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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David Earle - Map Master
David Earle - Map Master

Thirty-one members and two visitors attended our quarterly meeting in January 2011. The meeting was held at the George Street Centre on the morning of Saturday 8 January.

Janette (Chairman) welcomed everyone to the meeting and wished them a happy and healthy New Year. She said that the group had achieved a great deal during the last quarter:

• We have managed to open the Learning & Heritage Centre in Ryde Cemetery for most weekends since it opened in September. Together with the FORC we have come up with a plan for opening the centre for the next 6 weeks, taking turns to open the centre on alternate Saturdays. FORC had clearing work programmed for for 8 January and planned to man the centre in the afternoon. FORC clearing work parties and opening of trhe centre are planned for 22 January and 5 February.

RSHG will open the centre 11am to 3pm on 15 & 29 January and then 12 February. The RSHG website is the home page on the computers in the Learning Centre and is the main resource used to assist people with any enquiries about Ryde Cemetery, family history research and history of Ryde.
• We held the Halloween Big Draw event in the Learning & Heritage Centre in Ryde Cemetery on Saturday 30 October. It was so successful that we carried on with it on Sunday 31 October. We had 40 visitors over the weekend, many of them children. There were Halloween themed colouring sheets for the very young children and the older children and adults all contributed to our Big Drawing of Ryde which was started at a similar event in 2008. We even had a visit from our MP Andrew Turner.
• In mid November we assisted a group of young cadets to locate all the Commonwealth War Grave Commission graves so they could pay respects and place remembrance crosses on all those graves.
• On 20 November we had the group outing to see the Brannon exhibition at Brading Roman Villa. Seventeen of us met at the Villa and were greeted by Ken Hicks who gave us a short talk on the Brannon family, then we spent a couple of hours looking at the fantastic collection of Brannon images of the Island before having lunch in the cafÉ.
• On 4 December we supported Ryde Arts Festival in the green garland and wreath making at St Thomas Church. We showed children and adults how to make Christmas decorations paper stars.
• Since our website was updated and improved last year we now have the facility to add records from other cemeteries. Detail from St Thomas Church (taken from the book produced by Jack Wheeler) and we will soon be adding information from Binstead Cemetery.
• David is currently systematically going through all the records on the website to check for any obvious typing errors, and adding map references and photographs where they have been omitted.

News of the Record Office Janette advised that the Record Office in Newport is closed to the Public on Tuesdays from now on. This is so that the staff there can catalogue and consolidate their collection.

Plans for this year

9 April we will hold our Members’ meeting at Ryde Cemetery and our guest speaker will be Mr Faulkner on the history of the ferry service between Portsmouth and Ryde/Fishbourne.

Our July Meeting will also be held at the Cemetery with Shelagh giving a talkabout Wills – she has some interesting, and funny, stories to tell us about that subject.

Our October AGM will be held at the George Street Centre and be in a similar format to our last AGM. We will not have a guest speaker but will have a more social event and a ‘Guess the Baby Photo Competition’.

We are intending to hold a number of events in Ryde Cemetery throughout the year to encourage people to use the wonderful facilities available. Our exhibitions in the Learning Centre have been well received and we will be changing the exhibition every month or so to keep up the interest.

We will be giving more guided walks in the cemetery, and holding open days and other events.

Membership Update
Kate advised we currently we have 70 members and thanked all who paid renewal fees so promptly.

Since our AGM last October we have welcomed 4 new members, Dave Bushell, Dawnn Sen-White and Janis and John Mundell.

We have a range of clothing available with the RSHG logo- polo shirts, sweat shirts, T shirts and fleeces. If anyone wishes to know about styles, colours, sizes, prices and to place orders, please contact Kate MacDonell.

Finance Report (to 31 December 2010)
Arthur advised that we have a good balance at the bank. Membership fees make up the bulk of our income and we also have to rely on book and product sales along with fund raising

Reports from Sub-Groups

Research – Ann Barrett
Ann reported that in spite of the bad weather and the holiday closure of the record office, she had managed to find some items of interest to add to the files on the website.

One particular wedding report was quite funny, the chief presents were given in the newspaper as:- Set of Carvers, Salad Bowl, a Cheque, and a Toilet seat !!! Ann felt that in 1894 a toilet seat could be considered a luxury item, but it was more likely a spelling error by the newspaper, as a Toilette-seat would have been where the lady sat to do her hair, make-up and put on her fripperies etc.

Ann thanked all the members of her small team, researchers and typists for their continued support.

Publications – Carol Strong
The publications team has produced new material for three exhibitions since the last meeting in October. In November we moved the town and school memories display from Ryde Library to the Heritage Centre and added some new material and photos that had been given to us. We also put up a Remembrance exhibition for the month of November and our folders on the Commonwealth War Graves and Military History were available in the Heritage Centre for visitors to browse.

In December two separate displays for Christmas and winter time were designed for the Heritage Centre. At the time we planned them, little did we know that the winter snow was about to fall on Ryde but it gave us an extra opportunity to add snow photographs from both Ryde and Binstead Cemeteries to the display.

The January quarterly magazine ‘An Apple for the Teacher’ features a small selection of our snippets and stories about school life in Ryde.

We are about to start adding records to the website for Binstead Cemetery. The transcriptions date from 1856 to the present day. When the weather improves we will be taking photographs of the memorials to add to the records of both Binstead Cemetery and the remaining stones at St Thomas Churchyard.

Presentation by David Earle on Mapping Ryde Cemetery.
David gave a very interesting, informative and sometimes funny presentation on Mapping the Cemetery.

At the end of the meeting we had a prize draw which added to the group’s funds.