Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Report from October AGM

Our AGM on October 10 was attended by 34 Members and 2 visitors (who both joined at the meeting). Apologies were received from 11 members.

Our AGM on October 10 was attended by 34 Members and 2 visitors (who both joined at the meeting). Apologies were received from 11 members.

Janette opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.

Oct 2008 – The Big Draw on 18/19 October in Ryde Cemetery, then 23/25 October at St Thomas Heritage Centre created some fantastic artwork.
Jan 2009 – Quarterly Members’ Meeting – Jan 10 was a social ‘get together’ and a chance for members to meet the team. Later in the month we participated in the National Garden Bird Watch in Ryde Cemetery for the second year and submitted our observations to the RSPB website.
Feb 2009 – In February we completed the 12 month Nature Diary for Ryde Cemetery (see Nature Page of website).
April 2009 – Quarterly Members’ meeting followed by a very entertaining presentation on IW Carriers by Derek Sprake.
May 2009 – Ryde History Week the biggest event of the year held at St Thomas Heritage Centre in Ryde. About 1000 people attended over the week.
Summer 2009 – Display in Ryde Library Throughout the summer we had display boards in Ryde Library – at first about some of the buildings of Ryde that are no longer there, then we changed the display to feature Entertainment in Ryde to tie in with Ryde Arts Festival week.
July 2009 – Quarterly Members’ meeting followed by an excellent presentation by Diana Wood on the Lives and Times of the Royal Victoria Arcade For the following week Diana had a display of her research in the Arcade.
We held a drop in Session at St Thomas Heritage Centre on 17 July and people were invited to come and meet the group, chat informally and browse through our research folders.
Sept 2009 – Heritage Open Days at St Thomas Heritage Centre 10/13 September. Featuring Roy Brinton’s display on St Thomas Church and the Lords of the Manor and Tony Gale’s display on Non-Conformist Churches and Chapels of Ryde. Other groups also participated. There was a chamber music concert on Thursday evening and Roy gave a talk on St Thomas Church on Friday evening. Over 500 people attended over the four days.

Ongoing work of the group – Throughout the year we have continued with the work of mapping the cemetery, transcribing, researching, producing exhibition materials and newsletters and keeping the website updated regularly. All of our events are documented on the website.

Ryde Audio Trail – In addition a small group of us has been working with the Living Links Project (a Lottery funded project to help communities celebrate their diverse and evolving stories). The project is supported by the Hampshire Archive Trust and the IW Record office and involves a number of groups throughout Hampshire and IW. RSHG’s contribution to the project is to produce an historic audio trail for Ryde which will be available to download to mobile phones and MP3 players for free and will be launched in Spring of next year.

In the absence of our Treasurer Janette distributed the finance report which showed a small surplus of income over expenditure for the year and a bank balance in credit.

Kate reported we currently have 69 fully paid up members – 45 from Ryde area, 13 from other parts of IOW and 11 from the mainland, made up of 36 women and 33 men.

Kate thanked members for responding to our survey earlier in the year and the results showed that the majority of members preferred to keep our quarterly meetings on Saturday mornings. However on third of the members requested some evening meetings. This will be discussed at the first committee meeting after the AGM.

Kate advised that there were no conflicts in the nominations received and the following people had been nominated and agreed that they would be happy to stand of officers of the Group:

Chairman – Janette Gregson
Secretary – no nomination
Treasurer – Arthur Williams
Membership Secretary – Kate McDonnell
Committee Members – Ann Barrett, Carol Strong, Rachael Mead, Shelagh Gaylard, David Earle.

As there were no conflicts Tony Gale proposed that the committee be elected en block this was seconded by David George and carried by a majority with no objections.

Ann Barrett – Research Group – Ann reported that it had been another busy year for the research team. Detail has been added to 630 files and there have been 302 Amendments and Additions made to existing records.
The Looking Back Snippets on the website receive some good feedback from visitors to the site. Once again Ann appealed for volunteers to help with the research.

David Earle – Mapping – David advised that mapping of the cemetery is progressing well with the Old Parish and Old Cemeteries now complete all bar any necessary corrections, and the New Cemetery is about 40% complete. So far it has taken about four years to map the cemetery and there is still a bit of work to do.

Janette Gregson – Transcribing Group – The transcribing group continues to meet every Saturday morning, weather permitting, and at the time of the AGM had recorded and uploaded to the website transcriptions from the graves of almost 6, 700 individuals. Over 1,000 records have been added in last year. It will require several years of work before the whole of the cemetery is recorded.

Carol Strong – Publications Group – Carol advised the publications team has had a very busy year preparing display material for the four major exhibitions: The first, Ryde History Week, followed months of hard work by the team and was a great success. Much of the material was completely new, including the Victorian and wartime displays.

During the summer there were two exhibitions in Ryde library, the first, immediately after Ryde History Week, had a general theme of Ryde’s history showing many of the buildings long lost to the town. The second, set up to coincide with Ryde Arts Festival in July, was a display on the Arts, music, entertainments and carnivals that have taken place in Ryde from the 1800s, up to a raft race held 25 years ago in 1984. The display was only a small part of the information the Group has collected and we now have two exhibition folders covering these subjects with more being written up all the time. The last exhibition of this year was held last month at St Thomas’ Heritage Centre, Ryde.

Carol reported that the RSHG website is busier than ever, with a 10% increase in visitors over last year. Almost 20,000 individual visitors have accessed an average of 10 pages each, spending at least 7 minutes browsing the information. This is acknowledged as higher than average usage of a website.

Four newsletters have been produced this year – Crime and Punishment in January, followed by Law and Order in April. Entertainments in July and this quarter’s is about the Great War and how it affected the people of Ryde.

After the business of the AGM concluded members and visitors were invited to stay for a social get together, a quiz and a raffle. Light refreshments were also served and there was an opportunity for people to look through some of the research folders.

The “Walk about, Talk about” quiz, devised by David Earle, created a lot of interest and many participants achieved a high enough score to be rewarded with a prize. The meting concluded with the prize raffle with some very nice prizes donated by members of the group.