Thomas Dashwood – Master Builder
Thomas Dashwood was born in Whippingham on 17 December 1788, he moved to Ryde as a young man to seek his fortune.
He had many difficulties and struggles to establish himself at the beginning of his career, but his strong constitution, extraordinary perseverance and good judgement finally paid off. He would never have imagined this possible when he first started out with little capital or materials.
One story which demonstrates his determination is that soon after he started out in his own business, on one November night just after dark he was given a job of work to do. He had no timber to use for the job so he walked in the wind and rain the seven miles to his father’s house in Whippingham. He got the timber required and worked all night to complete the job. Then he lashed the work (weighing more than a cwt) to his shoulders and walked back to Ryde, arriving just before day break. Naturally his customer was very satisfied with his service and the job.
Over the years his reputation grew and there are many monuments existing to his skill as a builder. He built Brigstocke Terrace, the Market House and Town Hall, St Thomas’ and Holy Trinity Churches in Ryde as well as the house St Clare (since demolished) and St Catherine’s Lighthouse, Andover Church and many other private and public buildings.
He was a Town Commissioner from 1829 until 1860 and when he died he was one of the wealthiest tradesmen the town had produced.
Thomas Dashwood died at his home Dover Cottage, the Strand on 20th July 1861 aged 72 years and was buried in Ryde Cemetery. His son, also a Thomas Dashwood, was the first Mayor of Ryde after Queen Victoria granted the Charter of Incorporation on 23rd July 1868.