it, to bound out of their breasts. Assistance being obtained, they proceeded to the fire, where discretion and promptitude soon put the fire out. Considerable damage, however, was done; the bed and bedding, the window blinds, a chest of drawers, and other furniture were burnt, and the scurtain (sic) board was also ignited, so that a most suffocating atmosphere filled the room. Notwithstanding this, thanks to the energy of Mr Bloxam (who resided next door to the house on fire) and to Messrs Barnes, Kendall, Boyce and others, the conflagration was put out before the arrival of the engine, which had been sent for as a wise precautionary measure, and which was quickly in attendance. We hope this fellow in future will have a staid careful woman to attend him to counteract his childish conduct, and prevent him placing the lives and property of others, in jeopardy again. Robert Bloxam was a surgeon, who lived with his family and several servants in Denbigh House – now a dental clinic, near to the junction with Cross Street. At the time of the 1861 census, the house next door was a lodging house, run by a widow, Mrs Mary A Read. Denbigh House – with, presumably, Mrs Read’s house beyond – can be seen on the extreme right of the image below. Return to Firefighting …

11 March, 2023View
FIRE! FIRE!

Isle of Wight Observer September 25, 1852 We trust that we shall be acquitted of a desire to raise unnecessary alarm, or of being spleenetic, in making a few remarks upon such an important topic as Fire. A notion prevails, that at present the town is admirably governed; and the consuct of the promoters of the Public Health Act has been sitgmatised as “highly reprehensible”; both of which erroneous opinions still linger in the public mind. What provision have we against Fire? Two expensive engines are provided, but we are without water. There is a brigade, but we don’t know who they are. Very little, if any, remuneration is made by the town, and there exists no combination among the Insurance offices to provide regular salaries for a brigade. In this juncture, a fire broke out at Mr Turtle’s dyehouse about seven o’clock on Monday evening; plenty of assistance was at hand; messengers were despatched to Mr Woods for the engine, he stated he had nothing to do with them, and advised a search for the Surveyor who had custody of them; the Surveyor could not be found; the fire raged and was ultimately extinguished after great loss, and the engines never arrived upon the spot! Now we do earnestly hope, that the names of the brigade may be, in some way, made known, and every precaution taken to meet an emergency whenever it happens, as it is well known that for engines to be of real service they should be present immediately a fire occurs. We hear Mr Turtle was insured in the London Fire Office. Return to Fire-fighting …

11 March, 2023View
Fire! 20th Century fire fighting

The following was taken from ‘Isle of Wight within living memory’ by the IW WI Federation, 1956. Those who remember the year 1904 will also remember the fire at Appley Towers; how the smoke hung like a black pall, how the local baker made dozens of buns, and the pails of hot tea that were taken out to the tired firemen. All the local children were piled into a dogcart to be driven to see the fire. Ryde fire engine was there and others on the way – being horse-drawn, it took some time for them to come from Sandown and Newport. I was watching an old man who had his ear to the ground as if listening. On getting to his feet he saw me and said, “Missie, bend down and tell me what you hear.” I promptly got down, flat on the muddy road. I could hear a dull thud and asked what it was. “That’s Bertie Mearman, coming out from Sandown.” The name was enough! Who did not know the Mearman brothers? Bertie drove four beautifully matched roans in the coach between Sandown and Ryde and now they were hitched to the fire engine. I saw them coming down Marlborough Road flat out, covered with foam. People scattered as they swung through the tall gates, bell clanging, brass-helmeted firemen hanging on for dear life. Thankfully, the fire damage was not extensive that day. William Hutt was captain of the Ryde Fire Brigade. He walked about immaculate in his blue uniform with silver epaulettes, cigar in mouth, slightly over-dined, which caused some titters from the ill-mannered. I am told  he was responsible for Ryde having such a fine fire brigade. After the fire, Captain Hutt formed his own fire brigade. He paid ten men part-time wages and bought a handpump and hose engine which was kept in the stables opposite the Towers. His men were well turned out with long leather boots hand-made by an old shoemaker in Elmfield, well cut tunics and regulation brass helmets. There was a Mission in Brading Road where Captain Hutt drilled his men. When he died in 1909 he left a wish that they were to keep their uniforms – which they …

25 February, 2023View
Firefighting in 19th century Ryde

Mercury Office Fire Isle of Wight Observer March 13, 1858 Firefighting in 19th century Ryde THE MERCURY OFFICE FIRE – While the men employed on the Mercury were gone to dinner on Thursday, a fire broke out in the office in Cross-street. The cause of the disaster was the old one: the stove ignited the building, and the fire speedily reached the roof, and would soon have completely destroyed the whole building and stock-in-trade had not the fire brigade been in attendance very promptly. By the means of a hose affixed to a fire-plug close by the fire was soon got under, but not until considerable damage was done, especially to the type in the cases, as well as “pieing” the matter set up for the journal. Judging from what we casually observed, we should hardly imagine that it will be possible for the paper to be issued this week. We do not know whether the building or stock is insured, but the damage from fire alone is not very heavy; it is the breaking of the matter, and the confusion thereby, that will be the most felt. Brookfield Fire Isle of Wight Observer July 16 1859 FIRE AT LORD BURGHLEY’S RESIDENCE, BROOKFIELD, RYDEOn, Sunday, about 1.20 pm, a horse was furiously ridden to the police station and engine house, and the messenger announced that there was a fire at Brookfield. In the short space of 20 minutes, such is the efficiency of the fire brigade, and the readiness of the inhabitants to assist, the engine was on the spot in full working, notwithstanding that the water had to be fetched from a pond in the field aout 200 feet distant. On arriving on the spot immediately the fire was made known, we found that the fire was confined to the coach-house and stables, the greater part of the roof and loft floor of which was in flames. The firemen, however, soon commenced operations, and at 3.45 the fire was entirely subdued. Fortunately the horses, carriages, and a great part of the harness were saved, and the damage to the building is not great. The stablemen, whose rooms were over the coach-house, suffered the greatest loss, as all their clothes were destroyed. Amongst the debris  we observed two patent “Fire Annihilators”, which, as usual, either for the want of knowledge of how to use them, or other causes, were of no service whatsoever. One thing should be mentioned, and that is, for the want of a sufficient length of hose (or rather because the hose of one engine will not fit that of the other, and thus cannot be made available) a vast amount of extra heavy-labour was required to get the water from the pond to the engine, instead of the engine being close to the pond. To all who assisted, the greatest credit is due, and perhaps we may, without being invidious, particularly name Capt. and Miss Brigstocke, who worked hard in getting the water and directing operations, and their conduct was in strong contrast to that of a lot of buckram tradesmen who stood by without offering to lend the slightest help whatever. Were either of their premises on fire, would they like to be treated so? Of course, such labour is purely voluntary, but we think they would have shewn better taste, if they were too lazy to lend a helping hand, if they had walked off from the scene of destruction. The police also rendered most efficient aid, the whole, with the exception of one, being on the spot. Fire in George Street Isle of Wight Observer September 15 1860 A fire – the origin of which is involved in stupidity – broke out on the premises of Mrs Read, George-street, on Monday night, and was near upon ending disastrously. It would be folly to call this event “an accident”, as it was the result of a careless fellow, lacking a watchful mother by his side, who had taken a book to read in bed, and after some time fell asleep, and, as a matter of course, the candle fell over and set fire to the bed and clothes. Now, if this individual had been merely roasted for his trouble, and the evil ended there, it would have mattered but little; it is endangering a neighbourhood, and the risk of burning innocent persons in their beds that is of consequence. As it was he woke merely frightened, and then committed the wise act of quitting the premises in a half nude state, and going to the Pier, where he met a Coastguard, who gave the alarm by firing off a pistol, nearly causing the hearts of some of the Volunteer Rifles, who heard it, to bound out of their breasts. Assistance being obtained, they proceeded to the fire, where discretion and promptitude soon put the fire out. Considerable damage, however, was done; the bed and bedding, the window blinds, a chest of drawers, and other furniture were burnt, and the scurtain (sic) board was also ignited, so that a most suffocating atmosphere filled the room. Notwithstanding this, thanks to the energy of Mr Bloxam (who resided next door to the house on fire) and to Messrs Barnes, Kendall, Boyce and others, the conflagration was put out before the arrival of the engine, which had been sent for as a wise precautionary measure, and which was quickly in attendance. We hope this fellow in future will have a staid careful woman to attend him to counteract his childish conduct, and prevent him placing the lives and property of others, in jeopardy again. Robert Bloxam was a surgeon, who lived with his family and several servants in Denbigh House – now a dental clinic, near to the junction with Cross Street. At the time of the 1861 census, the house next door was a lodging house, run by a widow, Mrs Mary A Read. Denbigh House – with, presumably, Mrs Read’s house beyond – can be seen on the extreme right of the image below. The Fire Brigade Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1864 This brigade has been entirely remodelled, according to a resolution of the Board of Commissioners, and went out for a grand field day on Monday last, under their new superintendent, Mr John Langdon. Some new blood has been infused into the company, which we hope will be for the public advantage. The town crier has been appointed conductor of the fire escape. In addition to the escape, a jumping sheet has been procured, to enale persons, in case of emergency, to jump from windows or elsewhere. A little practice will, it seems, probably get the men into a high state of efficiency – a most desirable consummation for a growing town like …

25 February, 2023View
Firefighting!

Isle of Wight Times – Firefighting! THE FIRE ESCAPE August 11 1864 On Friday evening last this admirable invention for the saving of human life from fire was brought out for practice at the Town-hall. The ladders were run out their full length, which reached easily to the top of the hall. Bucket, the conductor, was the first to ascend, getting out on the top, and descending through the inside of the escape with much dexterity; several of the other men did the same. This will give the inhabitants hopes, if any calamity by fire should befall them, that help will be quickly at hand. FIRE – February 19 1868 We have no desire to excite needless alarm, or to imagine that any such things as Fenians are concealed amongst the peaceful cultivators of cabbages and turnips in that quiet locality, Newport Road. Nevertheless, it is the serious complaint of one of the most respected inhabitants of the vicinity, that not less than three times in one week, a pig-sty has been in flames, with scarcely anyone but the owner noticing the fact. May not this, possibly, have something to do with the recent conflagration of the pretty thatch at the top of West Street, and how does it occur? This neighbourhood, at least, is in no very safe state. When an accident has once occurred, it is somewhat late to inquire into the cause. Isle of Wight Observer September 25, 1852 – Fire! Fire! Isle of Wight Observer October 29 1853 – Fire in Brigstocke Terrace Isle of Wight Observer March 13 1858 – Mercury Office Fire, Cross-street Isle of Wight Observer July 16 1859 – Brookfield fire Isle of Wight Observer – September 1860 – Fire in George Street Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1864 – The Fire Brigade Isle of Wight Observer April 29 1865 – Fire Escape practice Times February 1868 – St Thomas’ Church and Mr James’ shed on fire Isle of Wight Observer January 22 1870 – Fire in Union Road Isle of Wight Observer July 3, 1875 – Firefighting practice with the hose and reel Isle of Wight Observer April 27 1889 – Pier Hotel fire Return to 1850s Odds and Ends Return to 1860s Odds and Ends Appley Towers fire – …

5 May, 2013View
Fireman Sam comes to the Centre!

Historic Ryde Society was delighted to welcome Fireman Sam, and local Fire Officer – and Historic Ryde Society Family Member and author of And The Nightingales Sang, Arcade Series Book 3! –  Damon Corr, to the Heritage Centre on Saturday July 27. Fireman Sam was in Ryde to promote the Ryde for Life 2013 project, which involved Isle of Wight firemen turning themselves into hamsters and running in a wheel non-stop for 48 hours. A very emotional Damon welcomed the end of the challenge at 3pm on the following afternoon. The 20 firemen ran 459700 metres and raised £4269.77 for the Wessex Cancer Trust. Brilliant! HRS was pleased to have been able to help in a very small way, by providing seven collection buckets. Return to …

26 August, 2023View
Fireman Sam comes to the Centre!

Historic Ryde Society was delighted to welcome Fireman Sam, and local Fire Officer – and Historic Ryde Society Family Member and author of And The Nightingales Sang, Arcade Series Book 3! –  Damon Corr, to the Heritage Centre on Saturday July 27. Fireman Sam was in Ryde to promote the Ryde for Life 2013 project, which involved Isle of Wight firemen turning themselves into hamsters and running in a wheel non-stop for 48 hours. A very emotional Damon welcomed the end of the challenge at 3pm on the following afternoon. The 20 firemen ran 459700 metres and raised £4269.77 for the Wessex Cancer Trust. Brilliant! HRS was pleased to have been able to help in a very small way, by providing seven collection buckets. Return to …

4 November, 2023View
Firing a Gun in a Railway Carriage!

Gun goes off in a train! Isle of Wight Observer January 22, 1870 At the County Petty Sessions on Tuesday last, two persons whose names were given as John Smith, alias James Winter, and Henry Smith, alias Alfred Winter, of Portsmouth, were summoned on the above charge. Mr Cousins, of Portsea, appeared for the defence, and said his clients were exceedingly sorry for their very foolish conduct, and were willing to pay all expenses; and this apology, after the Bench had pointed out the possible consequences of such an act, was accepted, and the costs paid. It was a sorry conclusion, however, to so grave a charge as discharging firearms in a railway carriage. We only express our opinion that these worthies – whether their names be really Smith or Winter – will for the future remain on the mainland. The Isle of Wight is not the right spot for them. THE TRAMWAY – The rails have now been fixed on the tramway, so that this necessary work is progressing with great rapidity. The old Coastguard house, opposite the flag staff, has been demolished, to make room for the new line of tramway, so that the appearance of that portion of the Esplanade has been considerably altered by the change. THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH – It is announced that the government will take possession of the Electric Telegraph offices on the 29th instant. The arrangements at the Post-office, Ryde, are, we understand, nearly completed. Our obituary this week records the demise of Miss Jane Kemp, the last surviving daughter of the late Mr Thomas Kemp, who as all Ryde people know, was toll keeper, at the pier gates for a long period of years. His urbanity was acknowledged by all, and his honest integrity won from the Pier Company a silver cup and a purse of £100. She died at Fulham on Tuesday week, and her remains arrived in Ryde on Monday, and were consigned to the last resting place of the family, at Newchurch, on Wednesday. Return to 1870s Railway …

19 November, 2022View
First sewing machine, 1861 and typewriter in Ryde 1876

Isle of Wight Times April 20, 1876 WRITING BY MACHINERY – After sewing machines, the Americans have now brought out a writing machine, and one of these was on view at the establishment of Mr Gelling, ironmonger, of this town, a few days ago. With such a machine, a man may get over two or three letters in the time now occupied in penning one. The work performed, however, partakes more of the nature of printing than writing. On touching different keys in a row a lever is made to raise a letter against an inked ribbon and then on to the paper, where it leaves its impression. As soon as a line is finished the machine moves the paper so as to commence another. Although the machine is not perfection, and its work is far inferior to that of an ordinary printer’s machine, it is calculated to suit the purposes of many, if its figure (25gs) suits their pockets. Isle of Wight Observer July 13 1861 It will be seen by an advertisement in another column that a gentleman is now exhibiting a sewing machine at Mr Wavell’s. This highly useful modern invention will sew, hem, stitch, gather, &c., and with such rapidity as will astonish the most expert needle workers. We advise our readers to pay this “Lock Stitch Sewing Machine” a visit, for not to know what one is like, now the thing has become so popular, is as bad as not knowing whether the sun sets in the west or the east. This is an example of a very early sewing machine. Return to 1860s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Florence Clarke

Poetry by Florence Bernard Clarke was married to Colonel Archibald Clarke, a wealthy cotton merchant and retired army officer, from Manchester. Archibald lost his first wife at a young age, leaving him with two children, George and Mildred. Later, he met and married Florence and in 1881 they moved to Thornbrough, Ryde, where their daughter Nora was born in 1882. Florence and Archibald had two daughters, Nora and Vanda. A son, Cecil, died in infancy. The Clarke/Kennedy family archive has recently been loaned to Historic Ryde Society by member Tony Packer, and includes diaries, scrapbooks, photographs, wills and letters.  Many of these items are now on display in Ryde District Heritage Centre, including the volume of poems by Florence Clarke. A Dream Yestere’en as I was wandering,Down by the brooklet clear,I saw near the foot of an old oakA something for some one dear ;T’was only a small blue flowerThat grows on the brooklet’s rim,A curl of gold by it’s side there lay.A curl that was meant for him.Methought I would wait and listenIf perchance the someone came.For I knew a girl with golden hair,And what if it were the same.I saw emerge from the shadowA man with an athlete’s form,He lifted the curl so gentlyAnd kissed it with passion warm,Then close to his breast he placed them,The flower and golden hair.Why did I stand and shudder,What matter had I for care ?  The Dream John I know a little maid  I often think Florence’s mourning poem  Return to main Poetry …

8 October, 2022View
Florence’s mourning poem

Soft and gentle little darlingAre you going then so soon?It is hard that thou should’st leave usSeeing it is only noon. Surely as the reaper passethHe might leave this little flower;Seek a rose more fully blownFrom some other less prized bower. Thou has’t had so little sunshine,Life has seemed a cloud so dark,As if on a sea all stormyFate had launched thy little bark. ‘Tis so hard to part my darling,And yet perhaps ‘tis better so,There you will be ever happyNone can say so here below. Or is it that we longFor what God thinks is wrong?So on earth he stays our songHeaven’s to make brighter. Return to Florence’s …

11 March, 2023View
Florence′s Poem The Dream

A Dream Yestere’en as I was wandering,Down by the brooklet clear,I saw near the foot of an old oakA something for some one dear ;T’was only a small blue flowerThat grows on the brooklet’s rim,A curl of gold by it’s side there lay.A curl that was meant for him.Methought I would wait and listenIf perchance the someone came.For I knew a girl with golden hair,And what if it were the same.I saw emerge from the shadowA man with an athlete’s form,He lifted the curl so gentlyAnd kissed it with passion warm,Then close to his breast he placed them,The flower and golden hair.Why did I stand and shudder,What matter had I for care ? Then gently behind him stealing,Like a cloud of white and blue,Came a girl who had placed the flowerAnd I knew where the gold hair grew.He turned and with lover’s raptureCaught her in his fond embrace,Showered the mad warm kissesOn her eyes and hair and face.I saw her gently tryingTo free from his passion’s grasp;,Look in his eyes all lovingHer hands in his hands clasp;Then with her fair head drooping,As a flower all bent in painHarry, my darling I heard her say,I know I have been to blame.I could not tell you my sorrowOr tell you that you must go,For Harry I love you fondlyBut indeed it must be so.We never may meet again loveNo never as long as we live,For father has made me promiseMyself to another to give. I watched his clear brow darkenAs clouds o’erspread the sky,So you have been only playing,He said with a darkening eye;I hope the time has been pleasant,T’was not worth your while to try,But now it seems all the time, Mary,You have only acted a lie.Oh ! Mary you cannot mean it,Say ! Look in my eyes if you canAnd tell me why you have alteredAnd tell me the name of the man.He lifted her small white faceTo gaze in her deep blue eyes.No look of love or longing was thereT’was the face of one who dies. Madly I rushed from the thicket,Yes ! Yes! It was all too trueThe tears were still there on her lashes,As violets steeped in dew. Oh! Mary my child ! my darling !Come back again I pray,Oh ! listen a minute onlyTo what I have to say.T’was that you should be happy my childOf you I thought night and dayHe loved you and asked me for you,And I knew t’was the only wayTo give my darling riches,-Riches and honour for life.I could not bear that you should knowThe slightest sorrow or strife,You told me your tale all blushing.Of your love so true and great,But methought would soon forget himSay ! Say ! it is not too late. Gently we raised the bodyHer father and lover both.The wind in her long hair playing,As if to lose her loth –Then on the couch we laid herStill decked in her white and blue,And sorrow was hard at both our heartsAs we looked our last adieu.Then with the strength of my sorrow,From the dreadful dream I awoke,There was my own little Mary,Who smiling asked if I spoke. Return to Florence’s …

23 September, 2023View
Florence′s Poem The Dream

A Dream Yestere’en as I was wandering,Down by the brooklet clear,I saw near the foot of an old oakA something for some one dear ;T’was only a small blue flowerThat grows on the brooklet’s rim,A curl of gold by it’s side there lay.A curl that was meant for him.Methought I would wait and listenIf perchance the someone came.For I knew a girl with golden hair,And what if it were the same.I saw emerge from the shadowA man with an athlete’s form,He lifted the curl so gentlyAnd kissed it with passion warm,Then close to his breast he placed them,The flower and golden hair.Why did I stand and shudder,What matter had I for care ? Then gently behind him stealing,Like a cloud of white and blue,Came a girl who had placed the flowerAnd I knew where the gold hair grew.He turned and with lover’s raptureCaught her in his fond embrace,Showered the mad warm kissesOn her eyes and hair and face.I saw her gently tryingTo free from his passion’s grasp;,Look in his eyes all lovingHer hands in his hands clasp;Then with her fair head drooping,As a flower all bent in painHarry, my darling I heard her say,I know I have been to blame.I could not tell you my sorrowOr tell you that you must go,For Harry I love you fondlyBut indeed it must be so.We never may meet again loveNo never as long as we live,For father has made me promiseMyself to another to give. I watched his clear brow darkenAs clouds o’erspread the sky,So you have been only playing,He said with a darkening eye;I hope the time has been pleasant,T’was not worth your while to try,But now it seems all the time, Mary,You have only acted a lie.Oh ! Mary you cannot mean it,Say ! Look in my eyes if you canAnd tell me why you have alteredAnd tell me the name of the man.He lifted her small white faceTo gaze in her deep blue eyes.No look of love or longing was thereT’was the face of one who dies. Madly I rushed from the thicket,Yes ! Yes! It was all too trueThe tears were still there on her lashes,As violets steeped in dew. Oh! Mary my child ! my darling !Come back again I pray,Oh ! listen a minute onlyTo what I have to say.T’was that you should be happy my childOf you I thought night and dayHe loved you and asked me for you,And I knew t’was the only wayTo give my darling riches,-Riches and honour for life.I could not bear that you should knowThe slightest sorrow or strife,You told me your tale all blushing.Of your love so true and great,But methought would soon forget himSay ! Say ! it is not too late. Gently we raised the bodyHer father and lover both.The wind in her long hair playing,As if to lose her loth –Then on the couch we laid herStill decked in her white and blue,And sorrow was hard at both our heartsAs we looked our last adieu.Then with the strength of my sorrow,From the dreadful dream I awoke,There was my own little Mary,Who smiling asked if I spoke. Return to Florence’s …

11 March, 2023View
From wood to iron girders

June 1884 pier improvements Isle of Wight Observer June 14 1884 IMPROVEMENTS ON RYDE PIER – Since the month of April last some rather important alterations have been made to the pier, the shore end (consisting of brick arches on wooden piles which were built about 1813) having been removed and replaced with iron piles, girders and runners. A wooden deck replaces part of the old cement near the shore end. Altogether about 100 yards ahve been thus dealt with, and the work is rapidly approaching completion. Mr F Braddley, of Kidderminster, is the contractor. The cost of the work is considerable, but, of course, the outlay was a very necessary one, and other repairs are, we understand, in contemplation. It is stated that during the progress of the work several interesting discoveries were made. The contractor had a difficult matter to get his piles through the mud, and his progress was further impeded by the trunks of several large trees which were found imbedded in the mud about 10 feet below the surface. Whether they were deposited there or not is a matter of conjecture, but some believe they grew in their present position a “thousand years or so ago”. There are several trunks of trees near the Victoria Yacht Club, and as these appear to have grown in their present positions, it would seem as if the sea had invaded the land quite within recent times. Return to 1880s pier …

22 April, 2023View
Frozen Sea

Frozen Sea letter January 1879 A FROZEN SEA To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Times &c Sir – Although not claiming to be the oldest inhabitant in Ryde, I have seen a good many sharp winters, but do not recollect one to equal the present, so far as the Island is concerned. Taking a consitiutional on the Esplanade about noon on Sunday, I was surprised to find floating ice extending, I should say fully one hundred yards from the wall out to sea. Thinking it possible that it might be only drift ice from some fresh water stream, I tasted of it, and found it unmistakably salt, and on closer examination found it had evidently been formed out of the sea. I have talked upon the subject with several other older than myself and I cannot hear of such an occurrence within the memory of any even of the patriarchs of Ryde, I thought the fact might be interesting to your readers. Yours truly, OUT IN THE COLD [We can corroborate our correspondant’s statement, having been on the Esplanade about the time he names. “Out in the Cold” is scarcely a suitable name for any one promenading on the Esplanade on Sunday as the sun was shining brightly, and the air was quite genial on the sea front; but turn up George-street, or Union-street, on the shady side, that was quite another thing.] ED I W T Return to the 1870s letters …

26 May, 2013View
Frozen Sea letter January 1879

A FROZEN SEATo the Editor of the Isle of Wight Times &c Sir – Although not claiming to be the oldest inhabitant in Ryde, I have seen a good many sharp winters, but do not recollect one to equal the present, so far as the Island is concerned.Taking a consitiutional on the Esplanade about noon on Sunday, I was surprised to find floating ice extending, I should say fully one hundred yards from the wall out to sea.Thinking it possible that it might be only drift ice from some fresh water stream, I tasted of it, and found it unmistakably salt, and on closer examination found it had evidently been formed out of the sea.I have talked upon the subject with several other older than myself and I cannot hear of such an occurrence within the memory of any even of the patriarchs of Ryde, I thought the fact might be interesting to your readers.Yours truly,OUT IN THE COLD [We can corroborate our correspondant’s statement, having been on the Esplanade about the time he names. “Out in the Cold” is scarcely a suitable name for any one promenading on the Esplanade on Sunday as the sun was shining brightly, and the air was quite genial on the sea front; but turn up George-street, or Union-street, on the shady side, that was quite another thing.] ED I W T Return to the 1870s letters …

25 March, 2023View
Funny names

Isle of Wight Observer – June 23 1894 How amusing it is to go through the announcements in some of the fashionable papers, and note the eccentric combinations of names. Evidently some people accentuate any singularity of this kind because it tickles the fancy and it is not easily forgotten. At a recent fashionable wedding the bride’s name was Pine Coffin. In the same paper we picked out Mrs Bigge Gosling, and Mrs Rocke Limpette! NB – We think the Editor is playing games, as these names do not appear in Census Records, or on the FreeBMD website……. Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Furious Riding round the Canoe Lake

Isle of Wight Observer September 4 1884 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir – Is there any question that the road at the eastern part of the Esplanade and round the Canoe Lake is a public road? I presume not. Yet every afternoon bicyclists may be seen tearing along this public highway at a frantic speed of some twenty miles an hour, as though it were a racecourse. In strange and scant attire (notably one in bathing drawers and sleeveless undershirt, with arms and legs bare) – attire which might well be termed indecent for a place of general resort – these bicyclists go at tiptop speed for hours together round and round that part of the Esplanade and Canoe Lake, utterly regardless, in their headlong course, of all who take their pleasure on these roads, and to the great danger of the very young children, invalids and others, who resort here of an afternoon for healthy air and exercise. Elsewhere the police obtain convictions against cyclists for furious riding when going at no greater speed than ten miles an hour, and magistrates, on conviction, inflict in each case the full penalty, forty shillings. It is high time the police of this borough did their duty by bringing before the magistrates all such offenders against the statute law, and so put a stop to this practice of training on one of our most favourite roads, so fraught as it is with danger to life and limb.Yours truly,ANOTHER RATEPAYER Return to 1880s Letters …

25 March, 2023View
Further fashionable society in 1864 Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer August 27 1864 A splendid and elegant ball was given on the 16th instant, at Park House, by General and Madame Zelaziewitch. 180 of the nobility and gentry attended in the lofty rooms of their residence, which, although decorated with beautiful paintings, bronzes and statuary, were on this occasion dazzling with lights and flowers. Seats were reserved for the chaperons in the ball room, and a sitting supper was laid out in the dining room and served hot, a la Russe. Target’s splendid band enlivened the dancing, which was kept up with great spirit on a beautiful parqueterie floor until 5 o’clock. The attentions of the host and the hostess to everybody were as endless as their hospitality. Mr and Mrs Warren Hastings Anderson, entertained a fashionable circle at dinner, at Beldornie Tower, on Saturday evening last. On Tuesday, Sir Augustus and Miss Clifford entertained at dinner, Lord Aukland, Hon. Miss Heathcote, Mr and Lady Anne Sherson, Major Vane, Sir Marcus and Lady Slade, Miss Slade, and Lord Seaton. Miss Player, of Ryde House, gave a grand entertainment to a large circle of friends on Thursday evening. The musical arrangments were under the direction of Mr Salter. INFIRMARY BALL – The annual grand ball in aid of the funds of this excellent institution took place on Friday night last, and was most brilliantly attended, and a list of the distinguished company was published in our second edition on Saturday last. The fine stringed band of the 26th Cameronians attended and played a programme of fashionable dance music in capital style, and Mrs Brading catered as liberally as was consistent with the charitable object in view. The demands of the town keep pace with the recent extensive additions made to the Town Hall, so much so that the Fish-market was metamorphosed into an elegant refreshment room. The Hall is now a fine room, and it was simply yet tastefully decorated on this occasion. Great praise is due to the stewards for the admirable manner they discharged their duties. We are requested by the Committee of the Royal Isle of Wight Infirmary to return their very cordial thanks to the lady patronesses, stewards, and public generally for the kind and ready support afforded to the charity in a variety of ways on the occasion of the ball, by means of which they are grateful to say the sum of £106 has been added to the funds of the institution. The second private subscription soiree of the season took place at the Town-hall on Wednesday evening, and was attended by about 100 ladies and gentlemen. Dancing was kept up with great spirit to the music of the Hungarian Brothers, till between 2 and 3 o’clock, when the company separated, only regretting to think the charming room was to be spoilt the next day by a County Court being held there. Return to Fashionable Society …

5 November, 2022View
G. Basset

Isle of Wight Observer August 18, 1860 More 1860s tales from the newspapers DISFIGURING A SEAT ON THE ESPLANADEOn Thursday afternoon some mischievous wretch, infatuated with a love for his name, and thinking perhaps that if imbecility kept it from the world one way it should give it in another, deeply cut in legible characters “G Basset”, on the seat near the Marine Baths. However much such a cognomen as “G Basset” might grace a certain celebrated “Calendar”, we can assure the owner of it that neither one nor the other would be considered an ornament to the seats around by the community of Ryde. What particular pleasure the miserable asine biped derived from the performance cannot possibly be known to any but himself, but perhaps that admirable corrective, solitary confinement, would have a more salutary effect upon this monomania for name etching than idling away hours by the seaside, so we recommend the friends of G Basset to act upon the hint, or perhaps the officers of the law might aid in a manner less creditable if more notorious! Return to 1860s odds and ends …

8 April, 2023View
Galleries

Photograph Galleries These Galleries contain engravings and photographs from early days to modern times. Some of the images are very rare and Historic Ryde Society has been given permission by the owners to display them on the website. We may allow others to use some of these images, but please do us the courtesy of requesting permission first.  Please read our copyright notice All images are covered by copyright …

4 November, 2023View
Gas Lamps again!

The Gas Light problem Isle of Wight Observer January 19, 1861 Last week a member of the Board call attention to the fact of several gas lamps being night after night not lighted, and we find it is one beyond dispute. In Union-street last Sunday night the lamp in front of some projecting fencing, where the new bank is in course of building, was not burning, although there was not a place in the whole street where a lamp was more required. In the neighbourhood of the Castle there were two lamps not burning; at the north end of Monkton-street two; in Melville-street one; and perhaps many other streets were in the same half-lighted condition. It is not our intention of laying the blame of the deliquent lamps at the feet of the Gas Company, we know better than that; the weather, of course, is the direct and only cause, but that nor the man in the moon has nothing to do with the quality of the gas. The gas is “unbearably inferior” a correspondent informs us in a long list of long standing grievances against the gas company forwarded to us for publication, but having such respect for the shareholders, who may quake for their dividends, we forbear giving publicity to any more than the foregoing short quotation. But in all seriousness the town ought to be better supplied with gas; from our first appearance as a newspaper in 1852, we have been tormented with a perfect avalanche of complaints from shopkeepers and their sympathisers, with this we have nothing to do, and such letters may find type elsewhere; but verily the town pays annually enough to have the public highways well lighted; if enough be not paid let the company declare it, and the Commissioners can carry out a clause in the Improvement Act of 1854. But according to the quantity and quality of the gas consumed, the price paid by the town ought to be sufficient to ensure good gas, as any one may judge, when it is known that the company receives £2 10s per quarter for 100 lamps, and £4 for 26; [sic]but it is right to state that they intend making a reduction for those recently unlighted. Isle of Wight Observer November 22, 1862STREET LAMPS – When Ryde was under the reign of fogyism and self-election, a contract was made with the gas company for the supply of lights of a certain size and brilliancy, and the said old fogies used to go round and see that the conditions were complied with, before the stipulated price was paid. Now, Ryde is under the system of elections and “energetic” men are elected, and the result is, the gas company gets their price, but there is neither the stipulated brilliancy nor size in the lights. The dark and gloomy state of the streets is absolutely disgraceful; and to pay the price our “energetic” men do is a barefaced robbery of the rates. Return to 1860s Odds and Ends …

25 February, 2023View
Gaslight on Ryde Pier

On February 24, 1872, this report appeared in the Isle of Wight Advertiser and Ventnor Times. Lighting The Pier with Gas. The ornamental lamps for lighting the Pier have arrived, and the work of fixing them will at once be proceeded with, so that within a month from this date this fashionable promenade will be lighted with gas from one end to the other. Return to main Ryde Pier …

22 April, 2023View
General Routine summoned for Indecency

Isle of Wight Observer August 15, 1857 Mr Frederick Peel and a friend of his were summoned before the magistrates at Ryde on Thursday upon a ridiculous charge of indecency whilst bathing.The charge was instituted under the by-laws lately made by the Ryde Commissioners to pander to a morbid cry about “indecency of bathing”. It was not pretended that these gentlemen exposed themselves indecently, but simply that they plunged into the water “without being dressed in a suitable bathing dress”. We are sick of commenting about such maudlin stuff as this; for what in the name of Common Sense is “a suitable bathing dress”? We, in our simplicity, for the life of us cannot see any more suitable bathing dress than the skin which we inherited from old Adam; if there be any, we should like to see the curious thing. The summonses, were, however, withdrawn; but in the case of another gentleman it was proceeded with, and a fine of £1 and 7s and 6d inflicted; defendant did not appear. Against these proceedings we emphatically protest, as they are calculated to do the town great damage; and we speak with some considerable knowledge of the subject. When a gent commits himself, by all means make him suffer, but to attempt to enforce such absurd regulations as to make bathers swathe themselves like Egyptian mummies is sheer madness. Cannot the advocates of it bear in mind the adage of the garter, ‘Honi soit, &c.’ ? Return to 1850s Odds and Ends page General Routine summoned for Indecency Isle of Wight Observer August 15, 1857 Mr Frederick Peel and a friend of his were summoned before the magistrates at Ryde on Thursday upon a ridiculous charge of indecency whilst bathing.The charge was instituted under the by-laws lately made by the Ryde Commissioners to pander to a morbid cry about “indecency of bathing”. It was not pretended that these gentlemen exposed themselves indecently, but simply that they plunged into the water “without being dressed in a suitable bathing dress”. We are sick of commenting about such maudlin stuff as this; for what in the name of Common Sense is “a suitable bathing dress”? We, in our simplicity, for the life of us cannot see any more suitable bathing dress than the skin which we inherited from old Adam; if there be any, we should like to see the curious thing. The summonses, were, however, withdrawn; but in the case of another gentleman it was proceeded with, and a fine of £1 and 7s and 6d inflicted; defendant did not appear. Against these proceedings we emphatically protest, as they are calculated to do the town great damage; and we speak with some considerable knowledge of the subject. When a gent commits himself, by all means make him suffer, but to attempt to enforce such absurd regulations as to make bathers swathe themselves like Egyptian mummies is sheer madness. Cannot the advocates of it bear in mind the adage of the garter, ‘Honi soit, &c.’ ? Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
General Sir Sam Browne and Quartermaster William Thomas Rickard – VICTORIA CROSS recipients

There are two recipients of the Victoria Cross buried in Ryde Cemetery – General Sir Sam Browne and Quartermaster William Thomas Rickard. Historic Ryde Society is honoured to have been loaned some items relating to Quartermaster W T Rickard VC, by his great grandson, Mr David Wheeler, of Ryde. William Thomas Rickard was born at Devonport on the 10th February 1828, and at an early age joined the Royal Navy. He took part in several engagements in the Crimean campaign, including the battles of the Alma and Inkerman. He became Quartermaster on the H.M.S. Weser under the command of Captain John Edmund Commerell, under orders to take part in the bombardment of Sebastopol. While cruising on the eastern side of the spit of Arabat, Captain Commerell learnt from some fishermen that large quantities of corn and forage about 400 tons, intended for the use of the garrison at Sebastopol – were stored on the Crimean shore of the Livash. Realising the importance of destroying these stores of the enemy, Captain Commerell gallantly undertook to attempt the service and asked for volunteers. Quartermaster William T. Rickard was the first to volunteer and then followed George Milestone A.B. and two other seamen. Leaving his vessel in charge of the second master, Captain Commerell, the mate Mr. Lillingstone, quartermaster Rickard, and two seamen, entered a small shallow boat and rowed towards the Spit. On arriving there they leapt ashore, dragged the boat across the Spit which was about 200 to 300 yards wide at this point and launched it on the waters of the Putrid Sea. This was done in intense darkness and the Spit was swarming with Cossacks. Having crossed the Putrid Sea, Mr. Lillingstone and a seaman Hoskins, were left in the boat, while Captain Commerell, Rickard and Milestone accomplished the remainder of their enterprise on foot, having to walk two miles and a half using a hand compass to check their direction, and then waited for daybreak. As visibility improved with the dawn, they were able to see their objective, which was a fodder store containing about 400 tons of corn about a mile away with a large red building beside it, close to the Cossack guard station and signal post. Close by was a village in which a large number of Cossacks were encamped. Heedless of all dangers, the heroic party waded through two canals, neck deep in water, and found the grain and forage stacked on the banks of the Salghair, near the towing-paths evidently awaiting transmission by water and they contrived to ignite the stacks. The straw being very dry, in a moment the whole was in a blaze. The red building would not ignite and the Cossacks came streaming out of their guard post while Commerell was still trying to light it. The glow of the burning ricks revealed Captain Commerell and his companions running with all possible speed in the direction of their little craft. With a wild cry of vengeance the Cossacks, who spared no one, leapt into their saddles and started off in hot pursuit, a number of infantry joining them and keeping up a heavy fire of musketry. The distance between the pursued and the pursuers grew less and less. When within signalling distance of the boat, Captain Commerell called out to the men in it to fire on the pursuers, which they did with effect. The next moment the gallant three felt the ground yielding beneath their feet. They had reached the muddy belt which skirts the shore of the Putrid Sea. It was their salvation. The Cossacks dared not urge their horses through the treacherous loam, but though the pursuit was not kept up, the Russians continued to fire which was briskly replied to by Mr. Lillingstone and his companion from the boat; ball after ball splashed about them, and with the enemy barely forty yards behind, the struggle across the thick slimy mud proved too much for Milestone who slipped and fell utterly exhausted and begged to be left behind but the other two removed his boots, swam with him across the second canal and here let us quote from Captain Commerell’s report : “I must bring to your notice the excellent conduct of my quartermaster, William T. Rickard, who much fatigued himself, remained to assist the other poor, unfortunate seaman, who, from exhaustion, had fallen in the mud and was unable to extricate himself, and this was done notwithstanding that the enemy were keeping up a heavy fire at the distance of 30 or 40 yards”. Rickard carried his comrade and the three reached their boat in safety. Assisted by Lillington and Hoskins, who gave covering fire from the boat, the three managed to escape and embarked in time. The Cossacks were only 60 yards away when the boat pushed out from the shore and Commerell actually killed the nearest horseman with his pistol. After rowing across the Putrid Sea they re-crossed the Arabat Spit, where they encountered more of the enemy who fired upon them, but they managed to regain their vessel, having successfully completed a deed of the highest daring. Later the look-outs watching from Weser’s masthead reported that the fodder store had burned to the ground. For his noble share in the heroic exploit William Thomas Rickard was awarded the Victoria Cross, a medal for distinguished conduct, and a special pension. He also received the Legion of Honour. The Victoria Cross was likewise conferred upon Captain Commerell, who afterwards became Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Edmund Commerell, G.C.B. Sir John predeceased his old quartermaster of the ‘Weser’, and to the last he manifested his interest in the gallant comrade who shared with him the glory of compassing one of the most hazardous deeds recorded in Naval Annals. William’s later career William Rickard served on in ‘Weser’ after Commerell left and was probably invested with his Victoria Cross on board by Commerell’s successor, Commodore Johnstone, sometime in 1857. Rickard must have celebrated his medal too enthusiastically because he forfeited on 26th December the Good Conduct badge he had been awarded that July, and ended 1857 as an Able Seaman again. However he regained his rate in July 1858 and was a Quartermaster when he was paid off to the ‘Impregnable’ in Devonport in June 1859. His last ship was the screw liner ‘Donegal’ as Captain of the Forecastle; he then joined the Coastguard Service as boatman, Chief Boatman and latterly as Chief Officer of Coast Guards, retiring sometime in the 1870s. In June 1860, William had married Rebecca Whitingham, of Kingsbridge, and they had four sons and two daughters. In retirement Rickard was boatman to the Ryde Rowing Club in the Isle of Wight and he and his family lived at Arethusa Cottage, Smallbrook, Ryde. He had his V.C. pension of £10 a year, paid at £2 10s a quarter, and from 1888 he also had £25 a year from the Greenwich Hospital Pension for Coast Guard Chief Officers. He died on 21st February 1905 in the Royal Infirmary, Ryde. George Milestone, the sailor whom Rickard rescued, was a much younger man, born in December 1834. He also came from Stoke Damerel, Devonport, and served with Rickard in ‘Arethusa’, ‘Weser’ and ‘Impregnable’. It is quite likely that Rickard took a fatherly interest in the young man from his own home village. Milestone was married, and he signed for 10 years continuous service in July 1855. He did not win the Victoria Cross and nothing more is known of him. Commerell and Milestone shared in the same adventure. One of them became an Admiral, and walked with kings, queens, and emperors. The other returned into oblivion. Sale of a Victoria Cross Medal. The Victoria Cross medal awarded to John Commerell in 1855 was sold by auction at Southebys in Billingshurst, West Sussex in September 1994. It had been expected to fetch around £25,000. With the medal was a Jewelled sword given to Commerell by the German Kaiser after he had acted as host during a naval review at Portsmouth in 1889. The Victoria Cross medal was sold for Stg £41,000. The medal like all V.C. is cast from bronze melted down from Russian cannons captured at Sevastopol during the Crimean War. Lesley Thomas, head of exhibits at the Royal Navy Museum, Portsmouth, said “The value of Victoria Crosses has dropped in recent years. At one time they were ridiculously expensive and no one could afford them” Photographs of Quartermaster Rickard, and some of the items loaned to the Heritage Centre, can be found on the Ryde District Heritage Centre gallery page. A photograph of his grave and links to obituary etc, can be found on the RSHG website here. Thanks to Sally-Ann Garrett for her …

17 June, 2023View
Golden Oldies

The Oldest Local Paper Isle of Wight Observer December 27, 1890 Golden Oldies Our edition of today is numbered 2000. Week after week, for 2000 weeks, the Observer has been issued to the public of Ryde. Quite another generation has sprung up since its start, and on the list of its subscribers the number of those whose subscriptions date back to its first year can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It is as melancholy to look through an old list of subscribers as it is to read the older files of our paper, with the forgotten contests and local excitement by actors, the majority of whom have passed away. There is something very pathetic about an old newspaper, and that we suppose is the reason why they are so seldom kept. When the Observer commenced its existence it had the field to itself, so far as the Isle of Wight was concerned. Once in every few years some one came forward with the threats of utter annihilation for the “old ‘un”. Somehow we have managed to survive these prophesies, but many of those who have made them, after “strutting and fretting their little hour upon the stage” have been “seen no more”. Many on the other hand have succeeded, and today the newspapers published in the Island are too numerous to mention. We have no wish to emulate the blatant self-puffery of some of our contemporaries, but we think we can truthfully say that, in spite of many rivals for public favour, the old Observer still keeps its position and circulation. We are ageing considerably, but not “breaking up”. A Fact… Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 A correspondent writes as follows: The inhabitants of St John’s and Oakfield were thrown into a state of consternation in the early hours of Tuesday, the 21st inst., by the report that a man was hanging by the neck from the halyards of the flag pole belonging to Mr Waite of the Falls of Niagara. the police were communicated with but, on their arrival, decided that an inquest was not necessary as, on examination, the suspicious object proved to be a bust of the Grand Old Man. How it got there has not been ascertained, but two well-known members of the Radical Party were observed leaving the place of execution about midnight on Monday. What has the GOM done to incur the displeasure of the Liberal Party to be thus served? Mr Waite very carefully took the bust into his house, but parted with the same in the afternoon to a gentleman in High Park and advised him to place it in his garden, with a warranty that no Isle of Wight slug would live within 100 yards of it. William Gladstone was known affectionately as the ‘Grand Old Man’ or, according to Disraeli, ‘God’s Only …

25 February, 2023View
Grand Old Man

A Fact… Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 A correspondent writes as follows: The inhabitants of St John’s and Oakfield were thrown into a state of consternation in the early hours of Tuesday, the 21st inst., by the report that a man was hanging by the neck from the halyards of the flag pole belonging to Mr Waite of the Falls of Niagara. the police were communicated with but, on their arrival, decided that an inquest was not necessary as, on examination, the suspicious object proved to be a bust of the Grand Old Man. How it got there has not been ascertained, but two well-known members of the Radical Party were observed leaving the place of execution about midnight on Monday. What has the GOM done to incur the displeasure of the Liberal Party to be thus served? Mr Waite very carefully took the bust into his house, but parted with the same in the afternoon to a gentleman in High Park and advised him to place it in his garden, with a warranty that no Isle of Wight slug would live within 100 yards of it. William Gladstone was known affectionately as the ‘Grand Old Man’ or, according to Disraeli, ‘God’s Only Mistake’.   Return to 1890s Odds and Ends …

27 May, 2013View
Groove on Down to the Ryde Town Club

It’s PARTY TIME down at the Ryde Town Club on 25th October with party DJ Berno Inferno and his sound and light show. Groove along and enjoy the fun! All the classics tunes you know and love – Fancy dress if you fancy it! 8pm until midnight.Just £4.00 entry. This is a charity event in aid of the Ryde District Heritage Centre.Entry on the door or by tickets available from SPLASH, Union Street, Ryde. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
Grow a tenner campaign!

The Ice Well Fund needs you! If you would like to help raise funds to open the ice well to the general public, please consider joining the localgiving website’s ‘Grow a Tenner’ campaign, which kicks off at 10am tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15. The nation has a pot of £500,000 which will help numerous charities and community groups around the country. If you’d like to help us, please go to www.localgiving.com/charity/hrs sign up, and pledge a one off donation of £10, or consider donating £10 a month for the next six months, which will be match-funded to aid Historic Ryde Society. The match-funding will run out when the coffers run dry! Donations can also be made through the localgiving website at any time throughout the year. This match-funding opportunity is one means of maximising the interest in the community for what Historic Ryde Society is doing. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
Grow Your Tenner will launch on Tuesday the 14th of October at 10am

Throughout the campaign, Localgiving.com will be matching one-time donations pound-for-pound up to £10, and monthly donations up to £10 per month for 6 months. All charities with active memberships are eligible to receive match funding up to a total of £12,000, and the campaign will run across the whole of the UK. With Gift Aid, a one-time donation of £10 made through Localgiving.com during Grow Your Tenner will generate £21.55 , so make sure you spread the word and get ready to start growing those tenners! Here is a list of the key facts you need to know about the campaign. Start date: 14th October 2014 at 10am End date: 31st January 2015 at 10am, or when the pot runs out – whichever is first Amount matched: Up to £10 for one-time donations and up to £10 per month for Direct Debit donations for 6 months (£60 max) Match funding limit per group for Direct Debit donations: £10,000 Match funding limit per group for one-time donations: £2,000 Match fund pot: Over £500,000 and still growing! Please visit www.localgiving.com/charity/hrs to donate to Historic Ryde Society, during this campaign. Return to …

16 December, 2023View
Gun goes off in a train!

Firing a Gun in a Railway Carriage! Gun goes off in a train! Isle of Wight Observer January 22, 1870 At the County Petty Sessions on Tuesday last, two persons whose names were given as John Smith, alias James Winter, and Henry Smith, alias Alfred Winter, of Portsmouth, were summoned on the above charge. Mr Cousins, of Portsea, appeared for the defence, and said his clients were exceedingly sorry for their very foolish conduct, and were willing to pay all expenses; and this apology, after the Bench had pointed out the possible consequences of such an act, was accepted, and the costs paid. It was a sorry conclusion, however, to so grave a charge as discharging firearms in a railway carriage. We only express our opinion that these worthies – whether their names be really Smith or Winter – will for the future remain on the mainland. The Isle of Wight is not the right spot for them. THE TRAMWAY – The rails have now been fixed on the tramway, so that this necessary work is progressing with great rapidity. The old Coastguard house, opposite the flag staff, has been demolished, to make room for the new line of tramway, so that the appearance of that portion of the Esplanade has been considerably altered by the change. THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH – It is announced that the government will take possession of the Electric Telegraph offices on the 29th instant. The arrangements at the Post-office, Ryde, are, we understand, nearly completed. Our obituary this week records the demise of Miss Jane Kemp, the last surviving daughter of the late Mr Thomas Kemp, who as all Ryde people know, was toll keeper, at the pier gates for a long period of years. His urbanity was acknowledged by all, and his honest integrity won from the Pier Company a silver cup and a purse of £100. She died at Fulham on Tuesday week, and her remains arrived in Ryde on Monday, and were consigned to the last resting place of the family, at Newchurch, on Wednesday. Return to 1870s Railway …

3 May, 2013View
GUY FAWKES

Isle of Wight Observer November 10, 1860 The fifth of November appeared to be but a day of ordinary interest in Ryde this year; that is among that class who usually benefit themselves and amuse the public by bearing about effigies of the most notorious of all those who ever had dealings with gunpowder for any purpose, from raising the floor of a Parliament House to slaughtering a villainous sparrow. No bonfires were seen around Ryde; the bare knowledge of the power entrusted to the PCs for the abolishment of such fiery demonstrations acting as a decided preventive against them. But no such liability is attached to having a blaze on the sea, so our Southampton friends, to keep in remembrance the timely defeat of a barbously contrived plot, got up an illumination on Southampton water, by igniting an old vessel, charged with all sorts of inflammables, which burned fiercely for about three hours, there being a strong NE wind, and then being consumed to the water’s edge sunk beneath the only element which can subdue this terrible element of destruction, or useful agent, as it is controlled or beyond the sway of human power. On the hills beyond Ryde several fires were also made, the most conspicuous of which was upon Brading Down. The only effigy in our town this year was one borne by boys who, to all appearance, were not very liberally remunerated in the artistic attempts to perpetuate a grievance, which should now be forgotten, so utterly indifferent is the Ryde public to such ingenious enterprise in …

25 March, 2023View
Hampshire Carabiniers Yeomanry

Isle of Wight Observer  January 1892 ORDERS FOR E (ISLE OF WIGHT) TROOPRyde, Jan 2nd, 1892. Isle of Wight Observer January 23, 1892HAMPSHIRE CARABINIERS YEOMANRYOrders for E (Isle of Wight) Troop.Ryde, Jan 23rd, 1892 Return to 1890s Military …

19 November, 2022View
Hampshire Telegraph

April 4 1836 The Royal Victoria Arcade is fast approaching to its completion, and will be ready for occupation in a very short time. Some tenants are about to take immediate possession, to fit up their shops and houses before the painting is completed, that they may be in a state of readiness for the approaching season. There was obviously a delay over the opening ceremony, as the following appeared in the Hampshire Telegraph of June 20, 1836 :‘The Royal Victoria Arcade at Ryde, will be opened on Wednesday, the 29th inst., with Masonic Ceremonies.’ In fact, it was opened two days later, on Friday, July 1, 1836. On May 2, 1836, Sheridan’s Hotel was advertised for sale. Gloster Sheridan had been heavily involved with the foundation stone ceremony the previous year, but had overstretched his finances, and left the Island shortly afterwards. He became Governor of Salford Workhouse, and died shortly after the 1841 census, leaving four children in Newport with grandparents, and a six year old son, and pregnant widow, Eliza, in Salford. Sheridan’s was taken over by Mr Weeks, who at the time had Yelf’s Hotel. Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

22 October, 2022View
Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle

October 1st 1810 BEGINNINGS OF RYDE PIERNotice is hereby given that Application is intended to be made to Parliament in the ensuing Session, for leave to bring in a Bill, in order to obtain an Act of Parliament for extending and completing the Pier lately made at Ryde, in the Parish of Newchurch, in the Isle of Wight, in the County of Southampton: and that it is intended, in completing such Pier, to extend the same from its present termination as far as low water mark, so as to permit the landing of passengers on the same at all times of tide.Minchin and WeddellSolicitors, Gosport. Notice is hereby given, that an Application will be made to Parliament, in the coming Sessions, for leave to bring in a Bill to erect a Market-House and Market-Place, in the town of Ryde, in the parish of Newchurch, in the Isle of Wight, in the County of Southampton, and that the same is intended  to form part of the Bill of which notice has been given, for obtaining an Act, to complete and extend the Pier, lately made at Ryde, aforesaid.Minchin and WeddellSolicitors, Gosport.  September 20, 1810 VALUABLE PROPERTY – ISLE OF WIGHTTo be SOLD by AUCTION, at the Bugle Inn, Newport, on Thursday, the fourth of October, 1810, at four o’clock in the afternoon, (unless previously disposed of by Private Contract)Lot 1 – all those valuable Premises, situated at Lower Ryde, and comprising that capital and long established INN called the BUGLE, occupying one of the first situations for trade in the Island, together with the coach-houses, stables, convenient wharf for landing passengers, and a piece of land adjoining.These very eligible premises are now in full trade, being the constant resort of passengers by the Mail Coach, and other conveyances from Newport, and by the packet vessels and boats from Portsmouth. The views of the Motherbank, Stoke’s Bay, Spithead and Portsmouth, are extensive and uninterrupted: and this truly important situation for trade is rendered still more valuable by the large East and West India Fleets, which are often detained by contrary winds for many weeks together,  at a small distance from the shore. The above property is held upon lease of 99 years, determinable on three young lives, and subject to a small yearly quit rent. The Bugle was situated at the dry end of Ryde Pier and later replaced by The Royal Pier Hotel. Return to Ryde Pier page …

22 October, 2022View
Handing over….letter to all readers!

Dear  all – after over six years of single-handedly adding historic content to the website I am now handing over to someone else. Many thanks for your interest in the history of Ryde and long may this support for the Society and concern for our home town survive. Diana Wood Founder of Historic Ryde Society and co-founder of Ryde District Heritage Centre …

18 December, 2015View
Handing over….letter to all readers!

Dearall – after over six years of single-handedly adding historic content to the website I am now handing over to someone else. Many thanks for your interest in the history of Ryde and long may this support for the Society and concern for our home town survive. Diana WoodFounder of Historic Ryde Society and co-founder of Ryde District Heritage …

4 November, 2023View
Hands on Display at the Museum of Ryde

Those of you who have been into the Royal Victoria Arcade in Union Street recently will have noticed that a change has taken place in the rotunda area.  A water fountain is now in place with coloured lights.  While admiring the fountain you may have found yourself wondering what has happened to what was in that place previously.  Well the ‘hands’ work of art is now the latest acquisition by the museum.   Come and visit the museum and see how tall ‘The Island Games Hands’ designed by Paul Sivell actually are … but don’t touch the bowl, as it’s not yet screwed …

20 May, 2023View
Happenings on the beach in 1860s Ryde

Times August 1864 BATHING ON THE BEACH Happenings on the beach in 1860s Ryde The Commissioners never conferred a greater boon on the poorer classes than when they provided a bathing stage for their accommodation. That the accommodation has been appreciated by those for whom it was intended has been clearly demonstrated by the multitudes who have availed themselves of the conveniences it affords. Not the least of the advantages was removing from the eyes of passers by those sights and scenes so offensive to every feeling of delicacy, to males as well as females, which too frequently disgraced the shores at hours when the population naturally resorted to those spots for the pleasure of walking. The object of the Commissioners it seems, has not been entirely realised, therefore, a bye-law has lately been put in force; very much to the credit of the board, namely to compel the wearing of drawers by all those who use the free platform. Costumes are worn in France, on the Rhine, in the Tyrol, and all the bathing places of the continent, and why should England, boasting so much the morality of its people, refuse to comply with a regulation inflicting no unpleasant restriction on the bather, while it is showing that deference to decency, the want of which, is one of the surest indications that individuals or society can give that they are sinking into moral degradation, which if unchecked, will ultimately lead to barbarism. We would, however, insist, if the law gives the board the power, and we presume it does, that the same regulations should be applied to bathers who pay for their machines as to those who avail themselves of the use of the free bathing stage. We commend the course adopted by the Commissioners, and feel quite certain that their proceedings will secure for them the warm approbation of every one desirous of promoting the moral as well as the physical good of the community. The Daily Telegraph had a leader on Monday on this very important and delicate subject, and visits with just reproof the governing bodies in towns and boroughs that allow a disgraceful proximity between the male and female bathers, and also strongly advocates the adoption of a costume such as that universally worn in France. The article contains the following forcible and unanswerable truth:- “Not another nation in Europe proper behaves in this respect as we do; and if  something decent is not soon done with regard to sea bathing, we may be a great people, a free people, a fine people, a rich people – andy sort of people you like to call us – but we must give up pretending to be a decent, moral, or modest people.” A NOVEL LAUNCH Isle of Wight Observer October 22 1864 On Tuesday morning one of Mr Oakley’s large vans, weighing about three-and-a-half tons, filled with furniture belonging to Mr Ellison, was about to be embarked on board one of the United Company’s tow-boats, from the slipway near the end of the pier which has a gradient of 1 in 12. Now any one with the least mechanical knowledge will see that a counteracting force greater than the united strength of four men would be necessary to accomplish that job successfully. But, like all of the traffic arrangements on the pier during the present year, no precaution beyond skidding one of the wheels was taken; consequently the van overpowered the conductors, and was launched into the deep. The damage must be considerable, and is variously estimated from £10 to £500; and considering that amongst the damaged articles were a valuable library of antiquarian books, a sixty-guinea clock supported by dolphins which got into their native element at last, &c., the latter seems nearer the amount than the former. Which of those grossly mismanaged companies will be the victim? We should advise that this slipway should be locked up, like the crane, until a proper superintendent be chosen. Henry Ellison was an author and poet, who was born in Flintshire, in 1811, and died in Kensington in 1880. At the time of the 1861 census, he was living on Appley Rise, Ryde. Some of his work can be read here. Swamped Isle of Wight Observer November 7 1868 We regret to inform our readers that on Tuesday last Mr William Newman, painter, in the employ of Mr Newman, of Anglesea-street, sustained a very severe loss owing to the roughness of the weather. He had been to Hythe, opposite Southampton, to fetch his furniture, which he was removing in a boat belonging to Richard Barkham,a fisherman, of Binstead. On the return of the boat, in attempting to run for the slipway, a squall seized it, which filled with water and sank immediately. The crew, two in number, were picked up by the pilotboat Fawn, then lying at the pier head, and a part of the furniture was saved by the Revenue cutter Desmond, and one of Mr Southcott’s wherries; the greater portion of it is, however, gone. It is not an easy thing for a man to replace his furniture. We are informed that Newman is a very steady, industrious man, consequently a petition has been got up to aid him in obtaining furniture to replace that which has been lost. We trust this may be successful, and at the same time announce that we shall be happy to receive any contributions at the office of this paper. WANTON MISCHIEF – For a long time past some mischievous persons have been prowling about at night, destroying and defacing their neighbours’ property in various parts of the town. On Monday night last considerable damage was done at St John’s Park. We are happy to see that a reward of £20 has been offered for the conviction of the offender or offenders, to whom, at any rate, we trust it will be a warning. Mr W E Ratcliffe, as steward to the Player estate, has also offered £5 reward for damage done to fencing at Binstead on Sunday night. It is really disgraceful that such acts should be committed and the perpetrators go …

25 February, 2023View
Haylands Primary School opportunity

As part of their Victorian studies, pupils from Haylands Primary School took the opportunity to visit Ryde District Heritage Centre early in November, having found the Centre so useful for their studies last year. HRS schools liaison officer, Judith, wrote the following report:  ‘On Tuesday 5th November five volunteers from Historic Ryde Society were pleased to welcome the two Year 5 classes from Haylands Primary School to the Ryde District Heritage Centre. The children were studying evidence of the development of Ryde. Each class was in four groups which enabled them to have time to study the photographic slides, answer questions in the Pier Room and discuss the artifacts and photographs in the Commercial Room. It was a pleasure to welcome these pupils who were interested, well-behaved and polite. They asked searching questions about the medicines and were very amused to see some of their accompanying adults as pupils in school photographs. The children were also fascinated by life before Tesco in the Hovercraft room.We hope to welcome other schools when they do studies of Ryde.’ The ‘Hovercraft room’ is known as ‘The Flightpath’, as it shows images and video footage of both Ryde airport and the early days of the hovercraft service in Ryde. Many thanks to the staff and pupils of Haylands Primary School for making the visit such a pleasant experience for all! Return to …

29 July, 2023View
HENRY KNIGHT – PHOTOGRAPHER

Isle of Wight Observer – August 29, 1874 ROYAL PATRONAGE – On Saturday last, Mr Henry Knight, of the Royal Victoria Arcade, photographer, attended The Battery, Sandown, by command, and succeeded in producing some splendid likenesses of their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany. Mr Knight has also been honoured with the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen. LOST AND FOUND – We were sorry to hear that Mr J W Fisher, superintendent of the Ryde Pier, while in the act of showing a lady friend the handsome breast pin presented to him by the Crown Prince of Germany, accidently let it slip into the sea through one of the appertures on the pier. On Friday morning, however, the treasure was recovered by a professional diver, who, after making several unsuccesful dips, fortunately secured the lost gift and restored it to its owner. The  image shows the arrival of the Crown Prince and Princess on Ryde pier, in 1874. Return to Royal Victoria Arcade page Return to 1870s pier …

12 August, 2023View
Henry Knight Letters January 1882

Arcade, Ryde, January 18th 1882To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Times Dear Sir, -The Town Clerk acting on the instructions of someone, but who, he declines to say, has refused to allow me to see any papers, books, documents or letters, relating to the Town affairs, except the minute book. The motive is obvious; they wish to cast every obstacle in the way of any independent member of the Council desirous of doing his duty towards the ratepayers in an open, honest, and impartial manner.I am, Sir, yours truly,HENRY KNIGHT Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

8 April, 2023View
Henry′s tin opener

Isle of Wight Observer November 11 1881 MR HENRY KNIGHT’S NEW INVENTION – We have just seen an extremely handy little instrument for opening tins, which has been invented and patented by Mr Henry Knight, and which is now on sale at all respectable ironmongers, price 1s. The knife works into a sort of groove, which fits the edge of the tin, and cuts round it very cleanly indeed. It is undoubtedly the best thing of the sort out, and all the grocers speak well of it. This tin opener is on display in the Isle of Wight museum, Guildhall, Newport. It was Henry’s most successful patent, and he sold it to Crosse and Blackwell. A HORRIBLE DREAM  – A gentleman suggests to me that the Council should have had Knight Mayor, and left him to govern the town by himself. This must have been something more than a dream – night-mare, in fact! Return to Royal Victoria Arcade …

22 April, 2023View
Her Majesty and the lace pockets

Isle of Wight Observer February 20 1869 ROYAL PATRONAGE – We are happy to hear that Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen has been pleased to give several orders to Mr Thomas Fairy, of Union-street, and to express her approbation of several articles sent to Osborne for inspection by Her Majesty’s commands, two Isle of Wight lace pockets being especially mentioned. BLONDIN – We remind our readers that the renowned Blondin, who crossed the Falls of Niagara, will appear at the Victoria-rooms during the ensuing week, full particulars of which have been announced. We notice that special coaches will run from Ryde to Newport at 10.30, and special trains to Ventnor and the intermediate stations at the same hour on the evening of Wednesday and Friday, in order to afford the inhabitants of all those localities the opportunity of attending. A HINT TO THE BENEVOLENT- We regret to hear that during the gale of Friday last, two boats belonging to Robert Heward, an industrious fisherman well-known in Ryde, were seriously damaged, so that a considerable sum will be required for repairs. Heward has a family of eight children to support, and this loss will fall heavily upon him, unless the benevolent render assistance. He has been the means of saving five persons from drowning. We feel assured, therefore, now that his misfortune is made known, many will come to his assistance. THE SUN NOT THE SOURCE OF HEAT AND LIGHT TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM – We remind our readers that a lecture on this subject, which has often occupied our columns, will be given by Mr Harrington, at the Isle of Wight Philosophical Society, at 8 o’clock, on Monday evening next, in which fresh evidence derived from observations made during the total eclipse of the sun on the 18th of August last will be brought forward in its support. SUGGESTED LIFEBOAT FOR RYDE – Withall the serviceable appliances that Ryde has she has not the best thing of the sort for preserving lives from shipwreck. This want is, however, about to be supplied; inasmuch as a numerously signed requisition has been presented to the Mayor, and his worship has complied with its prayer by convening a meeting at the Town-hall on Monday next, at 2pm. The testimony of the late gale shows that a lifeboat would be an acquisition for the town. Return to 1860s Royals in Ryde …

3 December, 2022View
HERITAGE OPEN DAYS – DAY ONE…

Ninety two people visited the Heritage Centre on the first day of Heritage Open Days! We welcomed Barbara and Ann from the Isle of Wight lace making group, who proved very popular. Barbara even had a round of applause from some young admirers last thing in the day. More images on the gallery pages. The Heritage Centre closed to the public on Friday, September 13, for a meeting of conservation officers from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. After lunch, the group was given a guided tour, including the history of the arcade and the creation of the heritage centre. This included a foretaste of plans for the future extension of the Centre to include the ice well and further areas of the basement, and the recreation of the late Georgian confectionery which would have existed in the building. The group was then taken on a tour of other buildings in the town which benefited from the Ryde Townscape Heritage Initiative, by IW Council Principal Conservation Officer, Lee Byrne. This is the third time the Heritage Centre has been used for private meetings, and it has proved to work well. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
Heritage Open Days – day one….

Ninety two people visited the Heritage Centre on the first day of Heritage Open Days! We welcomed Barbara and Ann from the Isle of Wight lace making group, who proved very popular. Barbara even had a round of applause from some young admirers last thing in the day. More images on the gallery pages. The Heritage Centre closed to the public on Friday, September 13, for a meeting of conservation officers from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. After lunch, the group was given a guided tour, including the history of the arcade and the creation of the heritage centre. This included a foretaste of plans for the future extension of the Centre to include the ice well and further areas of the basement, and the recreation of the late Georgian confectionery which would have existed in the building. The group was then taken on a tour of other buildings in the town which benefited from the Ryde Townscape Heritage Initiative, by IW Council Principal Conservation Officer, Lee Byrne. This is the third time the Heritage Centre has been used for private meetings, and it has proved to work well. Return to …

4 November, 2023View
HERITAGE OPEN DAYS – DAY THREE…

Brian had brought all his tools with him, hoping to find time to drill a couple of holes in the fire door……NO CHANCE! The general public came down the stairs from 10:20, although the Centre wasn’t officially open until 11am! By eleven, there had been 17 visitors already. A steady stream continued throughout the day, including members, small groups of curious children, someone who had played bass guitar in a band at the Diamond Club, visitors from the Island, the mainland and Canada. Brian finally drilled the holes at about a quarter past four in the afternoon. Over 100 people visited the Centre during the day, and funds were given a considerable boost. Four people expressed an interest in volunteering, including a fifteen year old local boy, which is exactly the age group with which Historic Ryde Society needs to be engaging! All in all, everyone seemed very impressed with the exhibitions, some even saying they were going to return on Sunday, the last of the Heritage Open Days of 2013. Barbara had a very busy day, with many people expressing great interest in her lace work, and she increased her fan base considerably over the course of the day. The photograph shows Oliver concentrating hard on which bobbins to move next. He did remarkably well! Return to …

15 July, 2023View
High price of bread

Isle of Wight Times January 19, 1882 DEAR BREAD – Dear Sir – It has been opportunely shown that in August last the average price of wheat was 47s 1d, in September 55s 2d, in October 46s 9d, and at the opening of the present year 44s 3d per quarter. If anything, the rates have decreased a trifle during the past week. Now when the rise took place four months ago the bakers increased the price of a four pound loaf by one penny, and in the majority of cases the rate remains the same, notwithstanding the fact that wheat is now cheaper than it was before the additional penny was exacted from the consumer. There has been no augmentation in the cost of labour, and journeymen bakers are still amongst the worst paid skilled labourers in the country. It is a question between the wholesale market price of wheat and retail price of the manufactured loaf. No adventitious circumstances have arisen to justify the maintenance of an addition of twelve and a half per cent upon the price of the four pound loaf. For little more than one month there may have been a fair pretext for the increase, but why the September rate should now be maintained, perhaps only the bakers can say. I think, Sir, this is a question which affects most of the community, and, unless there is a more justifiable reason for the “dear loaf” than I can conceive, cheaper rates should be called for.I am, Sir, yours truly,A BREAD WINNER STREET ANNOYANCESir, I beg to suggest for the protection of the residents in Ryde that the President of the College, and the Principles of all the Schools here should be requested (or enforced if necessary) to inflict heavy fines on all boys, or “hobbledehoys”, under their care – found to be in possession of Catapults – one of the “infernal machines” at the present time so distructively in use in the Isle of Wight, but most particularly in Ryde. I make this request feelingly as I have two large plate glass window panes smashed and a frame of ornamental glass in my portio also destroyed. I think if we can obtain security by these means we shall soon be able to fix any misdeeds, on the “roughs” of Ryde and have them punished forthwith.I remain, Sir,Your obedient servant, A L Return to 1880s Letters …

25 March, 2023View
Hill’s Stores’ Treasures

Hill’s Stores, High Street Hill’s Stores’ Treasures All images reproduced by kind permission of Isle of Wight Heritage Services. Several items survive relating to Hill’s Stores, in the High Street, Ryde, at the junction with Newport Street. These blocks were used for printing purposes. This mini mattress – approximately 30cm in length, was made to show the quality of the workmanship. This foot warmer, although made in London, has the Hill’s stamp on the neck. These scissors have been especially made for cutting carpets. They are made of bronze and extremely heavy! The tag states they date from 1865 and were used for cutting carpets as recently as 1972! Return to Ryde Treasures …

5 November, 2022View
Historic Ryde Society

7 May, 2022View
Historic Ryde Society Annual General Meeting 2014

The fourth HRS AGM took place in Yelf’s Hotel on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Despite filthy weather, and the consequent postponement of the guest speaker’s talk, thirty-seven people attended the meeting. The board was delighted to welcome some new members to the meeting, although HRS President, Mrs Gloria Minghella, was unable to attend due to recent ill health.Bob Wealthy, of Solent Aeromarine, had been due to talk on the history of Ryde Airport and the Spithead Express. Owing to the stormy conditions on The Solent earlier in the day, a decision was made in the morning to postpone Bob’s talk until a later date. This will be publicised in due course.Chair Liz Jones presided over the meeting and ran through a list of most of the events of another busy and successful year. Two notable and regretable ommissions were Cllr Roger Whitby-Smith’s very generous donation of £150 following his heritage walks around Ryde during the Walking Festival in May, and Historic Ryde Society’s success in winning the Heritage Category of the Community Action Awards, both of which happened on the same evening in May.Don’t forget there is another FREE House History workshop being held in the Heritage Centre on Wednesday, February 26. Please call 01983 717435 during opening hours to book a place, as numbers are limited.Return to …

26 August, 2023View
Historic Ryde Society Annual General Meeting 2014

The fourth HRS AGM took place in Yelf’s Hotel on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Despite filthy weather, and the consequent postponement of the guest speaker’s talk, thirty-seven people attended the meeting. The board was delighted to welcome some new members to the meeting, although HRS President, Mrs Gloria Minghella, was unable to attend due to recent ill health.Bob Wealthy, of Solent Aeromarine, had been due to talk on the history of Ryde Airport and the Spithead Express. Owing to the stormy conditions on The Solent earlier in the day, a decision was made in the morning to postpone Bob’s talk until a later date. This will be publicised in due course.Chair Liz Jones presided over the meeting and ran through a list of most of the events of another busy and successful year. Two notable and regretable ommissions were Cllr Roger Whitby-Smith’s very generous donation of £150 following his heritage walks around Ryde during the Walking Festival in May, and Historic Ryde Society’s success in winning the Heritage Category of the Community Action Awards, both of which happened on the same evening in May.Don’t forget there is another FREE House History workshop being held in the Heritage Centre on Wednesday, February 26. Please call 01983 717435 during opening hours to book a place, as numbers are limited.Return to …

4 November, 2023View
Historic Ryde Society Archive

21 May, 2022View
Historic Ryde Society photoboards – a bit of free … history!

Two years ago, when Historic Ryde Society hosted a Royal Victorian Ryde weekend over the anniversary of the opening of the Royal Victoria Arcade, in July 1836, Ryde was presented with three photoboards. These boards – a bit of free fun on the seafront – were inspired by the saucy seaside postcards of Donald McGill, now forming a museum in The Orrery, 15 Union Street, an iconic building dating from the 1860s. Many thanks to James for allowing HRS to use these images.  Artist and HRS founder member Lynne Gregory Phillips designed the boards, which were then assembled by HRS Vice Chair Brian Harris. A fourth board has been commissioned for another seafront café, and is now, July 2013, in the process of being created. Over the last two years, these boards have brought in nearly £600 for funds! Very popular with visitors and locals alike, and providing some free advertising for both Ryde District Heritage Centre and the Donald McGill Postcard Museum, the boards are now worth their weight in gold! Return to …

17 June, 2023View
Historic Ryde Walk

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 …

8 October, 2022View
History of Ryde

Ryde has a varied and interesting history. Here Historic Ryde Society shows the wonderful things that Ryde had to offer those who visited this Regency and Victorian gem off the South coast of England. This early engraving of the Esplanade, which we have used for the banner at the top of the page, comes from a book of fifty engravings of the Isle of Wight dating from the 1860s. The Esplanade Hotel was opened in 1868 by the Kemp family, who also ran the baths which can be seen in the picture, occupying the spot where The Marine is today. The Esplanade was laid out between 1855/56, but things didn’t always go according to plan…………. Observer June 7 1856THE ESPLANADE – This great improvement is nearly completed. The footway next to the sea is nearly formed, the pavement is being laid down, the carriageway nearly gravelled, and the stone coping upon the old is rapidly proceeded with. The old sluiceway is also being converted into a landing place for boats. There seems to be some very backhanded work about it, however, which is surprising to us. For instance, as soon as the footway was formed it was torn to pieces getting the coping upon the wall; as soon as the carriageway was gravelled it was torn up for drains, and by the time it is quite completed it will have again to be torn up to lay down gas pipes! By whose arrangements these absurdities occur we know not, but it is ridiculous to see them. We understand the celebration of its opening will take place on the 28th inst. by a fete to the poor. Ryde grew very rapidly, as you will see from this map, published by Bacon, in 1906. The map very clearly shows the three piers of the day – Ryde pier, the Victoria Pier and Appley pier. Some may argue that Ryde pier is also three-in-one, so at this time, Ryde had five piers! To learn more about different aspects of the history of Ryde, go to the History Drop-down menu at the top of the page. For more up-to-date information about Ryde, please go to the I Love Ryde …

30 September, 2022View
History of the Museum of Ryde

7 May, 2022View
Holy Trinity Church

Hampshire Telegraph, Saturday, November 1st, 1845 The new Church was consecrated on Tuesday last, under circumstances of extreme interest. The sacred edifice was dedicated to the Holy Trinity. An eloquent sermon was preached by the Lord Bishop of the Diocese; and the collection at the Offertory amounted to 111l, including a donation of 30l from our revered Diocesan. This result was the more gratifying as the large sum of 85l was contributed at St Thomas\’s Church only two months ago for the same object. After service the Bishop and Clergy, to the number of more than fifty, partook of refreshment at the Pier Hotel, provided by the Committee; and in the evening, the Rev W S and Mrs Spencer Phillips entertained the Bishop, and a party of ladies and gentlemen, at dinner, at their residence, Courtfield. A Gentleman in Ryde has very liberally purchased a ton of the best Rice, to be sold to the poor at a cheap rate during the winter on account of the failure of the potato crop! Ryde was never known to be more full of company at this season than at the present. Return to Ryde …

17 June, 2023View
Home Page 2013

Home Page Archive 8th Sept 2013 Ryde District Heritage Centre is open between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.The centre will be open FREE OF CHARGE on our  ‘Heritage Open Days’ which will take place over three days of Thursday, September 12, Saturday, 14, and Sunday, September 15. HRS is delighted that the lace-making ladies will be joining us once again. (Donations always welcome, of course!). On Friday, September 13, the Centre will be closed for a private function. 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. Historic Ryde Society is delighted to be able to display to the public for the first time, a snapshot of visitors to Ryde from 1876. 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 until the end of September. Due to the frailty and fading of the photographs, it must then be returned for safekeeping. Ryde District Heritage Centre This is the Commercial room in the extension of the Centre, opened by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester last July. The vinyl on the wall is a photograph of Sweetman’s Brewery, in John Street. Many bottles and flagons, as well as shop receipts and advertisements form the major display in this room. More artefacts are being brought in on a regular basis. The Ice Well Fund now stands at nearly £6000, thanks to a generous donation of £2000 from The Daisie Rich Trust, and other donations, coming in on a regular basis. 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 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 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….. Volunteers always welcome! 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! 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 – now 4! – 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 £1000, with another few weeks still remaining! This year, for the first time, two of the boards will be going to Bestival. Look out for them there. …

17 June, 2023View
Home Page Archive 8th Sept 2013

Home Page Archive 8th Sept 2013 Ryde District Heritage Centre is open between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.The centre will be open FREE OF CHARGE on our  ‘Heritage Open Days’ which will take place over three days of Thursday, September 12, Saturday, 14, and Sunday, September 15. HRS is delighted that the lace-making ladies will be joining us once again. (Donations always welcome, of course!). On Friday, September 13, the Centre will be closed for a private function. 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. Historic Ryde Society is delighted to be able to display to the public for the first time, a snapshot of visitors to Ryde from 1876. 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 until the end of September. Due to the frailty and fading of the photographs, it must then be returned for safekeeping. Ryde District Heritage Centre This is the Commercial room in the extension of the Centre, opened by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester last July. The vinyl on the wall is a photograph of Sweetman’s Brewery, in John Street. Many bottles and flagons, as well as shop receipts and advertisements form the major display in this room. More artefacts are being brought in on a regular basis. The Ice Well Fund now stands at nearly £6000, thanks to a generous donation of £2000 from The Daisie Rich Trust, and other donations, coming in on a regular basis. 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 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 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….. Volunteers always welcome! 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! 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 – now 4! – 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 £1000, with another few weeks still remaining! This year, for the first time, two of the boards will be going to Bestival. Look out for them there. …

21 October, 2023View
Home Page Archive 8th Sept 2013

Home Page Archive 8th Sept 2013 Ryde District Heritage Centre is open between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.The centre will be open FREE OF CHARGE on our  ‘Heritage Open Days’ which will take place over three days of Thursday, September 12, Saturday, 14, and Sunday, September 15. HRS is delighted that the lace-making ladies will be joining us once again. (Donations always welcome, of course!). On Friday, September 13, the Centre will be closed for a private function. 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. Historic Ryde Society is delighted to be able to display to the public for the first time, a snapshot of visitors to Ryde from 1876. 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 until the end of September. Due to the frailty and fading of the photographs, it must then be returned for safekeeping. Ryde District Heritage Centre This is the Commercial room in the extension of the Centre, opened by HRH Prince Richard, The Duke of Gloucester last July. The vinyl on the wall is a photograph of Sweetman’s Brewery, in John Street. Many bottles and flagons, as well as shop receipts and advertisements form the major display in this room. More artefacts are being brought in on a regular basis. The Ice Well Fund now stands at nearly £6000, thanks to a generous donation of £2000 from The Daisie Rich Trust, and other donations, coming in on a regular basis. 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 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 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….. Volunteers always welcome! 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! 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 – now 4! – 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 £1000, with another few weeks still remaining! This year, for the first time, two of the boards will be going to Bestival. Look out for them there. …

8 September, 2013View
Horse Boxes

Horse Boxes for the Isle of Wight Railway Isle of Wight Observer March 7, 1868 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, You will confer a great benefit on the travelling public if you will use your influence to induce the directors of the Isle of Wight Railway to put some horse-boxes on their line. In these days of rapid locomotion, it seems extraordinary that such an indispensable requisite should have been so long forgotten. Your obedient servant, FOXHUNTER Return to 1860s Letters …

26 May, 2013View
Horse Boxes for the Isle of Wight Railway

Isle of Wight Observer March 7, 1868 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, You will confer a great benefit on the travelling public if you will use your influence to induce the directors of the Isle of Wight Railway to put some horse-boxes on their line. In these days of rapid locomotion, it seems extraordinary that such an indispensable requisite should have been so long forgotten.Your obedient servant,FOXHUNTER Return to 1860s Letters …

11 March, 2023View
Horse trough on the Esplanade

Times 22 May 1873 Horse trough on the esplanade THOUGHT FOR BEASTS – A trough for the supply of water to horses, &c., is being erected by the town at the drinking fountain, under the tap for the use of human beings, on the Esplanade. The cab horses, standing for hours in the sun, will appreciate, if they cannot express their thankfulness, for this convenience, and other beasts will derive the same advantage. This image shows Ryde Esplanade with the horse trough at centre. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
Hotel Robbery – Sharp Work

Isle of Wight Observer September 21 1861 On Friday night, the 13th inst., a gentleman was robbed at the Royal Eagle Hotel under the following circumstances:- On Friday afternoon a cadaverous looking youth named Welsh entered the hotel and had a chop and potatoes; after which, he enquired if they had any beds. On being informed in the affirmitive (sic), he said that as the weather was so wet for travelling he would have one; and from that time up to half-past nine loitered about the front-door and in an inn near, stating that he wished to obtain a situation as hotel waiter; also that he had been in the service of the Marquis of Waterford. At half-past nine the plundering rascal asked for a candle and went up stairs, apparently to go to bed. However, about half-past eleven he again appeared downstairs, and was very anxious to get to Portsmouth, as the “weather had cleared up”. Finding that no boat could be got, he resolved to depart by the first steamer in the morning, the one that leaves at 6.25. On the same night, Mr Langdon, the gentleman who was robbed, retired at half-past 10 locking his door on the inside, and, according to his own statement, was soon asleep. The next morning at five minutes past 6 Welsh was let out of the front-door by one of the servants, and simultaneously with this event the bell of the bedroom where the gentleman was sleeping rang. The “boots” immediately went to answer it, and was informed by Mr Langdon that someone had robbed him of his watch and money. Mr Newman, proprietor of the hotel, was immediately made acquainted of the fact, and despatched several of his servants down the pier in search of Welsh, that being the only person who had left the hotel that morning. He was apprehended just as the steamer was about to start, and the watch and part of the money found upon him; and on being taken to the station another sovereign was found concealed in the lining of his coat, which with the amount paid by him at the hotel, corresponded with the sum stolen, £2 10s. The robbery must have been effected in this manner: the thief, instead of going into his own room on going upstairs, must have entered that of the gentleman, who, as before stated, retired an hour later and locked his door on the inside. This assertion is confirmed by the fact that the woolly flock and dust which accumulates underneath bedsteads was dragged out upon the carpet, as if someone had crawled from underneath the bed. If the plunder was obtained thus, it accounted for the vagabond being so eager to get to Portsmouth the same night, although he could not then have taken the watch for the gentleman looked at it to see the time at half-past 5 on Saturday morning. At five minutes past 6 he went to look again and found it gone; and the thief, by Mr Newman’s and the servants’ promptitude, was apprehended 10 minutes after. He was taken to Newport the same day to be tried before the County Magistrates, and, on pleading guilty, was most righteously sentenced to six months imprisonment at Winchester. The Warrior arrived at Spithead this morning (Friday) at 8.30, under steam. She has rather a clipper appearance, instead of being the ugly customer she is. We cannot see whereabout the half-a-million sterling is squandered upon her. Return to Ryde Hotels …

5 November, 2022View
Hotel stories from the papers

Stories about hotels in Ryde from the local papers A selection of Hotel stories from Ryde newspapers of the past. 1836 – The Black Horse, George Street 1836 – Hampshire Telegraph – Weeks’s Hotel and Boarding House, late Sheridan’s 1856 – Sivier’s Hotel refurbishments 1861 – Robbery at the Eagle Hotel – Sharp Work! 1867 – Incivility of hotel ‘boots’ 1874 – Pier Hotel runner 1889 – Alterations at the Pier Hotel Return to Odds and …

30 April, 2013View
House Sales in the Strand

Strand House sales Observer February 1853 HELENA HOUSE, STRAND, RYDE Neat and Elegant Household Goods and Furniture, Clocks, Handsome Chimney Glasses in gilt frames, China Ornaments, Six Iron Bedsteads, &c., &c., by Auction. JOHN E SCOTT has been favoured with Instructions to OFFER FOR SALE BY AUCTION, on the Premises, on TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY, the 22nd and 23rd of MARCH, 1853, at Twelve for One o’Clock precisely, ALL THE NEAT & ELEGANT HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND FURNITURE, Nearly new, of the above Residence, the Property of a Gentleman leaving the Island, which must be Sold without the least Reserve; comprising IN THE DRAWING ROOM Handsome Rosewood Loo Table, Eight ditto Trafalgar Chairs with stuffed seats in Damask, ditto Cabriole Couch, ditto Cheffonier with marble top, ditto Work Table, large Chimney Glass in gilt frame in excellent condition, Easy Chairs, Fancy ditto, Time Piece under glass shade, rich Damask Curtains and Hangings, Brussels Carpet and Rug, Fender and Irons, Chimney Ornaments, Brass Window Poles, Rings, &c. IN THE DINING ROOM Mahogany Telescope Dining Tables, ditto Sofa in hair cloth, ditto Devonport, Eight ditto Dining Chairs, handsome ditto Celeret Sideboard, Ebony Whatnot, Chimney Glass in gilt frame, Damask Curtains, Poles, Rings &c., Time Piece, Brussels Carpet and Rug, Fender and Irons, Chimney Ornaments, &c. THE BED ROOMS Contain Mahogany Four-post Bedstead with handsome cornice and chintz furniture, Half Tester and furniture, French and Six Iron Bedsteads, Hair, Wool and other Mattrasses, (sic) prime Goose-feather Beds, Bolsters and Pillows, Blankets, Counterpanes, Mahogany Wardrobe, ditto Chest of Drawers, Dressing Tables, Wash Stands and Ware, handsome Dressing Glasses, Bedsteps, Commodes, Biddets, Towel Airers, Carpets, Chairs, &c. AN EXCELLENT ASSORTMENT OF KITCHEN UTENSILS Handsome Dinner Service, China and Glass, and various other Effects, which must be Sold without the least Reserve. Catalogues may be had of the Auctioneer, and the Goods viewed the Day preceding and Mornings of Sale, to commence precisely at Twelve for One o’Clock. Auction Offices, 77, Union Street, Ryde February 25, 1853. August 1855 HAWTHORN HOUSE, STRAND, RYDE Modern Household Furniture, Horsehair Mattrasses, and Bedding, new within the last twelve months, by Auction. EDWARD MARVIN has received instructions from the Proprietor, Mr Thomas Ball, in consequence of the house being let unfurnished for a term of years, to SELL BY PUBLIC AUCTION, on the Premises, on Friday, August 31, 1855, at 12 o’clock precisely, the principal part of The Furniture of the Above Residence Part having been taken by the incoming Tenant, comprising :- In the Sitting Rooms – Set of Mahogany chairs, lounging chairs, handsome rosewood chairs covered in velvet, mahogany and rosewood couches, loo tables, card, occasional, and lady’s work ditto, set of 5ft.-wide superior extensible dining tables, rosewood cheffonier with marble slab and plate-glass pannels, (sic) mahogany ditto, mahogany cellaret sideboard richly carved, elegant chimney and oval glasses in gilt frames rosewood and walnut whatnots, lady’s rosewood secretaire, bronzed fenders and fire irons, &c. The Bed Rooms comprise :- Very superior-made and richly-carved Spanish mahogany Arabian bedsteads with damask furnitures, capital bordered horse-hair mattrasses in linen ticks, goose-feather beds, bolsters, and pillows, a lady’s mahogany wing wardrobe, tallboy and lobby chests of drawers, toilet and washhand tables with marble tops, supported on carved scrolls, with dressing glasses of large dimensions of a very superior description, towel airers, commodes, bed steps, cane-seat chairs, fenders and fire irons, &c. together with the furniture of five bedrooms in japanned work. Miscellaneous – Kitchen tables and chairs, meat screen, press bedsteads, kitchen clock, butler’s tray and stand, set of dish covers, fenders and fire irons, and various other effects, which will be enumerated in Catalogues, and may be viewed the day preceding the Sale. Auction Offices, 9 Union-street, Ryde. November 1866 DUNDAS HOUSE, STRAND, RYDE Neat and Modern Household Furniture, Chimney Glasses, Plated Articles, China and Glass, Kitchen and Culinary Utensils, &c. (nearly new) JOHN E SCOTT has received instructions to SELL by PUBLIC AUCTION, on the premises, Dundas House, Strand, Ryde, on TUESDAY, November 13, 1866, at 1 o’clock precisely, without reserve, the FURNITURE and EQUIPMENT, of the above residence; comprising:- In the Drawing Room – Six walnut ware chairs in green rep, cabriole sofa and lady’s chair in ditto, handsome cheffioneer with plate glass back, glass panels to doors, and marble top, superior walnut wood loo table with inlaid top, coffee and occasional tables, chimney glass in gilt frame, whatnot, chimney ornaments, engravings framed and glazed, fender and fire irons. In the Dining Room – Felt carpet and hearth rug, telescope dining table with extra leaves and screw to ditto, six mahogany dining room chairs in American leather, easy chair, library ditto and couch, mahogany cheffioneer sideboard, chimney glass, oil paintings and engravings &c. In the Bed Rooms – Mahogany and japanned Arabian bedsteads and chintz furnitures, iron French bedsteads, soft matresses, goose-feather beds, bolsters and pillows, blankets and Marseilles quilts, mahogany and painted chests of drawers, mahogany and painted washstands and toilet services, bed room chairs, towel horses, Kidderminster carpets, fenders and fire irons, commodes &c. Kitchen and culinary utensils, china, glass, barometer,hat stand, stair carpets and other useful effects. On view the day preceding and morning of sale, and Catalogues can be obtained of the Auctioneer. Auction Offices, 75 Union-street, Ryde, Nov 5th December 1866 TURRET VILLA, STRAND, RYDE Household Furniture and Effects, for Sale by Auction. MARVIN and SONS are instructed to SELL by AUCTION, on the premises, as above, on THURSDAY, December 13, 1866, at 12 o’clock precisely, all the FURNITURE and EFFECTS (the house being required for railway purposes), which comprise, – Brussels carpets, rugs, shaped fenders and irons, chimney glasses in gilt frames, mahogany loo and telescope tables, couches and chairs in hair seating and damask, easy chair in morocco, damask window suits, rosewood card table, whatnot, oil paintings, mahogany cheffioneer, ditto sideboard, mirror in gilt frame, &c., mahogany four-post, beech and japanned French bedsteads, paliasses, wool and hair mattrasses, feather beds, bolsters and pillows, blankets and counterpanes, mahogany wing wardrobes, painted upright ditto, mahogany commodes, washstands, dressing tables, glasses, chamber ware, cane-seat chairs, fenders and irons, window curtains, stair and landing carpets, wool mats, brass rods, floor cloth, hall chairs, iron umbrella stand; the usual kitchen utensils, china and glass, together with sundry other useful effects. On view the day previous to sale. Catalogues may be obtained of the Auctioneers. Auction Offices, 9 Union-street, Ryde. Return to main Houses …

19 April, 2013View
Houses

In the 19th century papers, house agents advertised sales with full details of contents. These advertisements show us the furniture fashions of the time, and also give an idea of the size of the houses. Often when moving to the mainland, all furniture was sold, rather than paying to have it shipped across the water. Dover House, The Strand – House HistorySouthfields Sale noticeBeachlands sale notice August 1892.House sales in The Strand, Ryde.Coleman’s Wood Sale 1887Ryde Castle extension – 1895 THE WESTFIELD GALLERY In the account of the Isle of Wight Horticultural Show, held in the grounds of Sir Augustus Clifford, bart., at Westfield, which we gave a few weeks ago, a passing allusion was made to the new gallery of art recently erected at that marine residence. Since that account appeared, Sir Augustus has kindly shewn us the gallery and its contents, a short description of which may, perhaps, be very interesting to our readers. The gallery is built at the south-west portion of the residence, overlooking a beautiful lawn studded with fine specimens of sculpture, with a background of luxuriant foliage. The interior is finished with Corinthian pilasters, supporting an enriched cornice, from which springs a segmental ceiling, divided into compartments (corresponding with the divisions formed by the pilasters) and these are again subdivided by enriched coffered pannels, supporting a skylight, through which the principal light to the gallery is admitted. The glass in the ceiling is of ornamental design, and emblematical of Art, Literature and Music, and has a very pleasing effect. The room, from the variety in the plan, has a striking and unusual character, which is much enhanced by the semicircular tribune with the Apollo Belvidere, at the south end, over which is a medallion of Sir Augustus faithfully and excellently executed by Mr Grey, the sculptor, of Ryde; and the anteroom, with the Apollino, at the north end. This latter portion receives its light through a skylight of ornamental glass resembling the signs of the zodiac. The decorations of the room are very effective; the walls being hung with a deep blue paper, diapered with black, divided by large gold moulding of the cable pattern into pannels, with stiles formed of a gold-coloured paper. The paper is continued round the whole of the tribune and in the anteroom. The ceiling is grey and white, relieved by gilding. The whole gallery, with its beautiful variety of works of art, consisting of pictures, statues, vases, bronzes, with the elegant mahogany bookcases, form a completeness indicative of the most refined taste; at the same time utility has not been sacrificed, as we have never been in any gallery – large or small – where the light is so well diffused over the objects as in this. The designs were by Mr Thomas Hellyer, architect, of Melville-street, Ryde, and the building and all its architectural decorations were completed by Messrs DASHWOOD, of Ryde, to all of whom the greatest credit is due for the masterly manner in which it is carried out. The gateway of Westfield House sports a very fine stag, sadly now missing an antler. This bronze was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and was a particular favourite of Prince Albert. To read more, please go to the Queen’s visit to Ryde, …

22 October, 2022View
How not to advertise Ryde

 Isle of Wight Observer July 1, 1899 To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, – The Corporation plan evidently is “On Coronation Day leave the Borough without water”.Disgustedly yours,RESIDENT. To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, – We came to Ryde some years ago on account of its reputation as a health resort and hearing that it was well supplied with excellent water. We obtained a sanitary certificate for our house and had all the newest sanitary appliances fixed, but in spite of all these precautions we are now in a most unsanitary state, as for the last day and a half we have been absolutely without water. I do not keep a diary, but perhaps some of your readers can say how many times within the last two years the town has been without water. It does seem to me that one great cause of the evil is that we have to pay for the water, whether we get it or not. Now, Sir, apply this to bread, suppose there was a town bakery, no shops or private baking being allowed; suppose each householder, were rated at so many loaves, according to his rent, and whether he required them or not; and suppose further he must pay for the bread even if from unavoidable causes (of which the bakery people were to be the sole judges) it could not be furnished to him. Don’t you think in such a case the ovens would be apt to get out of order, and be difficult to repair, and don’t you think the best remedy would be that the people should pay only for the bread they required and received. We should be very sorry to leave Ryde but a town with an intermittent water supply is certainly not a health resort. Will you kindly insert this letter in your paper, and enclosing my card (though not for publication).I remain, yours faithfully,A WELL-WISHER TO RYDE. Return to 1890s Letters …

25 March, 2023View
How you can help

There are many ways in which you can help the society, either now or in the future. If you wish to help us now, we need everyone to look in attics and sheds to find anything relating to Ryde in the past. It doesn’t matter how old or unimportant you think things are. We want it! We can either copy or photograph items if you are happy for us to do this, or you can donate items for future display. Do you have any memories of Ryde in the past? Oral history is an important part of the community. If you have elderly friends, relatives or neighbours, ask them about their memories of Ryde. You can either record them, or write it down. Don’t forget your own memories – even yesterday is now history, and gone forever! We have books in the Heritage Centre for people to write down their memories of Ryde. We need people to help with fundraising, and to liaise with local schools and community groups. Come and join the party – like this one in Union Street to celebrate Prince Albert laying the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in 1846! Please go to the Contact Us page of the website, or visit Ryde District Heritage Centre and tell us how you would like to help. Thanks very much for your interest. Return to Home …

24 September, 2022View
HRS Events

22 September, 2013View
HRS FUNDRAISING EVENTS TO SUIT ALL TASTES!

Historic Ryde Society hosts a multitude of fund-raising events throughout the year, to suit all tastes. Recent events include two fascinating illustrated talks about the stars and the planets. HRS was delighted to work closely with James Bissell-Thomas of The Orrery, and welcomed astronomer Ian Ridpath to Ryde. Two more illustrated talks have taken place since then – Tony Gale’s wonderful romp around Ashey Races, and Mark Earp’s interesting display of historic images of Ryde. A full lecture programme is being drawn up for next year, to include a talk on Ryde airport and another to reflect the beginning of the national WWI commemorations. As well as the monthly pub quizzes, which take place in Yelf’s Hotel on the last Thursday of every month – please note the December quiz will be held on Friday, December 27! –  regular events include two Antique and Collectors’ Fairs – next one Sunday, December 8, John Street Masonic Hall, 10am to 3pm, Christmas voucher raffle – over the same weekend. Music plays a big part in the HRS repetoire and musical events, such as the harp and sitar recital and recent 70s and 80s disco add to a full schedule throughout the year. Berno Inferno can be booked via HRS if you need a disco…… Look out for the regular FREE House History workshops, which will resume in the Spring. To book a place, which is essential, as places are limited, please call 01983 717435 during opening hours. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
HRS Stand at Hobbs Jewellers Festivities

Saturday, 23rd April, John King, Brian Harris and David Newman have put on a display to celebrate the festivities organised by Hobbs …

16 December, 2023View
HRS Talk – Tim Wander

Historic Ryde Society presents “Greasepaint and Sausages” ENSA, Master Ray Edmunds and the Isle of Wight at War” by Tim Wander at Yelf’s Hotel on Wednesday 17th October, 7pm for 7.30 – 9.00pm. Members £4, Visitors £5. Tickets from Ryde District Heritage Centre, or on the …

16 December, 2023View
I often think….

I often think of the times we spent Oh! so happily together.The world engaged in its noisy raceBut we, content with each other. No word was said, no hint was givenBut each knew the feeling of each,It wanted not words, it wished for no signA lesson so easy to teach. Methought t’was learned so well by heartTo forget it could never beI  always shall think of the days long gone,Will he ever think of me? Return to Florence’s …

11 March, 2023View
Ice Well

 The Ice 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! 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. Return to home …

5 October, 2013View
Ignorance Personified

Isle of Wight Observer August 21, 1858 ROYAL VISIT – The Princess Alice and Princess Helena, attended by a lady in waiting, paid a visit to the shop of Mr Henry, of Union-street, jeweller to the Royal Family, on Monday evening last, and made extensive purchases. IGNORANCE PERSONIFIED – It is with indignation that we record a scene we witnessed in Union-street the other evening, on the occasion of the visit to Ryde of two of the youthful Princesses. Did the gaping fools who surrounded and almost mobbed them, suppose that they were not made of flesh and blood, like other mortals? We really thought better things of our towns-people, than that the two young ladies (indeed, almost children) could not be allowed to walk through our streets without exciting such vulgar curiosity as is usually reserved for mountebanks. It is true that many of the persons who made themselves ridiculous on the occasion were visitors; but we beg to present our compliments to all, and to assure them we should like to place them, individually, in a position where they would be objects of notoriety for a like space of time in a public thoroughfare – which could only be accomplished successfully by the aid of the pillory. Return to Royals in …

19 November, 2022View
Improvements at Appley

Sir William Hutt and Improvements at Appley Isle of Wight Observer – April 24 1875 The Wall from Apley (sic) to Springvale – In former years the road from Springvale to Ryde by the sea wall was so dangerous that many timid persons hesitated about choosing that route to Ryde, although such a short one. At one spot the road narrowed so that two persons could not pass at the same time, while the scrambling up and down steps at one part of the road was most inconvenient. A little further on the wall had broken away again, and the foot passenger had almost to emulate, in a small way, the feat of Blondin, and balance himself upon a narrow wall for some little distance.A false step might precipitate him upon the rocky shore beneath, or in the muddy slush on the other side. Close against Apley again, yellow clay upon the wall in wet weather was scarcely to be avoided, and altogether the roadway was in a most wretched and disgraceful condition. The public, however, are indebted to Sir William Hutt for an improvement upon these state of things. Since he has become the owner of Apley Towers and the beautiful estate adjoining, he has made various improvements. A handsome little pier for the convenience of his household has been constructed, and he has thrown back his boundary wall along the whole length of his frontage about 1800 feet, which makes the wall about twelve or fourteen feet in width. Instead of the wet clay this is now neatly covered with Portland cement concrete, and the portion completed reflects great credit upon the contractor, Mr Jolliffe, of Newport. The other parts of the wall adjoining the estate of Sir W Harcourt, at St Clare, have also been much improved, and are not in the dangerous condition they were in former years; but there is still room for improvement, and we hope that ere long we shall see an alteration in the condition of the wall corresponding with that of the portion adjoining the Apley Estate. Return to 1870s Odds and Ends …

21 October, 2023View
Improvements at Appley

Sir William Hutt and Improvements at Appley Isle of Wight Observer – April 24 1875 The Wall from Apley (sic) to Springvale – In former years the road from Springvale to Ryde by the sea wall was so dangerous that many timid persons hesitated about choosing that route to Ryde, although such a short one. At one spot the road narrowed so that two persons could not pass at the same time, while the scrambling up and down steps at one part of the road was most inconvenient. A little further on the wall had broken away again, and the foot passenger had almost to emulate, in a small way, the feat of Blondin, and balance himself upon a narrow wall for some little distance.A false step might precipitate him upon the rocky shore beneath, or in the muddy slush on the other side. Close against Apley again, yellow clay upon the wall in wet weather was scarcely to be avoided, and altogether the roadway was in a most wretched and disgraceful condition. The public, however, are indebted to Sir William Hutt for an improvement upon these state of things. Since he has become the owner of Apley Towers and the beautiful estate adjoining, he has made various improvements. A handsome little pier for the convenience of his household has been constructed, and he has thrown back his boundary wall along the whole length of his frontage about 1800 feet, which makes the wall about twelve or fourteen feet in width. Instead of the wet clay this is now neatly covered with Portland cement concrete, and the portion completed reflects great credit upon the contractor, Mr Jolliffe, of Newport. The other parts of the wall adjoining the estate of Sir W Harcourt, at St Clare, have also been much improved, and are not in the dangerous condition they were in former years; but there is still room for improvement, and we hope that ere long we shall see an alteration in the condition of the wall corresponding with that of the portion adjoining the Apley Estate. Return to 1870s Odds and Ends …

31 May, 2013View
Improvements at Ryde Pier Pavilion – 1898

The Isle of Wight Observer July 2 1898 During the past week or so very considerable changes have been made in the appearance of the Pavilion by the addition of a very pretty proscenium which has been erected by Messrs D C Handcock and Co, scenic artists, of London. The top is painted with a frieze which is an exact reproduction of a celebrated Grecian frieze, but the effect is made incongruous by the Borough Arms being painted immediately above it. The curtain is  painted with a delightfully picturesque view of a Scotch Loch. There are also several pretty drop scenes which do credit to the artistic skill of Mr Handcock, the scenic artist, who painted them himself. Considerable alterations have been made, too, in the gallery, and as the stage appointments take up so much more of the room, it has been necessary to block off a considerable portion of the gallery, which we understand will be used for dressing rooms, &c. The chairs which were formerly placed in the gallery have been removed and cushioned benches substituted. the benches immediately behind the rail are lower than those at the back, so that those occupying the latter will be able to look over the heads of those in front and see the performance. The seating arrangements in the body of the building have not been altered. The Pavilion will be open for the season on Monday evening next, with the very successful musical, farcical play, ‘One of the Family’, by a specially selected London Company. We understand that throughout the season the management intend to adhere strictly to the following prices – Dramatic performances, 3s, 2s, 1s, and 6d. Variety entertainments, 2s, 1s, and 6d. These prices will not include pier toll or tram fares. Smoking will be permitted in the promenade as usual. Return to homepage Return to Ryde Pier in the 1890s …

21 October, 2023View
Improvements at Ryde Pier Pavilion – 1898

The Isle of Wight Observer July 2 1898 During the past week or so very considerable changes have been made in the appearance of the Pavilion by the addition of a very pretty proscenium which has been erected by Messrs D C Handcock and Co, scenic artists, of London. The top is painted with a frieze which is an exact reproduction of a celebrated Grecian frieze, but the effect is made incongruous by the Borough Arms being painted immediately above it. The curtain is  painted with a delightfully picturesque view of a Scotch Loch. There are also several pretty drop scenes which do credit to the artistic skill of Mr Handcock, the scenic artist, who painted them himself. Considerable alterations have been made, too, in the gallery, and as the stage appointments take up so much more of the room, it has been necessary to block off a considerable portion of the gallery, which we understand will be used for dressing rooms, &c. The chairs which were formerly placed in the gallery have been removed and cushioned benches substituted. the benches immediately behind the rail are lower than those at the back, so that those occupying the latter will be able to look over the heads of those in front and see the performance. The seating arrangements in the body of the building have not been altered. The Pavilion will be open for the season on Monday evening next, with the very successful musical, farcical play, ‘One of the Family’, by a specially selected London Company. We understand that throughout the season the management intend to adhere strictly to the following prices – Dramatic performances, 3s, 2s, 1s, and 6d. Variety entertainments, 2s, 1s, and 6d. These prices will not include pier toll or tram fares. Smoking will be permitted in the promenade as usual. Return to homepage Return to Ryde Pier in the 1890s page …

8 July, 2014View
Improvements on Ryde Pier

Ryde Pier Improvements June/July 1894 Observer, June 23, 1894 – IMPROVEMENTS ON RYDE PIER – We are pleased to learn that the Directors of the Pier Company have decided to make several very important improvements on their property. The wooden railing, which runs the whole length of the Pier, is to be removed and a new iron fencing of a light and elegant pattern will be substituted. Arrangements have also been made to fix during the season large gas stars at the end of the electric railway, near the band stand, and at the entrance to the Joint Railway Companies Pier, so that the head of the Pier will be brilliantly lighted. The piles for the new pavilion have also arrived, and they will shortly be placed in position by a new process. They are of iron and hollow, and as the pile sinks in position the mud and gravel into which it is pressed is pumped up. It is said that this is a very expeditious method. Mr I Barton is also making two large shelters of an elegant pattern which will shortly be placed on the Pier. Observer, July 28, 1894 : IMPROVEMENTS ON RYDE PIER – The directors of the Pier Company have, we understand, accepted a tender for the supply of new iron railings for their Pier. These railings will be handsome in design, and will include a novel arrangement of hollow tubes running through the top and bottom of each support. The top one will be used as a pipe to convey gas to the lamps, which will be placed at regular intervals all the way down the Pier, and the lower one to convey the wire to the electric lamps. It is, we understand, in contemplation, to place gas and electric lamps alternately, and to use both gas and electricity for lighting on special occasions, so that Ryde Pier will be one of the best lighted thoroughfares in England. We trust the example of the Pier Company will stimulate the Corporation to do something in a similar direction, for certainly much better light is needed in the Esplanade Gardens. The above image  – reproduced by kind permission of the Francis Frith Collection – clearly shows the alternating gas and electric lights on the pier – and the Shelter designed by Thomas Hellyer, with the sea serpents. Information given about the Scottish foundry which made these railings can be found here. Return to main Ryde Pier …

27 May, 2013View
INACCURATE CONCEPTION

Historic Ryde Society hosts a multitude of fund-raising events throughout the year, to suit all tastes. Recent events include two fascinating illustrated talks about the stars and the planets. HRS was delighted to work closely with James Bissell-Thomas of The Orrery, and welcomed astronomer Ian Ridpath to Ryde. Two more illustrated talks have taken place since then – Tony Gale’s wonderful romp around Ashey Races, and Mark Earp’s interesting display of historic images of Ryde. A full lecture programme is being drawn up for next year, to include a talk on Ryde airport and another to reflect the beginning of the national WWI commemorations. As well as the monthly pub quizzes, which take place in Yelf’s Hotel on the last Thursday of every month – please note the December quiz will be held on Friday, December 27! –  regular events include two Antique and Collectors’ Fairs – next one Sunday, December 8, John Street Masonic Hall, 10am to 3pm, Christmas voucher raffle – over the same weekend. Music plays a big part in the HRS repetoire and musical events, such as the harp and sitar recital and recent 70s and 80s disco add to a full schedule throughout the year. Berno Inferno can be booked via HRS if you need a disco…… Look out for the regular FREE House History workshops, which will resume in the Spring. To book a place, which is essential, as places are limited, please call 01983 717435 during opening hours. Return to …

15 July, 2023View
Incautious Landlord

An Incautious Landlord Isle of Wight Observer January 25, 1890 Ryde Petty Sessions – Borough Bench – Monday – Before the Mayor (Ald J Barton), Aldermen Colenutt, Captain Daubuz, Professor Simonds and Dr Davey. Joseph Jones, landlord of the Wheatsheaf, was summoned for keeping his house open during unlawful hours. PC Watson deposed that on Sunday morning, the 12th instant, about ten minutes to 8, he was on duty in Melville-street, at the top of Nelson-street. Saw a man come out of the Wheatsheaf, and go down Nelson-street. There was a man at the bottom of the street, evidently watching. Shortly afterwards this man came up the street and went into the Wheatsheaf. Witness afterwards went down and opened the bar door. It was not fastened. There was a man standing against the counter with a pint cup in his hand, half full of beer. As he went in defendant came into the bar. Witness said, “What is the meaning of this, Mr Jones?” He replied “I don’t know.” Witness told him he had no right to have his house opened for the sale of drink at five minutes to 8 on Sunday morning, and that he should report the matter to the Superintendent. He said “Very well, but don’t open your mouth too wide about it,” or words to that effect. He told defendant he should be obliged to report it because there were many complaints in reference to the house. – Defendant said he had just taken in the milk, when a man came into the bar and said that he had been on duty all night and felt ill, and begged him for a glass of ale, and he supplied him. – Superintendent Hinks stated that defendant had kept the house ever since he had been in the town, and had never been summoned before. – The Bench fined defendant £1 and costs. Robert Dunford,  of Daniel-street, was fined 2s 6d and costs for going into the house. Endorsements The license of the Bugle Inn was endorsed from Thomas Scott to Edward Sweetman, jun. Application was made to endorse the license of the Hand-in-Hand, Nelson-place, from Jane Beal to William Jarman. – Ald Colenutt said that the house had not been opened for several years. – Superintendent Hinks replied that the license had been taken out every year. – Ald Colenutt remarked that it was a low place, and the fact that it had been closed showed that the neighbourhood did not require a publichouse. – The matter was adjourned till the next transfer day. HIGH TIDE One of the highest tides known here for a great number of years occurred on Thursday, but though the wind was occasionally rather gusty, it was more or less off the land, so that little damage was done. The sluice in the marshes, however, overfllowed, and there was eighteen inches of water in Alderman Barrow’s Recreation Ground. It taxed Mr A Cooke, and his staff, to keep the railway tunnel sufficiently free from water to permit of uninterrupted traffic. The tides rose so high under the Railway Pier that, had it been very rough, the permanent way must have been injured. Return to 1890s Odds and …

27 May, 2013View
Incivility of hotel ‘boots’

Isle of Wight Times May 8, 1867 Incivility of hotel ‘boots’ at Ryde Hotels Dr Edward Young, writing from Steynings, Salisbury, complains bitterly of the treatment he received from the “boots” of one of the Ryde hotels a day or two ago. It appears that he is an invalid, and that he had been staying with his little son at one of our hotels. Having lunched and paid his bill, he proposed crossing over to Southampton by 3.40 boat on his way home. His only luggage was small portmanteau, which the “boots” carried for him to the end of the pier. For this service the doctor tendered the man 6d., whereupon he was assialed with “a violent torrent of abuse”. The coin, was not only indignantly refused, but “boots” violently snatched the portmanteau out of the invalid’s hand, and “marched off with it up the pier again.” Dr Young adds: “I am bound to say that the landlord did express his regret, and stated to me his intention of dismissing his servant, which I hope, for the credit of his establishment, he will do. As it was I lost the boat, and consequently the train to Salisbury.” If this be an accurate account of what really occurred, it is much to be regretted that steps could not have been taken to bring the offending “boots” before the magistrate for the assault. Cases of incivility, or of extortionate charges, are not often to be met with in the Ryde hotels. Indeed, most visitors could, we apprehend, bear us out in the statement, that there are few watering places throughout the country where better hotel accommodation or more attention to the comfort and convenience of visitors is to be found than in Ryde. Return to Hotels …

30 April, 2013View
Increase of Business

Increase of trade Isle of Wight Observer March 17, 1855 The only briskness manifested in Ryde is amongst the drapers, who, to keep pace with their enormous increase of business, have been compelled to prolong their trade-hour from 7 to 8pm! This, while it improves the profit of ‘the master’ happily relieves the assistant of one hour of evening temptation – which, it is said, was destructive of their morals. Of course, the public will assist this retrograde move, by shopping as late as they possibly can. The grocers do not seem to participate in this prosperity. THE MARKET HOUSE is repainted, and the reduction in its size much improves it. There is, however, as yet but little trade done in it. THE SEASON – After the unparalleled dullness of the winter, it is gratifying to see the first signs of ‘the good time coming’ manifest itself. The house painter and upholsterer have begun to decorate the lodging-houses, for which there are already many enquiries; a good augury of a prosperous season. The assembling of the magnificent Baltic Fleet at Spithead is attracting some visitors, who chiefly resort to the various hotels. THE WEATHER – On Saturday and Sunday last we were again visited with violent snow storms, accompanied with piercing E and NE winds; the effect of which is a general prevalence of colds, sore throats, &c. The more genial weather since then will doubtless soon remedy the evil; a consummation much desired. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

27 May, 2013View
Increase of trade

Isle of Wight Observer March 17, 1855 The only briskness manifested in Ryde is amongst the drapers, who, to keep pace with their enormous increase of business, have been compelled to prolong their trade-hour from 7 to 8pm! This, while it improves the profit of ‘the master’ happily relieves the assistant of one hour of evening temptation – which, it is said, was destructive of their morals. Of course, the public will assist this retrograde move, by shopping as late as they possibly can. The grocers do not seem to participate in this prosperity. THE MARKET HOUSE is repainted, and the reduction in its size much improves it. There is, however, as yet but little trade done in it. THE SEASON – After the unparalleled dullness of the winter, it is gratifying to see the first signs of ‘the good time coming’ manifest itself. The house painter and upholsterer have begun to decorate the lodging-houses, for which there are already many enquiries; a good augury of a prosperous season. The assembling of the magnificent Baltic Fleet at Spithead is attracting some visitors, who chiefly resort to the various hotels. THE WEATHER – On Saturday and Sunday last we were again visited with violent snow storms, accompanied with piercing E and NE winds; the effect of which is a general prevalence of colds, sore throats, &c. The more genial weather since then will doubtless soon remedy the evil; a consummation much desired. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Inspection of Volunteers – 1886

Isle of Wight Observer September 18, 1886 This annual event was fixed for Friday last at Parkhurst, and in the midst of a drenching rain our local corps wended their way to Parkhurst, where they joined the other detachments, the total number present being 536. The corps awaited the Inspecting Officer (Col Moorsom, commanding the 37th Regimental district), till half-past four. He was telegraphed to come at once, but he sent back to say he could not; he had made a mistake as to the day, and would see the regiment at 11 o’clock next day, which was of course impossible with Volunteers, many of whom have a difficulty in getting a day off at this busy time of the year. As the officer did not put in an appearance the regiment was inspected by Col Atherley, being drawn up in a line in review order and at the double. All these movements were well executed. The Colonel subsequently put his men through the usual battalion movements. These being finished, addressing the regiment, Col Atherley expressed regret at the absence of the inspecting officer, and said he did not think he ever saw the battalion turn out much better. The muster was very good, and the drill, as far as it had gone, was as good as one could expect or wish for. An interesting presentation was then made by the Commanding Officer to Quartermaster-sergeant Watts, consisting of an illuminated address and a piece of plate, subscribed for by officers, non-commissioned officers, and the men of the battalion. After a service of twenty-six years Mr Watts, the Colonel said, had left the regiment with the regard and esteem of everyone. The work he had done would not soon be forgotten, especially by those who had spent a week under canvas. The address, was nicely framed, and artistically finished in gold and silver. Return to 1880s Military …

11 February, 2023View
Interesting Relic of Old Ryde

Isle of Wight Observer December 25 1886 During the past week an interesting relic of Old Ryde has been demolished, Baskett’s Cottage, adjoining Union-road. This little model of old-fashioned unpretending comfort is said to be over 100 years old. At all events it was built by old Mr Baskett, who had the garden there. He built the house himself. The walls were made of clay (which was kept together with straw, after the fashion noted in Biblical history), with a coating of plaster, and the roof was thatched with straw. It had two rooms, a similar hut opposite furnishing another room. This little place always had the peculiarity of being warm in winter, and cool in the summer, and there the good old gardener lived for many years, and brought up a large family. At his death, his daughters, the three Misses Baskett, resided there for many years, dropping off one by one, after attaining more than the allotted span of years. When they died the place was sold, and the old-fashioned cottage, which sheltered people so honest, amiable and full of old world simplicity, is now gone. but, strange to say, the walls, though formed of mere ordinary clay, were as hard as stone, and had to be picked down, while the straw which kept them together looked as fresh as if it had just been used. This was doubtless due to the coating of plaster inside and out, which kept out all damp. As one witnessed this place, one could not help reflecting on the change which has come over Ryde and its people, as it grew from a mere hamlet to the town as it is now. This part of the town, now somewhat squalid and neglected looking, was once a garden. A nice garden was attached to Baskett’s Cottage, and the inmates knew how to grow splendid apples, gooseberries and currants. Return to 1880s Odds and Ends …

8 April, 2023View
Island transport

Isle of Wight Observer June 8 1861  GREASING THE WHEELS –  According to custom, the first week in June is signalised by the full force of Rockets being placed on the road between Ryde and Ventnor; there being three fours-in-hand running daily by that firm alone. So, on Monday last, that well-known whip, Loader, mounted the box for a second “outing” with a freight or friends who were to meet others at the Royal Hotel, Ventnor, per the Union from Cowes, whose combined object was to “grease the wheels”; which object was accomplished accordingly. Mr Bush, as usual, catered to the satisfaction of the guests; and, after the congratulatory toasts and other routine compliments, personal and general, which generally follow good cheer, the party broke up and returned again. This annual reunion is highly esteemed by many of those who were assembled on the occasion. There are now five four-horse coaches daily running to Ventnor; four from Ryde, and one from Cowes – a rather extraordinary circumstance in these days. THE STAR OMNIBUS – This well-appointed contrivance, Elkins himself the whip, resumed running for the season between the Eagle Hotel, Ryde, and Shanklin Chine, on Monday last; affording to visitors and others a cheap and beautiful afternoon drive to some of the most romantic scenery of the Island. The route, of course, is through Brading and Sandown; and every tourist having time, should embrace the opportunity. THE NEWPORT ROCKET – Our esteemed friend, Lambert, too, has appeared in full summer force, between Ryde, Newport and Carisbrooke Castle; thus giving to visitors another opportunity of visiting the Island beauties, at an exceeding cheap rate. All that is now wanted is fine weather; everything else will follow as a matter of course. This four-in-hand is on Ryde Esplanade, outside the Osborn Hotel. Thanks to the County Record Office for this image. Return to 1860s Odds and Ends …

25 February, 2023View
Islander Magazine

A bundle of Islander Magazines dating from the 1970s give tantalising snippets of life around the Island at that time. Some of these will be added to the website over the next few weeks. Watch this space! The magazine of March 1971 reveals how close the Island came to losing the Royal Victoria Arcade. ‘Regarding the Royal Victoria Arcade in Ryde’s Union Street the Ministry of Housing and Local Government decided to call in the application for “Listed Building Consent” as the Minister feels demolition should only be permitted if the case for it has been made out to his satisfaction at t forthcoming Public Local Inquiry. Judging by the many increases in foodstuffs your reporter thought this site may make a nice market hall giving farmers and stall-holders a chance to dispose of any crops they have at more reasonable prices to buyer and seller than those charged elsewhere. A really good market with home made bread, butter, cheese, eggs, etc. may be welcomed by very many people. Properly organised I’m sure it would show a profit. Anybody got any different ideas?’                       Ryde – The Catering Exhibitions and Ads…. from the first edition of Islander Magazine – April 1967                                                                     Return to …

12 November, 2015View
Islander March 1971

Island Hostelries – Prince of Wales Inn, High Street, Ryde Meeting place years ago of many strange characters. Of smugglers and perhaps the Customs men. These days a pleasant little inn where many of the older army, navy and yachting personnel foregather, not to mention the anglers, the cricket and football clubs, plus the various other associations, British Legion, Burma Star, etc. Edmund Burton in his book England’s Eden, said; “And of course, something must be said of Ryde’s smuggling traditions. for what more suitable locality than the Isle of Wight could be imagned for such an occupation”. I read an account in a Portsmouth newspaper concerning a hidden staircase in the Prince of Wales Inn, which very naturally tempted an investigation. This hostelry stands in Ryde’s High Street, and one day I made a call there. The place was closed for business, but the landlord, armed with a big storm lantern, very kindly consented to show me the new discovery. We mounted flight after flight of narrow stairs until we reached the top floor, right under the roof. Here the landlord rolled away a rug and revealed a trap door set in the floorboards. Raising the trap, he led me down a narrow staircase, with his bobbing lantern light flashing over the dust and cobwebs of ages for this is one of the oldest houses in Ryde. Some distance down we were pulled up by a thick worm-eaten barrier, beneath which it was plain to see the steps still continuing, but my companion knew nothing oof what lay beyond – nor apparently, did he possess the curiosity to find out. It seems that a bank was being built in the High Street some years before the discovery of this staircase at the Prince of Wales and the excavators came upon a secret passage connecting two wells. In the interest of the bank’s safety this passage was stopped up. The stairs at the Inn might lead to some underground chamber or even to the shore itself by way of a subterranean boring but the whole thing is wrapped in mystery. Such old relics are said to date from the time when Ryde was a village known as “La Rye” and a regular paradise for such folk who specialised in running cargoes without paying any duty on them. It is interesting to note that during Norman times Ryde was called ” La Riche” and a reference to Pennant’s book “Journey from London to the Isle of Wight reveals in 1801 Ryde was called “Ride”. Old records show that in 1859 the Prince of Wales Inn was kept by one James Knight and in 1878 by a James Porter. The County Seely Library at Newport have informed us that Ryde was known as “La Ryde” in 1283. It appears that the Prince is an original timber building and the brick frontage covers this construction. The general construction of the building, ie. size of rooms, height of rooms, lack of cellar, type of roof tile etc. is very similar to the Rose and Crown, Newport. Now in the church next to the Rose and Crown can be seen a large framed photograph showing one Francis Russell presenting a rose to Charles I outside the Rose and Crown in the year 1646. Does this account for the name of the Newport Inn being the Rose and Crown? How good it is to find a small old world inn away from the glare of the juke box or the crash of the one-armed bandit, where the at of intelligent conversation is exploited fully to the enjoyment of many. Return to …

4 November, 2023View
Islander March 1971

Island Hostelries – Prince of Wales Inn, High Street, Ryde Meeting place years ago of many strange characters. Of smugglers and perhaps the Customs men. These days a pleasant little inn where many of the older army, navy and yachting personnel foregather, not to mention the anglers, the cricket and football clubs, plus the various other associations, British Legion, Burma Star, etc. Edmund Burton in his book England’s Eden, said; “And of course, something must be said of Ryde’s smuggling traditions. for what more suitable locality than the Isle of Wight could be imagned for such an occupation”. I read an account in a Portsmouth newspaper concerning a hidden staircase in the Prince of Wales Inn, which very naturally tempted an investigation. This hostelry stands in Ryde’s High Street, and one day I made a call there. The place was closed for business, but the landlord, armed with a big storm lantern, very kindly consented to show me the new discovery. We mounted flight after flight of narrow stairs until we reached the top floor, right under the roof. Here the landlord rolled away a rug and revealed a trap door set in the floorboards. Raising the trap, he led me down a narrow staircase, with his bobbing lantern light flashing over the dust and cobwebs of ages for this is one of the oldest houses in Ryde. Some distance down we were pulled up by a thick worm-eaten barrier, beneath which it was plain to see the steps still continuing, but my companion knew nothing oof what lay beyond – nor apparently, did he possess the curiosity to find out. It seems that a bank was being built in the High Street some years before the discovery of this staircase at the Prince of Wales and the excavators came upon a secret passage connecting two wells. In the interest of the bank’s safety this passage was stopped up. The stairs at the Inn might lead to some underground chamber or even to the shore itself by way of a subterranean boring but the whole thing is wrapped in mystery. Such old relics are said to date from the time when Ryde was a village known as “La Rye” and a regular paradise for such folk who specialised in running cargoes without paying any duty on them. It is interesting to note that during Norman times Ryde was called ” La Riche” and a reference to Pennant’s book “Journey from London to the Isle of Wight reveals in 1801 Ryde was called “Ride”. Old records show that in 1859 the Prince of Wales Inn was kept by one James Knight and in 1878 by a James Porter. The County Seely Library at Newport have informed us that Ryde was known as “La Ryde” in 1283. It appears that the Prince is an original timber building and the brick frontage covers this construction. The general construction of the building, ie. size of rooms, height of rooms, lack of cellar, type of roof tile etc. is very similar to the Rose and Crown, Newport. Now in the church next to the Rose and Crown can be seen a large framed photograph showing one Francis Russell presenting a rose to Charles I outside the Rose and Crown in the year 1646. Does this account for the name of the Newport Inn being the Rose and Crown? How good it is to find a small old world inn away from the glare of the juke box or the crash of the one-armed bandit, where the at of intelligent conversation is exploited fully to the enjoyment of many. Return to …

19 November, 2015View
Islander November 1971 – Ryde Rowing Club

THIS energetic Club have enjoyed the best everseason in their 94 year history. This season theywon 19 cups, main highlight being winning theSandown Bay Regatta. They were the only row-ing club to ever compete in the Sark-Jersey race. Their annual regatta held off Appley was ahuge success. They won the junior pairs noviceat Bournemouth Regatta and came second in thejunior senior oars. They certainly made a cleansweep of the Island this season and remainedunbeaten in every rowing event they attended. This is their first season away from the oldH.Q. on Ryde Pier, and their best, for they haveattracted far more members. For the first timeever they had to hire a ‘bus on the mainland toconvey their supporters to the various events. Anyone interested in healthy sport with areally “with it” club should telephone Ryde4068 for details. Apart from rowing this amazingClub have a Football team which plays almostevery Sunday, a darts team and a rugby team.Age group for members? 10 to 70 and theyrecord their grateful thanks to Ryde BoroughCouncil for all the assistance and friendly advicethey have received. Islander, November 1971, p.9 Return to …

21 October, 2023View
Islander November 1971 – Ryde Rowing Club

THIS energetic Club have enjoyed the best ever season in their 94 year history. This season they won 19 cups, main highlight being winning the Sandown Bay Regatta. They were the only row- ing club to ever compete in the Sark-Jersey race. Their annual regatta held off Appley was a huge success. They won the junior pairs novice at Bournemouth Regatta and came second in the junior senior oars. They certainly made a clean sweep of the Island this season and remained unbeaten in every rowing event they attended. This is their first season away from the old H.Q. on Ryde Pier, and their best, for they have attracted far more members. For the first time ever they had to hire a ‘bus on the mainland to convey their supporters to the various events. Anyone interested in healthy sport with a really “with it” club should telephone Ryde 4068 for details. Apart from rowing this amazing Club have a Football team which plays almost every Sunday, a darts team and a rugby team. Age group for members? 10 to 70 and they record their grateful thanks to Ryde Borough Council for all the assistance and friendly advice they have received. Islander, November 1971, p.9 Return to …

20 February, 2016View
Islander November 1971 – Ryde Rowing Club

THIS energetic Club have enjoyed the best everseason in their 94 year history. This season theywon 19 cups, main highlight being winning theSandown Bay Regatta. They were the only row-ing club to ever compete in the Sark-Jersey race. Their annual regatta held off Appley was ahuge success. They won the junior pairs noviceat Bournemouth Regatta and came second in thejunior senior oars. They certainly made a cleansweep of the Island this season and remainedunbeaten in every rowing event they attended. This is their first season away from the oldH.Q. on Ryde Pier, and their best, for they haveattracted far more members. For the first timeever they had to hire a ‘bus on the mainland toconvey their supporters to the various events. Anyone interested in healthy sport with areally “with it” club should telephone Ryde4068 for details. Apart from rowing this amazingClub have a Football team which plays almostevery Sunday, a darts team and a rugby team.Age group for members? 10 to 70 and theyrecord their grateful thanks to Ryde BoroughCouncil for all the assistance and friendly advicethey have received. Islander, November 1971, p.9 Return to …

23 September, 2023View
Islander November 1971… we shall remember them…

Islander, November, 1971, …

13 February, 2016View
Islander November 1971… we shall remember them…

Islander, November, 1971, …

23 September, 2023View
Islander September 1971

“Double honour for Ryde School RYDE SCHOOL’S 50th anniversary celebrations, which extended over three days in July, came to a royal climax recently with a commemoration service and reception attended by the Duchess of Kent and the Governor of the Island, Earl Mountbatten of Burma. This was Lord Mountbatten’s second visit to Ryde School—a double honour for each visit he makes to the Island is carefully planned and return visits to any place are unlikely because a vast number of new events is always awaiting him. He last visited Ryde School in 1968 when he opened new science laboratories. When he agreed to attend the jubilee celebrations Lord Mountbatten suggested he should invite the Duchess of Kent to accompany him and make all the arrangements on behalf of the school. After their helicopter touched down on the school’s lower playing field they were greeted by Ryde’s Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs. J. Langdon; Dr. F. R. B. H. Kennedy, chairman of the school’s board of governors; Mrs.C. E. Mclsaac, widow of the founder; and the headmaster, Mr. K. N. Symons, and his wife. They made their way to the parish church with Dr. Kennedy escorting the Duchess and the Governor with Mrs. Mclsaac. Crowds cheered warmly as they crossed the road. 1,000 IN CHURCH Inside All Saints’ Church a cool breeze from the wide open great doors gently stirred the flowers and leaves of the beautiful floral arrangements. The summer colours were repeated in the delightful summer outfits and hats worn by the ladies among the congregation of 1,000. The Duchess chose a very simple coat frock in sunshine yellow with a big hat trimmed only by a scarf of the same shade. We enjoyed, as on other occasions, hearing the lesson read in the famous Mountbatten voice, and the quickfire address given by the Dean of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. S. W. Betts. At noon the reception was held on the north terrace and lawns of lovely Westmont. The first speech was given by Old Boy of the school, Dr. Kennedy, who remembered with pride being a new boy in l921—his grandson is a new boy to—day. He felt he could justly say he was welcoming the Duchess on behalf of the 2,250 boys who had passed through the school. Unveiling a commemorative plaque, the Duchess in her speech showed that she knows and loves the Island. Her family has had connections with the Island over many centuries. A buffet lunch was served in the big marquee on the lawn while the Marines’ band played. Parents of the 60 boarders met local parents and many new friends were made. They expressed real satisfaction regarding the organisation and running of the schoolfits wide field of tuition, sport, artistic subjects, and close contact with the church. There is also the personal touch~not every boy settles down at once as a boarder. But at the school they found “someone to talk to “—Miss Turner, for many years so much a part of the school and a real friend to any boy needing help, comfort and advice. And there to back her, Mrs. Mclsaac, widow of the founder. THE FOUNDER The school has grown from the dream of a courageous man, William Laxon Mclsaac, who firmly believed Ryde was ready for the project. When the school opened on April 25, 192], at Hanover House, George Street, there were just 46 boys and six staff. Numbers had risen by the time the school moved to Westmont in 1928. In the past 50 years, 2,250 boys have passed through the scho0l—30O are there at present. Each headmaster has given much of himself and taken the school a step forward from the founder to Mr. A. J. Mornard, who instituted higher and lower houses, and as a keen lover of drama and music became founder chairman of the Isle of Wight Grand Opera. Mr. Roy Mclsaac, son of the founder, was headmaster from 1953 to 1966, and in his time the school buildings were enlarged, an art centre was added, and new science laboratories built. Under the present headmaster, Mr. Symons, the growth of the school rapidly continues, and plans are well in hand for further building to accommodate 350 boys by 1973. Ryde, and indeed the Island as a whole, can be proud of this fine independent school.  B.M.M.” Islander, September, 1971, p. 21 Return to …

13 February, 2016View
Isle of Wight Gun Club

Taken from the book Ryde Isle of Wight – Its Sports and Attractions: The charming shooting ground of this Club is situated close to Ashey Station, on the IW Central Railway, and is less than two miles from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. The Club was founded in 1897 for the purpose of encouraging the sport of clay pigeon shooting, and has been a decided success from the first, so much so that extra accommodation for the comfort of members has been added each year. There are two pavilions on the ground, one for the shooting members and the other for the ladies, who turn out in large numbers on Club days, for afternoon tea, and thoroughly enter into the enjoyment of the sport. Prizes to the value of between £150 and £200 are annually competed for. At present there are about 130 members. The prosperity of the Club is due to its exclusiveness. Members are selected by the Committee, by ballot, one black ball excluding a candidate. Sir R E Webster, Bart., QC, MP, is the President, Colonel F J Smith, late RE. Hon Treasurer, and Captain R M Alexander, Strathallan, Ryde, Hon Sec. Any information concerning the Club can be obtained from the last named gentleman.   Return to homepage Return to Leisure in the 1900s page …

21 March, 2015View
Isle of Wight Observer

Isle of Wight Observer December 29, 1855 General news… CHRISTMAS EVE – Midnight mass was celebrated on the above occasion in Saint Marie’s church, Ryde. The edifice was crowded. GAS WORKS – We have received the most strong complaints relative to the total absence of gas in the town during the Christmas holidays, and great inconveniences certainly arose from the circumstance. As there were so many strangers moving about in utter darkness, and our streets in so many places were blocked where public works were going on, it is surprising that no accidents occurred. The cause of this absence of gas was, that some alterations were going on at the works, and the festivities of Christmas interfered with the duties of the men employed upon them. WATER WORKS – One of the main pipes bursted (sic) at Ashey again this week, to repair which necessitated the supply being stopped off for two days; why it should have taken half the time to repair such a trivial damage is to us inexplicable, but it must be remembered that this is the first casualty which has had to be attended to by the turncock, under whose charge that department is now placed. THE WEATHER – After several weeks of almost unexampled cold weather, especially before Christmas, it suddenly broked up on Saturday night; the wind chopping round from NE to SW. The change was heralded in by vivid lightning wich was succeeded by rains and heavy squalls, which have prevailed more or less ever since. ODD FELLOWS’ BALL – The tenth annual ball of the East Medina Lodge took place at the Star Inn, on Thursday evening. The attendance was numerous and respectable. The room was tastefully fitted up with evergreens, banners, &c., and dancing was kept up with great spirit to the strains of the Ryde Quadrille Band until an early hour. The refreshments provided by Mr and Mrs Elkins were liberal, and gave great satisfaction. THE MAIL – The London mail was not delivered in Ryde on Sunday last until the afternoon. We understand the cause of the delay arose from the packet leaving Southampton without it, and the captain not discovering his mistake until after his arrival at Cowes. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

27 May, 2013View
Isle of Wight Observer – August 20, 1887

SPORTS OFF THE PIER, YESTERDAY Lady canoeists’ disappointment Yesterday afternoon a series of aquatic sports took place off the Pier in the presence of a large number of spectators. The several events were organised by Mr Grace and a sub-committee of the Amusements Committee. The Volunteer and Town Band, under Signor D’Anna performed a programme of music. The weather was beautifully fine, but a rather strong breeze was blowing, which prevented a ladies’ canoe race taking place. The first event was walking the greasy pole for a leg of mutton. There were three competitors – Wetherick,  Eldridge, and Saunders, the last-named winning. The second event was a race for single-handed skiffs.1 Arrow (H Hunt). 2 Little Vixen (Geo. Wheeler) 3 Rose (H Wheeler) 4 Beatrice (C Blake) 5 Nellie (W Jenkins) 6 Ada (Charles Harding). The race was won easily. The course was round a mark boat off Steephill Cove, round another boat on the east side of the Pier, finishing at the Pier. C Saunders, the duck in the hunt which followed,  was captured by Wetherick,  Eldridge, Hunt and Tharle, his pursuers. Next cam a pair-oared skiff race, won by the Oliver (C Blake and H Wheeler), the only other boat going being the Beatrice (G Wheeler and H Hunt). Another greasy pole contest and duck hunt followed. Mr F Hardley acted as starter and Mr Galley as judge. Return to main Leisure …

11 February, 2023View
Isle of Wight Observer – August 29, 1874

ROYAL PATRONAGE – On Saturday last, Mr Henry Knight, of the Royal Victoria Arcade, photographer, attended The Battery, Sandown, by command, and succeeded in producing some splendid likenesses of their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Princess of Germany. Mr Knight has also been honoured with the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen. LOST AND FOUND – We were sorry to hear that Mr J W Fisher, superintendent of the Ryde Pier, while in the act of showing a lady friend the handsome breast pin presented to him by the Crown Prince of Germany, accidently let it slip into the sea through one of the appertures on the pier. On Friday morning, however, the treasure was recovered by a professional diver, who, after making several unsuccesful dips, fortunately secured the lost gift and restored it to its owner. The  image shows the arrival of the Crown Prince and Princess on Ryde pier, in 1874. Return to Royal Victoria Arcade page Return to 1870s pier …

8 April, 2023View
Isle of Wight Observer August 28, 1858

PROMENADE AT WESTFIELD GARDENS Last week we had the pleasure of recording a great gathering of the aristocracy in these grounds, and this week we have even more pleasure in stating that on Sunday evening the grounds were again thrown open by Sir Augustus Clifford to the plebians. This is the second time in the present year that this kind consideration has been carried into effect, and Sir Augustus has the hearty thanks of the town for it. The weather was so delightful, and the warm relish manifested by the promenaders for the beautiful object in Nature and Art by which they were surrounded, appeared to our eyes in strong contrast to the insipidity shewn by the representatives of the Upper Ten Thousand on the previous week. One thing was, however, anything but complimentary to the People; namely, the necessity – gained from former experience – which existed for placing placards about with the admonitory words “You are requested not to touch the flowers.” The company, on the occasion was very numerous, and in their “Sunday best” looked very respectable; and what is better than all, they demeaned themselves with the greatest propriety and decorum. The worthy baronet’s liberal example is worthy of imitation; as what has a greater tendency to soften the asperity of classes than kindness from one to another? THE PIER PROMENADE This delightful marine retreat has had great musical attraction during the season. On Monday and Friday evenings the town band plays, but the “star” is on Wednesday afternoons, when the band of the 15th Regiment plays, under the baton of Mr R Eckner. Last Wednesday we paid a visit to the scene, and must say we were delighted; indeed, we never heard the selection from “Il Trovatore” performed so well. The following was the programme:-Festo March from Tannhauser………………………WagnerOverture La Figlia du Regimento………………….DonizettiLa Fete des Lilas Quadrille…………………………..LamotteSelection from Il Trovatore……………………………….VerdiThe Village Festival Valse………………………………EcknerLucia di Lammermoor (cornet solo)                                                        Arranged by EcknerCanadian Sleigh Valse………………Arranged by AndrewsGalup Le Postillon…………………………………………LyabelNotwithstanding that it blew a “six knot breeze”, there was a great number of beauty and fashion ashore, and afloat there were four line-of-battle ships underway, close hauled, under double-reefed topsails, sailing from the Spit to the Channel. Alongshore, the pupils of the Ryde Naval School were exercising in the surf, and learning the way to get aground, which by-the-bye, Royal captains learn soon enough in actual life. By the kind permission of the officers, this regimental band will play on the pier every Wednesday afternoon, until further notice. Return to The Fashionable Society …

11 February, 2023View
Isle of Wight Observer December 29, 1855

General news… CHRISTMAS EVE – Midnight mass was celebrated on the above occasion in Saint Marie’s church, Ryde. The edifice was crowded. GAS WORKS – We have received the most strong complaints relative to the total absence of gas in the town during the Christmas holidays, and great inconveniences certainly arose from the circumstance. As there were so many strangers moving about in utter darkness, and our streets in so many places were blocked where public works were going on, it is surprising that no accidents occurred. The cause of this absence of gas was, that some alterations were going on at the works, and the festivities of Christmas interfered with the duties of the men employed upon them. WATER WORKS – One of the main pipes bursted (sic) at Ashey again this week, to repair which necessitated the supply being stopped off for two days; why it should have taken half the time to repair such a trivial damage is to us inexplicable, but it must be remembered that this is the first casualty which has had to be attended to by the turncock, under whose charge that department is now placed. THE WEATHER – After several weeks of almost unexampled cold weather, especially before Christmas, it suddenly broked up on Saturday night; the wind chopping round from NE to SW. The change was heralded in by vivid lightning wich was succeeded by rains and heavy squalls, which have prevailed more or less ever since. ODD FELLOWS’ BALL – The tenth annual ball of the East Medina Lodge took place at the Star Inn, on Thursday evening. The attendance was numerous and respectable. The room was tastefully fitted up with evergreens, banners, &c., and dancing was kept up with great spirit to the strains of the Ryde Quadrille Band until an early hour. The refreshments provided by Mr and Mrs Elkins were liberal, and gave great satisfaction. THE MAIL – The London mail was not delivered in Ryde on Sunday last until the afternoon. We understand the cause of the delay arose from the packet leaving Southampton without it, and the captain not discovering his mistake until after his arrival at Cowes. Return to 1850s Odds and Ends …

25 March, 2023View
Isle of Wight Observer January 8, 1887

Miss Brigstocke treats the choirboys…. AN AGREEABLE REUNION – Ryde society is waking up. Quite a number of reunions have taken place lately, and on Monday the Mayor gave the second of a series of parties in the Town Hall. These can best be described as “garden parties indoors”. The Volunteer Band played a nice selection of music during the afternoon, and those who attended amused themselves by playing Badminton and other games. Light refreshments were provided. CHOIR TREAT – Miss Brigstocke, with her usual kindness invited the junior members of the choir of St Thomas’ Church to tea at Stone Pitts. some 18 or 20 of the lads assembled there on Friday evening, and heartily enjoyed the meat tea which was so thoughtfully provided. After tea a Christmas tree, loaded with presents, was stripped. The Rev H Jones, curate of St Thomas’, presented, on behalf of Miss Brigstocke, those boys who had made the largest number of attendances during the year, with useful books &c. A very enjoyable evening was spent by all who attended, and Miss Brigstocke was most heartily greeted on all sides with many good wishes for that “Happy New Year”, which those who try to make others happy are tolerably certain to secure. Miss Brigstocke’s kindness was repaid by the choirboys’ grafitti in the church stalls! Return to 1880s Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
Isle of Wight Observer July 1855

RYDE NEWS DOVER STREET IMPROVEMENT (?) – We had occasion a few weeks ago to laud what we then considered the great improvement the Commissioners were making in Dover-street, by reducing the hill and making the access to the Esplanade more easy. Since that time they have altogether altered their plan, and the pavement on the west side of the street is to remain nearly as high as it was before, and the road is to be approached by a flight of steps placed on the outside of the curb! A more dexterous scheme for endangering life and limb could not in our opinion have been conceived, and we should scarcely have supposed it possible to have found any persons wild enough to have adopted it. Setting aside all opinion as to the ugliness of the alteration, we simply protest against it as being dangerous; and would suggest that if there must be a raised foot path, there should be an iron railing outside of it. We have heard more dissatisfaction expressed with regard to this affair, than upon any other local question for some time past, but we do not for one minute pretend to say to whom the honour of the innovation is due; whoever they are, they should be held responsible for all accidents accruing from it. HOURS OF BUSINESS – We are sorry to see another retrograde movement made in this town in prolonging the hours of business by keeping shops open until nine o’ clock in the evening. The plea for this absurdity is, that the streets look dull when the shops are closed, and it is not for a minute pretended that any more business will be done; so that there appears to  be more self-abnegation in tradesmen than they get credit for, and a very large class of assistants are to be fried in gas to enable the idle to have an hour’s extra gazing into shops. This is slightly different to what appeared in the Isle of Wight Observer on May 19th, 1855… PUBLIC WORKSAll the works of the town are satisfactorily progressing and many minor improvements are being carried out. The pavement on the south side of the Strand is being completed; the hill in Dover-street is lowered so that the approach to the Esplanade will be gradual; and tenders are invited for making roads in Trinity-street, Belvidere-street, and Dark-lane; also for sewers in Princes-street. When all completed, Ryde will be vastly improved. The Commissioners have advertised for another loan of £15000 to enable them to discharge their liabilities. Return to Ryde Streets …

18 February, 2023View
Isle of Wight Observer October 9, 1858

LORD PALMERSTON IN RYDE – On Tuesday evening last, about 6 o’clock, as we were on the pier, we were most agreeably surprised to find the arrival of Lord Palmerston, England’s Great Statesman and ex-Premier, who came over from Broadlands, Hants, on a visit, with Lady Palmerston, for a few days to Sir Augustus Clifford, bart., at Westfield, Ryde. His luggage was marked simply, “P”, the initial of a name which has often made despots to tremble, and whose feats in diplomacy are unparalleled by any living man. His lordship, though hale, shews signs of age, more specially by his stooping gait, but there are no indications of decrepidness usually found in a man of his age. On Wednesday his lordship and Sir Augustus took exercise on horseback. On Thursday, his lordship, accompanied by Sir Augustus and Miss Clifford, visited the Museum in Melville-street; with the contents of which he expressed himself much pleased, and he considered its establishment was an excellent feature in the town. Mr Barrow acted as cicerone. Lord and Lady Palmerston left Westfield for Broadlands on Thursday afternoon. Vice Admiral Sir Augustus Clifford, bart., will patronise the performances at the Theatre to-morrow (Saturday) evening, when we anticipate that the dress circle will present a gay appearance. Should the weather be favourable, the grounds of Westfield will be open for the third and last time this season on Sunday, from 3 to 6, we believe in honour of Lord Palmerston’s visit. SOIREE – A tea meeting and soiree took place at the Victoria-rooms on Monday evening last, for the goodly purpose of aiding the funds for building the school rooms adjoining the Independant Chapel, that is, for completing the original design of the architect, Mr Henry Hellyer. The attendance was more numerous and respectable than usual on such occasions, and the amount netted was liberal. Return to The Fashionable Society …

5 November, 2022View
ISLE OF WIGHT RAILWAY

Opposition and support – 1852 Isle of Wight Observer December 18, 1852 THE LAND, THE RAIL, AND THE PRESSSome of the landholders have taken the following steps to oppose the introduction of Railways into the Isle of Wight:- PUBLIC MEETINGS IN FAVOUR OF THE RAILWe have given the extended reports of the Public Meetings called by the Directors of the Isle of Wight Railways, to ascertain the feelings of all classes of society with regard to that scheme; and the results are, overwhelming majorities in favour of the undertaking. We should have been absolutely puzzled, if the contrary circumstances had occurred; as, apart from considerations of a personal nature (which ought to be set aside) it is absolutely impossible to raise a single valid objection to the introduction of Railways into the Isle of Wight. We are, nevertheless, aware that objections founded upon personal interest or predilections are most obstinately maintained, and most difficult to remove; and that the gentlemen who are opposed to the project will view these majorities as not decisive of the question, and will vainly attempt to defeat the realisation of the scheme. The meeting at Newport was stormy, and more angry feeling was displayed than the occasion demanded; but it can be palliated by a consideration that a rival project – the deepening of the River – heated the tempers of some, and the use of personalities that of others. At Ryde strong language, without any direct provocation, was employed by one speaker, who at once retracted it, and apologised: another used more sarcasm than good advocacy required, but unanimity prevailed. At Ventnor, Sir Raymond Jarvis, Bart., uttered these liberal and enlightened sentiments, –“It has been used as an argument against the Rail that the town would be inundated with holiday-keeping members of the working classes; he (Sir Raymond) thought that if such were the case it would be more an advantage than otherwise, as, thanks to the improved education of the working classes of late years, the members of that important class of the community know perfectly well how to conduct themselves.”At Cowes, too, the result was unanimous in favour of Rail. This terminates the meetings for the present; a copy of the Petition to Parliament will be found in another column, and copies lie for signature at Ryde, Newport, Cowes, and Ventnor. Return to 1850s Railway page Return to main Railway …

19 November, 2022View
Isle of Wight Railway

Taken from the book: Ryde Isle of Wight Its Sports and Attractions: By means of the Isle of Wight Railway, the Town of Ryde is placed in direct communication with the other beautiful pleasure resorts of Bembridge, Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor, also with Brading and Wroxall. A frequent and well-appointed service is maintained. CHEAP DAY RETURN TICKETS ARE ISSUED TO ALL STATIONS.Also, during the Season,WEEKLY TOURIST TICKETS, available for seven days at the following low fares:1st CLASS……………7/62nd CLASS………….5/6 These Cheap Weekly Tickets have been brought into operation specially for Tourists, and will be found a most convenient means of visiting the various Towns. Arreton, Newport and Carisbrooke, (with its historical Castle) can be reached from Ryde by taking train to Sandown Junction and thence proceeding by the Central Railway. To reach St Lawrence and Blackgang visitors should take train to Ventnor and there rejoin the Coach which runs through the beautiful Undercliff. H K Day Secretary and Manager. General Offices, Sandown. Return to homepage Return to Leisure in the 1900s …

4 November, 2023View
Isle of Wight Times – Firefighting!

THE FIRE ESCAPE August 11 1864 On Friday evening last this admirable invention for the saving of human life from fire was brought out for practice at the Town-hall. The ladders were run out their full length, which reached easily to the top of the hall. Bucket, the conductor, was the first to ascend, getting out on the top, and descending through the inside of the escape with much dexterity; several of the other men did the same. This will give the inhabitants hopes, if any calamity by fire should befall them, that help will be quickly at hand. FIRE – February 19 1868 We have no desire to excite needless alarm, or to imagine that any such things as Fenians are concealed amongst the peaceful cultivators of cabbages and turnips in that quiet locality, Newport Road. Nevertheless, it is the serious complaint of one of the most respected inhabitants of the vicinity, that not less than three times in one week, a pig-sty has been in flames, with scarcely anyone but the owner noticing the fact. May not this, possibly, have something to do with the recent conflagration of the pretty thatch at the top of West Street, and how does it occur? This neighbourhood, at least, is in no very safe state. When an accident has once occurred, it is somewhat late to inquire into the cause. Isle of Wight Observer September 25, 1852 – Fire! Fire! Isle of Wight Observer October 29 1853 – Fire in Brigstocke Terrace Isle of Wight Observer March 13 1858 – Mercury Office Fire, Cross-street Isle of Wight Observer July 16 1859 – Brookfield fire Isle of Wight Observer – September 1860 – Fire in George Street Isle of Wight Observer January 9 1864 – The Fire Brigade Isle of Wight Observer April 29 1865 – Fire Escape practice Times February 1868 – St Thomas’ Church and Mr James’ shed on fire Isle of Wight Observer January 22 1870 – Fire in Union Road Isle of Wight Observer July 3, 1875 – Firefighting practice with the hose and reel Isle of Wight Observer April 27 1889 – Pier Hotel fire Return to 1850s Odds and Ends Return to 1860s Odds and Ends Appley Towers fire – …

25 February, 2023View
Isle of Wight Times May 8, 1867

Incivility of hotel ‘boots’ at Ryde Hotels Dr Edward Young, writing from Steynings, Salisbury, complains bitterly of the treatment he received from the “boots” of one of the Ryde hotels a day or two ago. It appears that he is an invalid, and that he had been staying with his little son at one of our hotels. Having lunched and paid his bill, he proposed crossing over to Southampton by 3.40 boat on his way home. His only luggage was small portmanteau, which the “boots” carried for him to the end of the pier. For this service the doctor tendered the man 6d., whereupon he was assialed with “a violent torrent of abuse”. The coin, was not only indignantly refused, but “boots” violently snatched the portmanteau out of the invalid’s hand, and “marched off with it up the pier again.” Dr Young adds: “I am bound to say that the landlord did express his regret, and stated to me his intention of dismissing his servant, which I hope, for the credit of his establishment, he will do. As it was I lost the boat, and consequently the train to Salisbury.” If this be an accurate account of what really occurred, it is much to be regretted that steps could not have been taken to bring the offending “boots” before the magistrate for the assault. Cases of incivility, or of extortionate charges, are not often to be met with in the Ryde hotels. Indeed, most visitors could, we apprehend, bear us out in the statement, that there are few watering places throughout the country where better hotel accommodation or more attention to the comfort and convenience of visitors is to be found than in Ryde. Return to Hotels …

5 November, 2022View
Issues for Ryde Town Council – 1928

Isle of Wight Times February 16, 1928 A new operatic society for Ryde – 1928 Sunday Rehearsals – Councillor Hayden asked the Chairman of the Parks and Amusements Committee if it was true that a rehearsal took place in the Eastern Pavilion on the Sunday evening preceding the performances of the New Ryde Operatic Society and whether it was done with the knowledge of the committee. He also asked whether the chairman was responsible for the  boards placed round the Gardens upon which had been pasted a political party’s bills? Councillor Chiverton, the Chairman, replied that it was quite news to him so far as the rehearsal was concerned and the second question also. No member of the Council would suggest they would allow political bills to appear there (hear hear). The Mayor said that following on the second question the Town Clerk received a complaint about the posters and he instructed him to remove them or cover them over as it was not a thing they would allow there (hear hear). Putting Green – Councillor Green asked if the committee proposed to provide a shelter for ladies and children who patronised their popular Putting Green this summer, and if not, why not? The Mayor said they must cut their coat according to their cloth and personally he thought that they had gone as far as they could in spending money during the last few years (hear hear). He would however, bring it before the committee to discuss, but he considered they should mark time for a little while so as to save money and reduce the rates if possible (hear hear). Parking Regulations – Councillor Pollard asked the chairman of the General Purposes Committee whether regulations concerning the parking of motor cars could be amended so that they were parked side by side or at an angle to the kerb and whether when they were parked was it absolutely necessary to keep the lights on. Alderman Blackall said it was a matter for the police, but he thought the suggestion in regard to the manner of parking was a good one especially in respect to those outside the Town Hall. Return to …

11 February, 2023View
IW Rifle Volunteers

The IW Volunteers inspections – 1884 Isle of Wight Observer June 28, 1884 1st Isle of Wight Rifle VolunteersA  AND B (RYDE) COMPANIESOrders for the ensuing week – 1.In compliance with Battalion Orders, the detachment will parade on Saturday, at 4.45pm, in full dress, with helmets. The band will attend. Members must take their Glengarries into camp. – 2. The fatigue party, cooks, pioneers, and officers’ servants will parade at the Town Hall on Saturday, at 8.30 am. – 3. The annual inspection will take place on Friday, 4th July. Members are reminded that, if absent from the inspection, without leave in writing having been previously obtained, they become non-efficient, no matter how many drills they have performed during the year. Printed forms of application can be obtained from the Instructor. – 4. Members going into camp on Thursday afternoon will parade at the Armoury at 3.15pm sharp. Members going into camp on Friday morning will parade at the Armoury at 8.45am sharp.F Dashwood, Capt., Comdg. Detachment. Return to Military …

19 November, 2022View
January opening hours

Unfortunately Ryde District Heritage Centre will not be open on Saturday, January 4, due to volunteer illness. Normal opening hours during the Winter months are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, between 11am and 4pm. This will also affect the updating of the homepage, which will be addressed as soon as possible. Please note the January quiz will take place at 7pm in Yelf’s Hotel, on Thursday, January 30, the last Thursday of the month. Historic Ryde Society is also experiencing some flood damage in the Heritage Centre, so may need to close at short notice, whilst the challenging weather continues. If in any doubt about visiting the Centre, please call 01983 717435 during opening hours. Normal service will hopefully be resumed as soon as possible, and in the meantime Historic Ryde Society apologises for any inconvenience caused. Return to …

16 December, 2023View
Jo Cooper – Isle of Memories

Jo Cooper, an islander, has presented snapshots of a childhood on the Isle of Wight on the 1950s and 1960s to an audiance of 28 people on Wednesday, 8th March at the Yelf’s Hotel. The book “Isle of Memories” can be bought from Isle of Wight County Press Shop, …

16 December, 2023View
John I know a little maid by Florence Clarke

John I know a little maid,And indeed I am afraidThat her bonny laughing faceAnd her figure full of graceCheeks so red and hair of goldStay! I can a tale unfold.How thou loved this little maidTho’ with thy fond heart she’s played.Yet Oh! foolish, foolish manThat but helps the flame to fan.Men must follow if we flySays love with a laughing eye.So she scorned your loving glancesLed you many pretty dances,In the net you fell, Oh! dear,I would warn you to beware. Moral If bright lasses you may seeHave the courage swift to flee,Ere the truant with his dartPierce and lacerate your heart. Return to Florence’s …

11 March, 2023View
Join Ryde Historic Society

20 May, 2022View
Kenneth Hicks – An Island Legacy

Kenneth Hicks, the President of the Isle of Wight Branch of Historical Association and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, has given a very informative presentation at Yelf’s Hotel on 12th April’s monthly talk. Since his retirement he has studied the work of the Brannon family and collected a large number of their original engravings. Kenneth has delighted the HRS members and guests by presenting his book “An Island Legacy”, which provides a comprehensive record of Island towns, villages, land and seascapes, historic buildings and coastal views over a period of two hundred years, during which the Island has changed considerably. The book contains over one hundred and thirty original Brannon family engravings, many of which have not been seen before, with an equal number of modern coloured photographs taken from virtually the same locations. The book “An Island Legacy” can be ordered at the Ryde District Heritage …

16 December, 2023View
King Alfonso Gun club winner

The King and Queen of Spain landed at East Cowes from their yacht the Giralda yesterday morning, and, entering their motor-car, proceeded to West Cowes, to do some shopping. Later His Majesty visited the Isle of Wight Gun Club. On the occasion of his stay in the island in May last King Alfonso shot at the Gun Club with considerable success as a visitor, and succeeded in winning one sweepstake and dividing another. After the meeting he expressed a desire to become a member, and promised that when he returned in August he would take part in a competition. Accordingly His Majesty motored from Osborne Cottage to the shooting ground, which is situated in a most picturesque spot at Ashey, near Ryde, and spent the afternoon contesting for a handsome cup, which was shot for by members of the club in open competition, without handicap. The shooting was extremely keen, and towards the end became most exciting. The King was accompanied by Princes Leopold and Maurice of Battenberg, and attended by Mr Thomas Cochrane, Deputy-Governor of the Isle of Wight, whilst amongst those present were Lady Adela Cochrane, Mrs Howard Brooke, Mrs Basil Duncombe, Mrs Hamilton, Mrs Heckstall-Smith, Mrs Rhodes, Mrs Blair Cochrane, Miss Alexander, and a number of members of the club. It was a windy afternoon, and the strong breeze made the discs, or, as they are commonly called, “Clay pigeons” fly in a very difficult manner. The excellence of the King of Spain’s shooting – for his Majesty won the cup by two-thirds from a field of seventeen shooters – will be realised from the score, and no doubt appreciated by those who are versed in the art of inanimate bird-shooting as practised with the strongest treble traps throwing at unknown angles. His Majesty, with a score of eight, tied with three other competitors. The quartette shot off the tie as follows: The King of Spain (winner of cup)   8Captain Thornton Scovell                6Colonel Howard Brooke                   4Mr Guy Mitchison                             2 King Alfonso, who broke most of his birds very clean with his first barrel, therefore won the cup, which was presented to him by Mrs Howard Brooke, wife of the master of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds, and his Majesty expressed himself much pleased with the success of the afternoon’s sport. Princess Henry of Battenberg gave a farewell dinner party in the evening, the guests including the King and Queen of Spain, and Prince and Princess Alexander of Teck, who had arrived at Osborne Cottage earlier in the day. King Alfonso and Queen Victoria leave for Spain after lunch today. Return to Royals in Ryde in the 20th century …

8 April, 2023View
Lady canoeists’ disappointment

Isle of Wight Observer – August 20, 1887 SPORTS OFF THE PIER, YESTERDAY Lady canoeists’ disappointment Yesterday afternoon a series of aquatic sports took place off the Pier in the presence of a large number of spectators. The several events were organised by Mr Grace and a sub-committee of the Amusements Committee. The Volunteer and Town Band, under Signor D’Anna performed a programme of music. The weather was beautifully fine, but a rather strong breeze was blowing, which prevented a ladies’ canoe race taking place. The first event was walking the greasy pole for a leg of mutton. There were three competitors – Wetherick,  Eldridge, and Saunders, the last-named winning. The second event was a race for single-handed skiffs.1 Arrow (H Hunt). 2 Little Vixen (Geo. Wheeler) 3 Rose (H Wheeler) 4 Beatrice (C Blake) 5 Nellie (W Jenkins) 6 Ada (Charles Harding). The race was won easily. The course was round a mark boat off Steephill Cove, round another boat on the east side of the Pier, finishing at the Pier. C Saunders, the duck in the hunt which followed,  was captured by Wetherick,  Eldridge, Hunt and Tharle, his pursuers. Next cam a pair-oared skiff race, won by the Oliver (C Blake and H Wheeler), the only other boat going being the Beatrice (G Wheeler and H Hunt). Another greasy pole contest and duck hunt followed. Mr F Hardley acted as starter and Mr Galley as judge. Return to main Leisure …

3 May, 2013View
Lady canoeists’ disappointment

Isle of Wight Observer – August 20, 1887 SPORTS OFF THE PIER, YESTERDAY Lady canoeists’ disappointment Yesterday afternoon a series of aquatic sports took place off the Pier in the presence of a large number of spectators. The several events were organised by Mr Grace and a sub-committee of the Amusements Committee. The Volunteer and Town Band, under Signor D’Anna performed a programme of music. The weather was beautifully fine, but a rather strong breeze was blowing, which prevented a ladies’ canoe race taking place. The first event was walking the greasy pole for a leg of mutton. There were three competitors – Wetherick,  Eldridge, and Saunders, the last-named winning. The second event was a race for single-handed skiffs.1 Arrow (H Hunt). 2 Little Vixen (Geo. Wheeler) 3 Rose (H Wheeler) 4 Beatrice (C Blake) 5 Nellie (W Jenkins) 6 Ada (Charles Harding). The race was won easily. The course was round a mark boat off Steephill Cove, round another boat on the east side of the Pier, finishing at the Pier. C Saunders, the duck in the hunt which followed,  was captured by Wetherick,  Eldridge, Hunt and Tharle, his pursuers. Next cam a pair-oared skiff race, won by the Oliver (C Blake and H Wheeler), the only other boat going being the Beatrice (G Wheeler and H Hunt). Another greasy pole contest and duck hunt followed. Mr F Hardley acted as starter and Mr Galley as judge. Return to main Leisure …

23 September, 2023View
Latest News

11 May, 2022View
Leisure in the 1870s

Mrs Scott Siddons, Diorama of Scotland, Miss Nannie Praeger 1874 Matinee  Dansante, Skating Rink 1875 entertainment The skating craze 1876 Return to main Leisure …

3 December, 2022View
Leisure in the 1900s

A book entitled ‘Ryde Isle of Wight – its sports and attractions’, gives a snapshot of everything on offer at the beginning of the 20th century. Whilst no author is named, all the photographs were taken by Messrs Hughes and Mullins, of Regina House, 60 Union Street, Ryde. ‘Ryde, the largest town in the Isle of Wight, offers most unique attractions to all lovers of sport, and, to sportsmen especially. It improves upon acquaintance, although its appearance from the sea, as it greets the eye of the approaching visitor, is one of infinite charm. ‘Few places give sportsmen so many and varied opportunities of gratifying their tastes. Its beautiful situation on the Solent brings it within easy reach of London and makes it unrivalled for witnessing the chief yachting events of the year, since, here alone can the pretty vessels be followed the whole way round the longest courses, even with the naked eye. This, and the sheltered character of its waters, also explain the origin and extreme popularity in the neighbourhood of the tiny craft known as the Solent classes. ‘The town boasts of two Rowing Clubs equipped with a splendid fleet; the Pier furnishes advantages for fishing, of which opportunity is largely taken, and bathing facilities are provided by the Pier Company on Victoria Pier and by the Corporation at a public bathing stage. ‘Those whose predilections run in the direction of land, rather than of water sports, must indeed be hard to please if they cannot find amusements to their liking. Within an easy distance, there are no less than three Golf Links. The IW Gun Club, which has a large and influential membership, holds meetings weekly on its ground, which adjoins the Ashey Station of the IW Central Railway Company, and offers a rich array of valuable prizes. On the other side of the railway line is the Race Course on which the IW Hunt and the Castle Club hold meetings every year. The former provides good hunting sport during the season. The Ryde Cricket Club more than holds its own with the neighbouring Island and Mainland Clubs. The same may be said with greater truth of the Football Club. Cycling appeals to a large number of enthusiasts and there is an excellent public track around the prettily arranged Canoe Lake, the surface of which is thickly dotted with sailing and rowing boats and canoes, as well as by many model yachts. Round this track the Vectis Cycling Club has a race meeting every year which draws good entries and crowds of spectators. ‘Visitors are particularly well catered for in the matter of coaches which make circular tours of the chief points of attraction in the Island daily. The excellence of the vehicles and their cattle is fostered by an annual Horse ad Carriage Show held in the town. ‘In addition to its primary function, the promotion of yachting, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club likewise fills a large place as a social centre in the town, its annual Ball and Garden Party being two of the most popular gatherings of the kind in the year. Ryde further possesses a club which bears the name of the town, occupying handsome new premises of its own. The commodious Town Hall contains a large public room in which many successful balls are held, and not far removed therefrom is the pretty little Theatre, the only one on the Island, in which many good companies are seen. The Churches of the place are all beautiful edifices, and the services suit all creeds and all religious tastes. ‘In short, to find a town which so attracts and retains one’s interest as does Ryde, the sportsmen and the pleasure seeker in general must go very far afield, and then it is not improbable that he will fail in his search for its compeer.’ Return to homepage. Other pages from this book can be found on the links below. The Town Hall The Isle of Wight Hunt Bathing at Priory Bay The Coaches of Ryde Ryde Pier The Royal Victoria Yacht Club The Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club The Isle of Wight Gun Club Ashey Race Course Vectis Cycling Club Ryde Rowing Club Ryde Golf Club Ryde Football and Cricket Clubs Esplanade Gardens and Canoe Lake Ryde Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club The Ryde Club and Theatre Royal The Isle of Wight College Ryde Churches  The Isle of Wight Central Railway Isle of Wight …

21 October, 2023View
Leisure in the 1900s

A book entitled ‘Ryde Isle of Wight – its sports and attractions’, gives a snapshot of everything on offer at the beginning of the 20th century. Whilst no author is named, all the photographs were taken by Messrs Hughes and Mullins, of Regina House, 60 Union Street, Ryde. ‘Ryde, the largest town in the Isle of Wight, offers most unique attractions to all lovers of sport, and, to sportsmen especially. It improves upon acquaintance, although its appearance from the sea, as it greets the eye of the approaching visitor, is one of infinite charm. ‘Few places give sportsmen so many and varied opportunities of gratifying their tastes. Its beautiful situation on the Solent brings it within easy reach of London and makes it unrivalled for witnessing the chief yachting events of the year, since, here alone can the pretty vessels be followed the whole way round the longest courses, even with the naked eye. This, and the sheltered character of its waters, also explain the origin and extreme popularity in the neighbourhood of the tiny craft known as the Solent classes. ‘The town boasts of two Rowing Clubs equipped with a splendid fleet; the Pier furnishes advantages for fishing, of which opportunity is largely taken, and bathing facilities are provided by the Pier Company on Victoria Pier and by the Corporation at a public bathing stage. ‘Those whose predilections run in the direction of land, rather than of water sports, must indeed be hard to please if they cannot find amusements to their liking. Within an easy distance, there are no less than three Golf Links. The IW Gun Club, which has a large and influential membership, holds meetings weekly on its ground, which adjoins the Ashey Station of the IW Central Railway Company, and offers a rich array of valuable prizes. On the other side of the railway line is the Race Course on which the IW Hunt and the Castle Club hold meetings every year. The former provides good hunting sport during the season. The Ryde Cricket Club more than holds its own with the neighbouring Island and Mainland Clubs. The same may be said with greater truth of the Football Club. Cycling appeals to a large number of enthusiasts and there is an excellent public track around the prettily arranged Canoe Lake, the surface of which is thickly dotted with sailing and rowing boats and canoes, as well as by many model yachts. Round this track the Vectis Cycling Club has a race meeting every year which draws good entries and crowds of spectators. ‘Visitors are particularly well catered for in the matter of coaches which make circular tours of the chief points of attraction in the Island daily. The excellence of the vehicles and their cattle is fostered by an annual Horse ad Carriage Show held in the town. ‘In addition to its primary function, the promotion of yachting, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club likewise fills a large place as a social centre in the town, its annual Ball and Garden Party being two of the most popular gatherings of the kind in the year. Ryde further possesses a club which bears the name of the town, occupying handsome new premises of its own. The commodious Town Hall contains a large public room in which many successful balls are held, and not far removed therefrom is the pretty little Theatre, the only one on the Island, in which many good companies are seen. The Churches of the place are all beautiful edifices, and the services suit all creeds and all religious tastes. ‘In short, to find a town which so attracts and retains one’s interest as does Ryde, the sportsmen and the pleasure seeker in general must go very far afield, and then it is not improbable that he will fail in his search for its compeer.’ Return to homepage. Other pages from this book can be found on the links below. The Town Hall The Isle of Wight Hunt Bathing at Priory Bay The Coaches of Ryde Ryde Pier The Royal Victoria Yacht Club The Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club The Isle of Wight Gun Club Ashey Race Course Vectis Cycling Club Ryde Rowing Club Ryde Golf Club Ryde Football and Cricket Clubs Esplanade Gardens and Canoe Lake Ryde Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club The Ryde Club and Theatre Royal The Isle of Wight College Ryde Churches  The Isle of Wight Central Railw