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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To Tree, or not to Tree?

Union Street
Union Street

In September 1904 there was much discussion in Ryde about whether or not to plant trees in Union Street.

SEPTEMBER 1904 Letters to the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer


Sir, I congratulate the Council on their idea of planting trees in Union Street. Now the obstruction of the sea view has been removed the addition of trees will make the street, looking down from St Thomas’s Square or up from the Pier and the sea, one of the prettiest thoroughfares in the South of England.
Yours etc., X Y Z

Sir, May I point out that the idea of planting trees in Union Street does not meet with the approval of a large number of those carrying on business there. I have been into a great many towns but I never saw trees planted in a leading business thoroughfare, and it seems to me that when they grow to any size they would greatly darken the shops. Why do not the Council try the experiment in George Street first.
Yours, etc., TRADESMAN

Dear Sir, May I venture, before it is too late, to protest through your influential paper against the quite unnecessary expenditure of the ratepayers’ money in planting trees in Union Street.
Many of the shops in the said street are dark now, and the trees when grown would much interfere with the light, and render necessary (on many days, even during the summer) the use of gas or electric light; and also, the fallen leaves would be a source of annoyance and trouble to all shopkeepers.
The so-called improvement would thus be, in addition to an added burden on the already too heavy rates, a source of expense and work to the dwellers in Union Street.
I may add that a much needed and not more costly improvement would be effected (and ought to be carried out) by placing a few gas lamps around the Canoe Lake, where, even thus early in the autumn, it is neither safe nor pleasant to walk after dusk. Apologising for occupying so much of your valuable space,