Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 28 December 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.   The Museum of Ryde will be closed from 24th December 2023 to 4th February 2024. We are opening Monday, 5th February 2024. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


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.

Isle of Wight Observer January 8, 1887

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! 

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:

January 5th, 1887
Some promising Lots will be offered to the Public.
Goods on view during the Evening.

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”.

Isle of Wight Observer – August 20, 1887


Yesterday afternoon a seried 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.