‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 29th June 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

Isle of Wight Times, June 4, 1936

Westfield Park Hotel brochure cover
Westfield Park Hotel brochure cover

RYDE’S LATEST HOTEL ENTERPRISE – Amenities of Westfield Described.

The Times of June, 1936 had a full-page spread advertising the opening of Ryde’s newest hotel to the public. Westfield House was built by the then Earl Spencer around 1808. It was a favourite Marine Residence of theirs for many years, and visited by many distinguished guests, including European Royalty. After the Spencers, the house was owned by Sir Augustus Clifford, at one time Black Rod, who had the magnificent gateway, bearing the stag from the 1851 Exhibition, erected.

The 1936 report states the hotel stands ‘in its own grounds, some eight acres in extent, the hotel has many unique features including tastefully laid out terraced gardens leading down to the sea where there is a frontage of 500 feet, and private entrance to the sands’.  It is said some of the trees were originally imported from Italy, and ‘several quaint and cleverly constructed summer houses and shelters figure among the amenities of the grounds, and there are in addition a selection of hewn ornaments including a temple in which is housed Lough’s Statue of Mercury and Pandora’. The hotel also had its own fruit and vegetable garden.

The interior was no less impressive: ‘Everywhere taste and much thought has been displayed in the rendering this grand old mansion attractive and comfortable…..there are a large number of well appointed bedrooms [with] a separate and distinct colour scheme in which everything blends to please the eye……the magnificent ballroom boasts one of the finest dancing floors in the Isle of Wight.’  Sir Augustus was a lover of statues and, as well as the bronze stag over the gate, ‘it is on record that a pair of marble bull dogs, bought at Christies for £9, formerly stood guard at the entrance to the mansion. At the foot of the staircase, is still to be found a beautiful copy of a Venus executed by Canova and which cost 130 guineas’.

Westfield Park had the very latest gas installation ‘arranged by the Ryde Gas Company, [including] gas cookers for perfect and trouble-free cooking; gas operated boilers to enable all requirements for really hot water to be instantly met; gas fires in bedrooms ensuring the utmost comfort for guests. The whole of the electric light installation at Westfield was carefully executed by the skilled workmen employed by Mr E Wilson Chalon. Messrs R Russell & Son are supplying the hotel with meat. Milk and dairy produce is supplied to Westfield by Stainer’s Dairy (Mr W Russell) who makes a speciality of Grade “A” milk. The tasteful furnishings and carpets at the hotel were supplied specially by Hill’s Stores Ltc, who claim to give the best value on the island.’

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