John Bolton of the Scottish Ironwork Foundation, www.scottishironwork.org has recently been in touch regarding the ironwork on Ryde pier and said the work is by Walter Macfarlane & Co, of the Saracen Foundry, Glasgow. He has found reference to what HRS calls ‘The Cyrils’ in a pattern book, dating to around the 1880s. These mythical creatures are, of course, what HRS has chosen as the society’s logo, and have been reproduced on merchandise for sale in Ryde District Heritage Centre, including mugs, bookmarks, thimbles, keyrings and pencils. They’d make lovely presents for family and friends overseas – especially if they have Ryde connections!
John goes on to say: ‘The No 98 brackets appear in Macfarlane’s 6th Edition catalogue c1882, but not in the 5th edition of c1872. It is not known if it was a ‘registered design’, as was an earlier, more ornate serpent design, No 68, so it is possible that the pattern was lifted from some other source. It is more likely to have been by James Boucher, a Glasgow architect closely associated with Macfarlane’s. The pattern appears later in W A Baker of Newport’s 1902 catalogue, but Ryde pier is definitely a Macfarlane product, as confirmed by the diamond trademark visible on at least one of the brackets.
The 6th Edition catalogue runs to over 700 pages of cA3, and was widely distributed. Macfarlane’s also invited enquiries for special commissions.
John believes the pier railings, which are marked Walter Macfarlane & Co, and which, as far as he knows, do not appear anywhere else, are a special commission, presumably to a design by Thomas Hellyer, of Ryde, and that the ironwork on the timber shelters was selected from the catalogue, as were the railings at the landward end of the pier.
Newspaper articles referring to the new pier railings appear
Ryde Pier improvements page and Pier Railings page