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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Louis Zink's Hairdresser shop in Union Street
Louis Zink's Hairdresser shop in Union Street

31 members and 4 visitors attended our quarterly members’ meeting on Saturday 12 July and there were apologies from 14 members who were unable to attend.

Janette (Chairman) welcomed everyone to the meeting and delivered the report on the group’s activities since our April Meeting.

The first item was the sad news that our member Pauline McCall had passed away on June 11. She was a great supporter of the group and will be sadly missed by us all.

Then there was some good news that our member Cynthia Strong who has been very unwell and in hospital is now on the road to recovery and we are all looking forward to seeing her again once she is fully recovered.

The events during the last quarter included:

3 May: One day exhibition on the Changing Face of Ryde at Northwood House in Cowes for the IW Family History Society’s Annual Conference and AGM.

10 May: A one day Family History Shrine workshop at the Heritage and Learning Centre in Ryde Cemetery.

3 June: Tea with the Queen! Janette and Carol represented the group at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Janette showed photographs from the day.

24 & 25 May: Open Days at Ryde Cemetery. All three chapels were open with various exhibitions including: Ryde on the Brink of War, the Cemetery Restoration Project and the work of the Friends of Ryde Cemetery, the Ryde Heritage Audio Trail, The Ryde Cemetery Trail, ‘Streets of Ryde, Then and Now’, Ryde 100 Years Ago and our new WW1 Cemetery Trail.

We had fantastic weather and a constant stream of visitors on both days. David Earle led guided walks and spoke about some of the people who had fought in WW1 and there was also a new Character Walk where visitors got to meet some of the people from Ryde who were involved in the war effort in 1914.

You can read more about that event and see photos here: https://www.rshg.org.uk/newsarticle.asp?newsid=422

27 June to 6 July: During Ryde Arts Festival week RSHG had three exhibitions up in the town: One at St Thomas Church which told stories of some of the people from Ryde who were affected by WW1, one at Ryde Library “200 Years of Ryde Pier” and “Ryde 100 Years Ago” and one at the Heritage and Learning Centre in Ryde Cemetery on “Summer”.

Janette said there will be plenty going on in the next quarter with our major annual event Heritage Open Days at St Thomas Heritage Centre in Ryde on 12, 13 & 14 September.

David Earle gave an amusing and informative cemetery report on some of the many people he has been able to assist in locating graves of loved ones in Ryde cemeteries.

Arthur Williams, Treasurer, gave the financial report which showed the group is in a very healthy financial state at the moment.

Ann Barrett, Lead Researcher, gave a report on the work of our research team who are always busy researching into the lives of the people of Ryde and for information for us to use in our many exhibitions. She told the story of Charles Vaughan Drawbridge who is buried in Binstead Cemetery. He was born in Scarborough in 1872, the son of a solicitor. In his early years he was a Law Student, but his passion and chosen profession was sculpting. He moved to Chelsea in London and was a pupil of the craftsman Capt. Adrian Jones and assisted in the execution of the large bronze known as the Quadriga, which was presented to King Edward V11, and stands on Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner. He went on to do much fine work in marble.

Charles served in the London Scottish Regiment during WW1. He afterwards came to Binstead, where he lived with his sister until his death in 1940. He was involved with many associations in the area and was a musician of considerable ability, and played the cello in the orchestra of the Ryde Philharmonic Society.

Carol Strong, Publications Team Leader gave a report on the various exhibitions we have had in the last quarter and told the group that the next exhibition would be at Ryde Pier Head on Sunday 27 July when we had been invited to Wightlink’s Party on the Pier, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the opening of Ryde Pier.

On 30 August we will be taking an exhibition and some of the Ryde Characters to the Summer Fete at Osborne Cottage Residential Home in East Cowes.

12, 13 & 14 September Heritage Open Days at St Thomas Heritage Centre with displays on WW1 and also by way of contrast the Swinging 60s to show how things had changed 50 years on from the Great War.

After refreshments and the raffle three of our members gave short presentations: Sally Ouston gave a very interesting, illustrated talk on her grandfather, Louis Zink, who was a hairdresser in Union Street. During World War One, being a German, he was interned on the Isle of Man for the duration of the war. Rosemary Matthews gave a most informative talk on her father, Ernest Fry, another World War One veteran. Rosemary also brought a fascinating selection of WW1 and family artefacts and memorabilia for perusal. Peter Campbell’s illustrated talk on some of the history of his family and life in Ryde was both interesting and very entertaining.

Date of Next Meeting – Saturday 11th October 2014 10:30 am at the George St. Centre, Ryde. This will be our Annual General Meeting when membership fees are due for renewal.

Photograph of Louis Zink’s shop in Union Street reproduced by kind permission of Sally Ouston.