Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 28 September 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

Historic Ryde Society

The last month is fitted in place in the rotunda ceiling – January 13, 2011.

Formed in October 2009, the Society was created to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Royal Victoria Arcade, in July 2011. It was decided to raise funds for a dedicated heritage centre in Ryde. After the arcade basement was chosen, 12 local artists were commissioned to each create an image reflecting the months of the year. These are the images which appear at the bottom of this page throughout the year, and they are available as notelets or cards via the shop page here. They were installed in the rotunda of the arcade in January 2011. The Society became a registered charity, number 1153947, in September, 2013. It has an ever increasing membership, and events are held throughout the year. If you wish to raise funds for HRS, please sign up for localgiving here or easyfundraising here.

Ryde District Heritage Centre

Lady Lucinda Lambton and Andrew Turner MP, celebrate the open space with Andrew, Tony and Rhea, as Queen Victoria.

A three day celebration marked the Royal Victorian Ryde 2011 weekend, when the empty basement was officially opened by Andrew Turner, MP, and Lady Lucinda Lambton, three x great grand-daughter of Lord Lambton, Radical Jack! –  who laid the foundation stone of the building in May 1835. A wonderful connection! The refurbishment of the basement was made possible thanks to a grant from the Ryde Townscape Heritage Initiative, funded jointly by the IW Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The creation of Ryde District Heritage Centre was funded initially by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Centre opened to the public on Monday, August 15, 2011. Run by volunteers, the Centre won awards from the Isle of Wight Community Action group in 2012 and 2013.

Sally-Ann and her newly-discovered New Zealand cousin.

This image shows Sally-Ann, one of the volunteers, meeting for the first time a New Zealand cousin who visited the Centre in the summer.  There are many different opportunities for volunteers. If you would like to help, please get in touch via the website, admin@historicrydesociety.com , or call the Heritage Centre on 01983 717435 during opening hours. Volunteers are given full training, a lovely green t-shirt!, and a fleece for the winter months!

John, Tony and Alan pottering in the Centre

In October 2012, an internal, integral ice well in the arcade was exposed for the first time in many years. Funds are being raised in order to open it up for the general public, and it is hoped to recreate the Georgian confectionery, which would have existed at the time of building. All donations welcome!
Sponsorship opportunities to help with the Ice Well Fund are available. £10 will see your name on a brick, or will sponsor a foot’s length of the recycled pier planks forming part of the floor. A generous £200 will see your name, or that of a loved one, on the risers on the stairs leading down to the Centre. Temporary cards will be used until all the sponsorship is in place. These cards will then be replaced by a permanent fixture. Spread the word!

Brian installs the panoramic image July 4 2013
Brian installs the panoramic image July 4 2013

If you know of a Youth or School group which may be interested in a visit to the Centre, please get in touch with Judith, our School/Youth Liaison Officer via the Centre. Although Judith is not in the Centre on a daily basis, messages can be left for her. Telephone 01983 717435 between 11am and 4pm for further information. Other local interest groups are also welcome. Coffee mornings or presentations to local groups at a venue of their choice can be arranged.
Risk assessment forms and worksheets are available. Organisers are welcome to visit the Centre free of charge to discuss their requirements.

The County Press photographer takes a snap of the Heritage Centre volunteers during Volunteer Week, June 2013

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with computers, as volunteering in the centre brings new opportunities to learn new skills! Please get in touch if there is anything you think you may be able to do to help. Painting, vacuuming, carpentry, filling, dusting, putting pictures on the wall, being photographed and interviewed by the media, are all things volunteers have done. Behind the scenes work is an ongoing process. If you would like to help, please get in touch.

Wightlink staff join in the fun

Joining together with James from the Donald McGill Postcard Museum in 2011, Historic Ryde Society created a bit of free fun for the general public! Founder member Lynne Gregory Phillips painted four boards reminiscent of the saucy seaside postcards created by the late Donald McGill. Thanks to local businessman Wayne Whittle and his staff, and Wightlink, these boards have enjoyed successful summer seasons!
HRS Vice Chair Brian Harris has perfected the stands for the boards and screwed buckets to them for donations, and the total has now passed £1100!


Historic Ryde Society hosts fundraising activities on a rolling basis throughout the year. The last Thursday of every month is the pub quiz in Yelf’s hotel, Union Street. £3 a head – people are encouraged to come on their own or to bring a team. There is always a raffle to raise extra funds. The monthly quiz will take place in Yelf’s on July 03. Please note the change in date. Details on the diary page.

Mayor Milburn on the stairlift
Mayor Milburn on the stairlift
June Rotunda art
Donald McGill Exhibition
A section of the Donald McGill Exhibition