Regency Tea and Talk at Ryde Library 20 June 2017
Ryde Library contacted RSHG earlier this year requesting an exhibition on Regency Ryde which we duly did and this will be on display until the 15 July. The Library is running a series of special events throughout this year to mark the bicentennial of Jane Austen’s death. They also wondered if we might do a talk on Ryde in Regency times as one of the special events.
Our talk took place at Ryde Library on Tuesday 20 June at 2pm. This was actually the third ‘Tea and Talk’ event which the library have organised this year. Instead of a straightforward talk we took along our cast of ‘Regency Residents’ for a dramatic performance.
The audience, which numbered around 25, were first introduced to Mrs. Rendall, (played by Hilary Lloyd) daughter of the entrepreneur Daniel Hale. Daniel founded, amongst other things, the Ryde (later the Royal) Pier Hotel and Mrs. Rendall with her husband George owned and managed the hotel after Daniel. Mrs. Rendall was born just 2 days before the passing of the Ryde Pier Act in 1812 so had many memories of early Ryde in late Georgian times.
The next character to be introduced was Granny Wood, (played by Jo Dodd) who at the age of 97 in 1863, had seen 4 English monarchs come and go, witnessed the sinking of the Royal George in 1782 and remembered the Battle of Waterloo very well.
Mrs. Milligan, (played by Ann Barrett) was a delight to meet and she retold the tender love story between herself and Robert, a veteran of Waterloo. Her story could have been straight from a Jane Austen novel!
Mr. Pratt entertained us next, (played by Dave Bushell) and the script was based on his memories which were published in the Isle of Wight Observer in May 1912 when he was aged 103. He had such tales as the Waterloo Victory celebrations, beautiful young ladies in flimsy costumes, and smugglers.
We had a very appreciative audience who asked lots of questions and looked at our historical documents which related to the characters portrayed.
The tea which followed was most welcome and the cakes were delicious.
Photographs by Carol Strong