Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 30 November 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

Times August 1864


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.”


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.


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 unscathed.