Ryde Residents Travel to Newport
On Monday 6 November, some of Ryde’s past residents travelled to Newport to meet members of the Isle of Wight Family History Society. The Society had asked RSHG if they would give a talk but we suggested the Character Dramatic Presentation instead, as something different.
We began in 1877 by meeting Mrs. Louisa Lake, played by Hilary Lloyd, matriarch of the Eagle Brewery in Ryde. Mrs. Lake was lamenting the recent sale of the brewery to that dreadful Mr. Sweetman! She related the story of the foundation and growth of the brewery and the personal tragedy of losing her husband, most of her sons and grandsons, when still in the prime of their lives.
How honoured we were to have Miss Harriette Player Brigstocke, played by Ann Barrett, attend the meeting (now in the year 1898) and what a formidable character she was but very modest. We heard of all the great and good deeds that Miss P.B. had done for the town and the latest news of improvements to her beloved family church.
Moving on to the year 1934, what a treat, Madame Maud Santley, played by Shelagh Gaylard, world famous opera singer, having recently retired to Ryde, came along. She entertained us with the story of her childhood (a daughter of Stainer’s Dairies) and her wonderful career when she travelled and performed across the globe. Narrator, Kate MacDonell, did manage to stop Madame when she tried to burst into song!
After the “Meet the Residents” the audience looked at the many documents and photographs on display and asked further questions. Our scripts are based on real people and the evidence of their lives, using the extensive RSHG archive.
Photograph by Geoff Allan