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.

The Skating craze 1876

Skating in Ryde in the 1870s


ANOTHER SKATING RINK– Encouraged by the success of the private speculation Skating Rink at St John’s, and of others in towns far and near, an effort is now being made in Ryde to secure a second rink – with all the latest improvements – this is to be in a central position, viz., on the piece of ground at the back of Yelf’s Hotel, Union Street, and between St Thomas’ Church and Brigstocke Terrace. Seeing how much there has been, and is, to retard rather than further the prosperity of Ryde, and how few are our attractions as compared with what they might be, and as compared with younger and smaller, but thriving neighbouring watering places, we heartily wish success may crown the above effort. If the “through communication” difficulty were but finally settled, many things might, and would have to be done here, to enable us to hold our own, to say nothing of moving onwards, and courting successfully. We applaud, therefore, the boldness of the promoters of the scheme, at this time, and can hardly doubt that, looking at our fashionable residents and fashionable visitors, the speculation will be remunerative to the proprietors, and beneficial to the town: we hope it will. Roller skating in the open is not only a health-giving exercise, but a most enjoyable one, and there are attractions, besides, which can only be experienced and fully appreciated on the rink. Then it establishes a meeting point from January to December, whereas that of the pier head exists only in fine weather. We have long desired to see an Aquarium, with its many branch attractions – which prove so beneficial to many other watering places – but, perhaps, rinks are the next best things; and if the projectors’ ideas are carried out, there will be attached to this rink a gymnasium, reading rooms, and attractive garden. A small select meeting held a few weeks ago speedily resolved on the desirability, &c., and took certain preliminary steps. A larger meeting of inhabitants – gentlemen and large tradesmen – convened by circular, followed on Wednesday evening, at the Pier Hotel, when Mr Erskine was “carried” to the chair, and Mr J W Fardell detailed the steps already taken. It was announced that Mr Robert Yelf, sen., to whom the above-mentioned ground belongs, had cordially fallen in with the idea, and offered to lease the land for five years at £100 per annum, with a renewal of the lease at the end of that term, subject to a Royalty on the nett profits over and above 10%, if such there should be. – From what was stated by Mr Hands, it would appear that if a large number of inhabitants do not take a special interest in the rink, which they should do, that half-a-dozen, including Mr Hands, are quite prepared to risk the venture. A Committee of thirteen was appointed to prepare a prospectus for approval, preparatory to the forming of a company, and there can be no doubt that the shares will be very speedily appropriated when once offered. – We should be sorry to see the St John’s Rink sink, but a lowering of charges will probably make it as successful as the other must be. There is quite sufficient class distinction in Ryde to create a necessity for at least two rinks, and we believe there is ample room for a third grade affair. The following extract from the World may not be inappropriately quoted here:- The following ‘Poem picked up at Prince’s, though, in truth, it has but little poetry in it, shows how quickly a just retribution will sometimes overtake rash young gentlemen, who attempt to take liberties with the English language during “a cruise upon wheels:”

“There is rank on the rink,” said young Brown with a wink,
People stared, and they thought he was drunk;
On the rink then he rank, and came down with a spank,
Sincerely repenting he’d runk.

Rinkualism is becoming such a serious fact, that paterfamilias will find it constitutes an important item in household expenses. There is at present in Brighton a family of eight daughters, all of whom are most energetic and accomplished patineuses. A young friend of mine, with a turn for statistics, has made a calculation that if these young ladies were to rink three-hundred days in the course of the year, and twice a day, as many of them do, it would cost their papa £240 a year, even if he had presented each of them with a pair of skates, for which he would probably pay £2 each. Possibly, however, what is spent in rinking is saved in other ways. The fly-drivers, the proprietors of livery stables, and the shopkeepers complain grievously of the counter-attractions of the rink. The season, which has just come to a close, was an unusually full one, but never has money been less spent in town. Everything was neglected for “a cruise upon wheels”. Meanwhile, the rinkographers go on and prosper; a fifth rink was opened the other day at the Corn exchange, and it is said there are several more in prospect.


THE NEW SKATING RINK – We recently referred to the possibility of a new rink being constructed on the piece of land owned by Mr Yelf, at the back of Wavell’s Hotel and between Union and St Thomas’ Streets. We are glad to find that a company is now being formed to carry out this work. The main rink will be in the centre of the ground, with entrances from both the above streets, and will be well lit with gas for evening skating. On one side will be a smaller and covered rinkfor use in wet weather, and adjacent will be waiting and refreshment rooms &c., and reading, billiard and smoking rooms are included in the scheme, and the erections are to be of an ornamental character though not extravagantly costly. Messrs F Newman and R J Jones are to be the architects. As the shares are to be issued at £5, it will afford the inhabitants generally an opportunity of participating in the profits of the undertaking, and the greater the number of holders the greater the success. Whilst wishing continued prosperity to the St John’s rink, we hope speedily to see the central rink a reality; for we need, not one, but many attractions if we are to hold the ground left us to stand on.


ROLLER SKATES – A case relative to the roller skates now so much used in rinks has been decided by the Master of the Rolls. Mr Plimpton, an American, took out a patent for them in August, 1865, and he now sought to restrain Mr Malcomson, of Brighton, from infringing that patent. The defendant attacked the plaintiff’s patent on various grounds, but chiefly because his invention was said to have been known in this country before he applied for the grant of letters. The Master of the Rolls, however, decided against the contention, and only suspended the issue of an injunction for the time necessary the defendant to move for a new trial. We understand that in consequence of this decision it has been resolved to abandon all idea of forming another rink here, as Capt. Hall has the sole right to use the Plimpton skate in this town.


THE SKATING RINK AT THE VICTORIA ROOMS – This rink has been upon the whole very well patronized during the week, but is now closed until Monday in order that the floor may be prepared so as to make it more suitable for skating. All who have used Mr Harrington’s skates have expressed their satisfaction with them, and say they are equal to Plimpton’s, and far superior in lightness. We trust that a great monopoly will now be broken up, and the healthy exercise of the rink more generally extended. Mr Harrington’s skates are not like some of those patented, which are so much like Plimpton’s that it is almost impossible to tell them apart. On the contrary, the most superficial glance is sufficient to show that this principle is entirely different. We trust that in throwing down “The Gauntlet” Mr Harrington may be successful in defending what is undoubtedly a most original invention.


THE ISLE OF WIGHT SKATING RINK – THE RINK will be OPEN on THURSDAY EVENINGS from 6.0pm to 8.30pm; on Saturday, from 3.30pm to 6pm, when by the kind permission of Col Fitzgerald, and officers, the Band of the 49th Regt will perform a selection of music. – Admission, ONE SHILLING; Use of Skates, SIXPENCE.
Overture Rossini’s Stabat Mater – Mercadante
Valse Am Schooen Rhein – Keler  Bela
Reminiscences of Rossini – Godfrey
Cornet SoloHurricane – Nich olson
Valse Kunstler Leben – Strauss
Selection La Forza Del Destino – Verdi
Galop Always Joyful – Hecker


THE SKATING RINK – In spite of the heat, the Skating Rink in the marshes still continues very well patronized, more especially when the band plays. The rink is now tastefully laid out and is a pleasant resort even for those who do not skate. To-day (Saturday) the band of the 26th Cameronians will play from 4 till 6.30.

NEW RECREATION GROUND – The Mayor has rented a piece of ground in the Marshes adjoining the skating rink, and places it at the disposal of the inhabitants for a limited period, for the purpose of recreation from 12 noon till 9 at night. Persons guilty of using bad language, gambling, injuring the fences, or bringing intoxicating liquors on the ground will be immediately turned of. No children will be admitted during school hours, and all disputes will be settled by the Mayor whose decision will be final, and all those refusing to act upon it will not be allowed again on the ground. The conditions are not hard ones, and we are sure the public generally ought to be grateful to his worship. We do not like to “look a gift horse in the mouth”, but we think his worship would confer a greater boon, if he would open the ground early in the morning. Many would be glad to play a game of cricket in the mornings before breakfast.


A few minutes’ walk from the Pier, along the Esplanade, or by Tram, calling at the Rink from the Railway Station and Pier.
Morning Classes for Ladies..11.0 to 1.0
Afternoon Assemblies… 3.0 to 5.30
Thursday Evening.. 6.0 to 8.30
Admission, 1s.- Use of Skates, 6d.


MR AND MRS GERMAN REED – This is the last opportunity we have of reminding our readers of the visit of these popular artistes to Ryde, where they appear in their refined entertainment at the Town Hall on Wednesday and Thursday evenings next. Mr and Mrs German Reed will be supported by Miss Fanny Holland, Mr A E Bishop, Mr Alfred Reed, and Mr Corney Grain; and among the attractions of the programme are two new musical sketches by Mr Corney Grain entitled, “A Musical Bee”, and “Slaves of the Rink”. We hope Mr Aylward will have crowded houses.

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