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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Mark Earp - Ryde 200 Years
Mark Earp - Ryde 200 Years

Forty members and one guest braved the wintery weather to attend our meeting on the morning of Saturday 12 January.

Janette Gregson, Chairman welcomed everyone and gave a brief report, illustrated with photographs, on the group’s activities since the AGM.

She mentioned the loss of one of our friends, Rosemarie Robinson, who had collapsed and died at her home on 10 November. Rosemarie had been a member of the Transcribing group for many years and had helped to record hundreds of inscriptions from the memorials in the cemetery. Janette said she was grateful for all that Rosemarie had done for the group and also for her companionship on those Saturday morning sessions. She will be sadly missed by us all.

In December the group participated in the Christmas Tree Festival at the Methodist Church in Garfield Road. Carol, Ann, Shelagh and Poppy had produced all the decorations for the tree which celebrated the work of Ryde Social Heritage Group and was called The Family Tree of Life. The church had looked wonderful during the festival with many beautifully decorated trees from Ryde groups and associations.

Since December the publications team had been working hard to produce the quarterly magazine which has the theme of Wondrous Women. Janette said when carrying out research into our town it is always much easier to find out about the great works that men did, but this time we wanted to pay tribute to some of the women of the town.

Arthur Williams, Treasurer, gave the financial report which shows the group to be in a healthy financial position.

Kate MacDonell, Membership Secretary, reported that we have a healthy membership of 72 people and we have recently recruited new members from Havenstreet and Wootton.

David Earle gave his final Mapping Report and said that since 2005 he had surveyed and mapped Ryde Cemetery – a five year project; produced maps of St Thomas Church graveyard and, with the help of Carol, produced maps for Binstead and Ashey cemeteries. Recently, with the help of his friend David Marshall, he has completed his most challenging project, that of mapping St John’s Cemetery at Westridge.

David can be found in the Learning Centre in Ryde Cemetery on most mornings and he reported on how he has been able to assist many people in locating graves. He also assists school groups who visit the cemetery.

Ann Barrett, reported on the work of the Research Team and told of some of the interesting characters who have been researched since October including Granny Wood who was featured on our website in January.

Carol Strong reported that the Publications Team had an exhibition in Ryde Library during December with a theme of Christmas and wintertime in Ryde. This was very popular and people were still trying to read it as it was being taken down just before Christmas.

Work on the Wondrous Women magazine had taken a lot of time and as well as the more familiar names of Countess Clare and Miss Brigstocke it includes articles on Nurse Bolton, a Ryde midwife, and a lady who passed the motor engineering exam in 1908 and went on to drive some of the first buses in Ryde.

Carol said the team are looking forward to a busy 2013 telling the stories of some of the lost and forgotten people of the town and putting on more exhibitions and Open Days.

After the business of the meeting was concluded refreshments were served and the raffle was drawn and then we were treated to an excellent presentation by Mark Earp called “Ryde 200 Years – from Fisherman’s Haunt to Largest Town”.