Historic Ryde Society

‘Giving Ryde’s Past to the Future’

Historic Ryde Society Quiz Night Thursday 26 October 2023 at Yelf's Hotel, at 7p.m. for 7.30pm.

“Double honour for Ryde School

RYDE SCHOOL’S 50th anniversary celebrations, which extended over three days in July, came to a royal climax recently with a commemoration service and reception attended by the Duchess of Kent and the Governor of the Island, Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

This was Lord Mountbatten’s second visit to Ryde School—a double honour for each visit he makes to the Island is carefully planned and return visits to any place are unlikely because a vast number of new events is always awaiting him. He last visited Ryde School in 1968 when he opened new science laboratories.

When he agreed to attend the jubilee celebrations Lord Mountbatten suggested he should invite the Duchess of Kent to accompany him and make all the arrangements on behalf of the school.

After their helicopter touched down on the school’s lower playing field they were greeted by Ryde’s Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs. J. Langdon; Dr. F. R. B. H. Kennedy, chairman of the school’s board of governors; Mrs.C. E. Mclsaac, widow of the founder; and the headmaster, Mr. K. N. Symons, and his wife. They made their way to the parish church with Dr. Kennedy escorting the Duchess and the Governor with Mrs. Mclsaac. Crowds cheered warmly as they crossed the road.


Inside All Saints’ Church a cool breeze from the wide open great doors gently stirred the flowers and leaves of the beautiful floral arrangements. The summer colours were repeated in the delightful summer outfits and hats worn by the ladies among the congregation of 1,000.

The Duchess chose a very simple coat frock in sunshine yellow with a big hat trimmed only by a scarf of the same shade.

We enjoyed, as on other occasions, hearing the lesson read in the famous Mountbatten voice, and the quickfire address given by the Dean of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. S. W. Betts. At noon the reception was held on the north terrace and lawns of lovely Westmont.

The first speech was given by Old Boy of the school, Dr. Kennedy, who remembered with pride being a new boy in l921—his grandson is a new boy to—day. He felt he could justly say he was welcoming the Duchess on behalf of the 2,250 boys who had passed through the school.

Unveiling a commemorative plaque, the Duchess in her speech showed that she knows and loves the Island. Her family has had connections with the Island over many centuries.

A buffet lunch was served in the big marquee on the lawn while the Marines’ band played.

Parents of the 60 boarders met local parents and many new friends were made. They expressed
real satisfaction regarding the organisation and running of the schoolfits wide field of tuition,
sport, artistic subjects, and close contact with the church.

There is also the personal touch~not every boy settles down at once as a boarder. But at the school they found “someone to talk to “—Miss Turner, for many years so much a part of the
school and a real friend to any boy needing help, comfort and advice. And there to back her, Mrs. Mclsaac, widow of the founder.


The school has grown from the dream of a courageous man, William Laxon Mclsaac, who firmly believed Ryde was ready for the project. When the school opened on April 25, 192], at Hanover House, George Street, there were just 46 boys and six staff. Numbers had risen by the time the school moved to Westmont in 1928.

In the past 50 years, 2,250 boys have passed through the scho0l—30O are there at present.

Each headmaster has given much of himself and taken the school a step forward from the founder to Mr. A. J. Mornard, who instituted higher and lower houses, and as a keen lover of drama and music became founder chairman of the Isle of Wight Grand Opera.

Mr. Roy Mclsaac, son of the founder, was headmaster from 1953 to 1966, and in his time the school buildings were enlarged, an art centre was added, and new science laboratories built.

Under the present headmaster, Mr. Symons, the growth of the school rapidly continues, and plans are well in hand for further building to accommodate 350 boys by 1973.

Ryde, and indeed the Island as a whole, can be proud of this fine independent school.  B.M.M.”

Islander, September, 1971, p. 21

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