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!

Ryde Treasures

A priceless treasure handed down through the years is the solid silver trowel used to lay the foundation Stone of Ryde Town Hall and Market House. This was given to the East Medina Lodge no 175 by Brother G Rendall, PM PPSGW, on January 21, 1880. It has been loaned to Historic Ryde Society by the Lodge and is now on display in Ryde District Heritage Centre.

The trowel was used twice – to lay the Foundation Stone in 1830, and the Copestone in 1831. To read an extract from the Freemasons’ report of these Ceremonies, click here. The full transcription is as follows:
The First Stone of Ryde Town Hall and Market House was laid with this Trowel on Friday the 14th of May 1830 by John Lind of Westmont Esq MD attended by the Building Committee
Thomas Robert Brigstocke
William Hughes Hughes
William Houghton Banks
Hastings Elwin
James Dempster
and their Brother Commissioners
assisted by the Members of the several Lodges of the Ancient & Honorable
Fraternity of Freemasons in the Isle of Wight
James Sanderson Architect
William Tapler Clerk of the Works
Thomas Dashwood Builder

The Cope Stone of Ryde Town Hall &
Market House was fix’d with this Trowel
on Wednesday,
the 1st of June 1831 by
William Collier Francis Gloster Sheridan
acting WM of the East Medina Lodge
of Truth and Friendship no 291
in the presence of the
Right Honble Chas Anderson Pelham
Lord Yarborough PGM
Daniel Hale PM
Thomas Dashwood SW
David Newberry
assisted by the Worshipful Masters Officers
brethren of the Lodges in the Isle of
Wight viz.
West Medina no 48
Albany Lodge, No 249 Vectis Lodge no 568 +also of the Phoenix Lodge no 484 Portsmouth
Lodge of Harmony no 575 Gosport
and a numerous Assembly of Brethren
from other Lodges attended by the Building Committee.
W Hughes Hughes Esq MP Chairman
Thomas Robert Brigstocke
William Houghton Banks
Hastings Elwin
James Dempster
and their Brother Commissioners

The silver hallmark denotes the trowel was made in London in 1829.

Many of the names which appear on the trowel are people who had a long association with Ryde.  The Brigstocke family were major benefactors in the town and their story is well documented. Most of them are buried in the vaults beneath St Thomas’ Church. William Houghton Banks was the person who founded the Royal Victoria Arcade in Union Street, and also Vernon Square. He was an apothecary who lived in Morpeth House, Union Street. His father, also William, had been a bookseller in the town. Both Williams were Navy Surgeons during their lifetimes. James Sanderson also designed Brigstocke Terrace and St Thomas’ Church.  Thomas Dashwood came from Whippingham, and built many houses in Ryde, including most of the buildings in The Strand. He also built St Catherine’s Lighthouse. William Hughes Hughes lived in Bellevue House. One of his daughters married into the Bloxam family, who lived in Dover House, The Strand. Gloster Sheridan owned Sheridan’s Hotel in Union Street, in the building currently occupied by Ladbrokes. In the mid 1830s he left his older children with their grandparents in Newport, and moved to Salford with his wife and youngest child, where he became Governor of Salford Workhouse. Only two months after the 1841 census, Gloster died, leaving his wife heavily pregnant, and with a six year old child, in the North of England, far from her family. His posthumous son was baptised in Newport the following year. Daniel Hale owned the Royal Pier Hotel.

Proposed plan for Ryde Esplanade 1846

More Treasures from Ryde

Ryde’s new Mayoral regalia

Hill’s Stores Treasures

Ryde Town Sergeants

Town Hall Medal
Town Hall Medal

In 1868, the New Town Hall was opened, and Miss Brigstocke presented the Town Hall Clock to Ryde. A small commemorative medal was struck for the occasion and the Observer began a column written by ‘The Town Hall Clock’!