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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Shop Awnings in Union Street
Shop Awnings in Union Street

Isle of Wight Observer

Jun 1st 1861: NEW GAS LAMPS – Placed by the Ryde Gas and Coke Company around the districts of Swanmore, Dustans, and Spencer-road, were lighted for the first time during the past week. The pillars are higher than those in the town, much more ornamental, and are fitted with burners that throw out a larger flame. Being much larger in dimensions there is no chance of their becoming smoked in the manner the old ones sometimes are.

Jun 1st 1861: THE NEW CURRENCY – As “brass” is stamped with success, and therefore passes current in society, it is no wonder the metal of that name should have been chosen as the base of our new coinage. It seems however, there can be even counterfeit brass, for a Ryde tradesman has shown us a new Brummagem halfpenny with the “image and subscription” of Britannia most indecently stripped. The coin was made of copper and tinselled with bronze. It originally, doubtless, looked well to the eye, but it would not stand “the rub”. It was sent to the Mint, to shew the stuff it was made of.

Jun 8th 1861: PIER IMPROVEMENTS – During the week, the pavilion which formerly was the place of shelter on the pier, has been moved and placed about a fourth of the way up on the western side. It has certainly rather a one-sided appearance, but its convenience will more than counterbalance that. To our eyes the bins or sentry-boxes, or whatever they may be likened unto, which remain, are really unsightly, and considerably mar the effect of the grand improvement at the end, and we hope to see them removed.

Jun 15th 1861: HOSTELRY – The respected proprietor and for many years manager of Yelfs Hotel, Union-street, has retired from business in favour of our townsman Mr. John WAVELL, who took possession this day (Friday), and we hope that he may be successful and prosperous in undertaking the management of an hotel that was established and has been under the control of the family for upwards of 60 years.

Jun 15th 1861: RYDE PIER – The first musical promenade of the season took place on Wednesday afternoon, the band of H.M.S. Diadem having come ashore and played on the occasion. The fashionable attendance was not so numerous as is generally the case when naval or military bands favour this unrivalled locality, which circumstance we attribute to the fact that the season is yet early.

Jun 15th 1861: AWNING NUISANCE – There is a by-law that awnings placed outside shop windows to keep off the sun, shall be seven feet in height from the pavement. It is not enforced, consequently much inconvenience is felt by pedestrians whose stature exceeds the average. Short people don’t experience the luxury of having their hats constantly knocked over their eyes or off their heads. Perhaps these impediments upon the highway are so placed to invite the application of a sharp knife to clear them away. Why don’t the police summon a string of the offenders.

Jun 22nd 1861: STREET ARCHITECTURE – Several fugitive paragraphs written with a view to extol the architect of the building to be partly as a branch of the Hants Bank and partly as a shop in Union-street. Now as far as we understand the different orders and styles of architecture, we should say this building belongs to the prison and workhouse style, namely red bricks with black pointing and Bath stone dressing. The building is run so high in the sky that it reminds us of Gulliver amongst the Lilliputians.

Jun 22nd 1861: ASHEY WATER WORKS – Those who believed that the wells at these works would hold out all the season on account of the “unprecedented wet,” will be sorry to learn that the said wells have already failed; that is, they are pumped dry, and the water stopped off from the town, directly after noon.

Jun 22nd 1861: CHAPEL OPENING – On Sunday next, a large room will be opened for worship in Union-road, by Mr. S. COZENS, L.F.R.S. On the ensuing Sunday, Mr. G. W. YARD will form the church; and on the following Sunday Mr. J. MULES, L.L.B. will form a Sunday school.