Ward & Sons – Local bicycle manufacturers and motor engineers
Mr Edward Tom Ward first set up his bicycle making business in Ryde around 1878 when he was in his mid 20s. He and his wife Elenor lived in Monkton Street and they had 6 children; 4 boys and 2 girls. By 1901 Edward was employing two of his sons, Edmund and Edgar, in his manufacturing business.
Mr Ward was a pioneer of cycling on the Island he was one of the first members of the Vectis Cycling Club and an original member of the Cyclists Corps which was attached to Princess Beatrice’s IW Rifles before the First World War.
By 1910 the business had passed to his son and was called Edmund Ward & Co. It had expanded to include Cycle makers and agents, motor engineers and a domestic machinery depot and developed a flourishing motor and charabanc trade.
As a young man Edward Ward was a chorister at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Nelson Street and later at Garfield Road Church. In later life his main recreation was a small sailing boat and he took part in races of the old Amateur Sailing Club, whose headquarters were on the pier. He was also one of the oldest members of the Conservative Club. He was a kind and genial man with many friends in and around Ryde.
He died at the age of 86 years, on 12 December 1938 after a long illness. His wife Elenor predeceased him by 22 years. Two of his sons also predeceased him; Corpl. Edgar Ward of the Machine Gun Corps died at Passendale on 21 September 1917 aged 33 years, he is buried in the New Irish Farm Cemetery in Belgium. Edmund Ward died in Ryde in 1924 aged 45 years after a long illness.
Based on research by Ann and Les Barrett and written up by Janette Gregson