Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

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

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

…..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.


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.


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

These Rooms are OPEN until further notice
On 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.


In Her Histrionic Readings
(Bronze and Silver Medalist, Royal Academy of Music, London.)
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.

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