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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The Party on the Pier on Saturday 2 April was a great success. The rain held off and the sun shone. Crowds gathered to watch the spectacle of the Medina Marching Band in their bright red uniforms play on the Esplanade and then march the length of Ryde Pier finishing with a display at the Pier Head.

A number of other bands played at the Pier Head throughout the day, with a mix of old style and modern pieces, including members of the IW Symphony Orchestra and local bands.

RSHG was asked to put on an exhibition depicting the rich history of Ryde Pier that covers nearly 200 years from July 1812 when the Act of Parliament was passed allowing the construction of the first Ryde Pier, the oldest in the country. The 200th anniversary of the opening of the Pier will take place in July 2014 when celebrations will take place.

RSHG Volunteers were on hand to talk to the many visitors and show them round the exhibition. As each catamaran docked at the Pier, more people came to see the displays, some stopping on their way to their holiday accommodation and others making the trip to the Island especially for the day to see the celebrations marking the reopening of the Pier to traffic after the structural repairs and British Tourism Week. One Island couple decided to wait for a later sailing to give them more time to view the exhibits and at times visitors were 3 or 4 deep round the display boards.

Members of the public were encouraged to recount their memories of the Pier and write them on our boards. We met people who had worked on the Pier or had family connections to the Pier, including one gentleman who worked in the booking office as a boy during the war and remembers arriving at work one day to see masses of ships gathering in the Solent and the next day they were all gone – to France for the D-Day landings.

Folders of historic information were available for visitors to browse including the Ryde Piers folder containing over 100 pages of history, information and excerpts from local and national newspapers charting the history of the Pier; Ryde Town folder and Ryde’s Maritime History. Colouring sheets of the Pier were available to occupy the children.

Other stands at the Pier Head included the Island Games 2011, Woodworking and the three Wightlink charities for 2011 – Earl Mountbatten Hospice, St Catherine’s School and Brainstrust. A children’s fancy dress competition took place in the afternoon and food and drink stands added to the party atmosphere making Ryde Revival day a most enjoyable experience.