RSHG Summer Open Days 9-10 June 2018
Ryde Social Heritage Group held their annual Summer Open Days at Ryde Cemetery Heritage and Learning Centre during the weekend of 9-10 June. The weather was in the main fine and warm and lent itself to the extra outdoor activities featured this year.
The theme this year was “lost” and referred to the displays showing our latest mapping project Lost Children, Lost of WW1 and Lost Churchyard (St Thomas’)
Our Re-enactment Group guided by their narrator Kate MacDonell featured on both days bringing to life people who lived in Ryde from the mid 19th to the early 20th centuries. Featured were the Chemist Thomas Simpson Flower (Terry Pearson), from Appley Towers Mrs George Young (Hilary Lloyd), Doctors wife Mrs Barrow (Ann Barrett), Generals wife Mrs Fetherstonhaugh (Shelagh Gaylard) and Scientist George Fellows Harrington (Dave Bushell)
The guided walks this year covering The Lost children’s graves, WW1 graves and St Thomas’ churchyard were undertaken by Carol Strong, Kate MacDonell and Rob Cain. Those attending showed great interest in what Rob had to tell them about St Thomas’ especially our digital re-uniting of parts of the crazy paving made from old headstones and the rather macabre aspect of some of the headstones with their unsmiling cherubs and the occasional skull and crossbones. Carol’s description of the work undertaken so far on this aspect of Victorian life surprised the audience as to the extent of the unmarked children’s graves, 597 having been discovered to date with many more to come. In this year of the one hundredth anniversary of the ending of WW1 Kate’s walk struck a particularly poignant note.
At the end of Sunday afternoon we launched our latest project which is, in conjunction with the British Legion, to put a marker on every war grave in the cemetery this November. There was a short ceremony during which the last post was played by a bugler and a piper played a lament.
The numbers during the two days were in the high eighties supplemented by numerous dog walkers who showed an interest in what we were doing. The provision of light lunches, a new innovation for this year, proved very popular.
Photographs by Shelagh Gaylard, Arthur Williams and Derek Tomlinson