William Collier Francis Gloster Sheridan hailed originally from Newport. In 1833, he published A Topographical and historical Guide to the Isle of Wight. The full text of the book can be read on the Googlebooks website.
This map appears in the guidebook, and it can be seen that what is now Dover Street, is called Wellington Street in 1833. It is also clear that the Strand has not been laid out yet – this was to take another 23 years – and Beachlands is the only large house at the bottom of Wellington [Dover] Street. Ryde Castle was begun in the year this volume was published – 1833. Sheridan waxes lyrical in his description of the approach to Ryde: ‘Approaching it from the water, the effect is very imposing; house rising above house to the top of a hill, considerably elevated above the level of the sea, interspersed with trees of a fine growth, and numberless evergreens, give it, on a fine winter’s day, a varied, rich and fresh appearance.’ He talks of the ‘noble pile’ of Brigstocke Terrace, the ‘elegant spire’ of St Thomas’ Church, and ‘the neat chapel’ of St James. He mentions the ‘marine residences’ of the Duke of Buckingham and Earl Spencer, and says that ‘within the last two years, houses of a very superior description have been built…to form desirable winter residences; and many families of the highest respectability are permanently domiciled in the town’. Although the principal hotels are listed as Yelf’s, the Pier Hotel, the Crown Commercial Hotel and the Star, a most lengthy and glowing recommendation is given to Sheridan’s Family Hotel and Boarding House…..’it commands the most extensive and interesting views….the utmost attention is paid to the comfort of the inmates….the advantages of such an establishment are manifold’.
The three distinct parts of the hotel can still be seen stretching towards Union Lane, and the building is currently shared between Ladbrokes and Bromley House an annexe of Yelf’s Hotel. Gloster Sheridan, despite having had a very high profile in Ryde for many years, became bankrupt, and by July, 1836, the hotel had been taken over by James Weeks, who described himself as ‘many years owner and Commander of Packets’, in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle of July 4, 1836. The advertisement also provides the following information: ‘the Steam Packets cross eight times a day to Portsmouth, and three times to Southampton, affording delightful marine excursions’.
Gloster Sheridan became Governor of Salford Workhouse, where he died shortly after the 1841 census.