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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RSHG Members Meeting 9 April 2016

Sheila Caws

40 people attended the RSHG April Members Meeting at the George St Centre on Saturday 9 April.  Marilyn Newsham, Chairperson, opened the meeting and welcomed everyone.

Kate MacDonell, Secretary, began with a membership update. Currently there are 75 fully paid up members. Kate then gave a report on recent events illustrated by a slide show. In February RSHG had a very successful Archive and Records Day held at Ryde Lbrary The Group’s exhibition had a key focus on ‘Streets of Ryde.’

On 1 March RSHG hosted a St. David’s Day Walk at Ryde Cemetery but strong winds and driving rain meant a change of plan. The 16 hardy souls who attended remained in the warmth of the Learning Centre and enjoyed good conversation, refreshments and undertook some interesting research. A few days later several RSHG members attended the Memories Morning at St Michael’s and All Angels Church, Swanmore. The RSHG Schools and Youth Files were taken along to share as the theme was ‘Childhood.’

Kate then talked about the ‘Contact Us’ section on the RSHG website which attracts many comments and enquiries from people worldwide who are visiting our site. Kate gave examples of some of the diverse and more amusing enquiries and comments.

Arthur Williams (Treasurer) gave a financial update and showed some photographs of large items we have recently purchased such as new perspex for the outdoor display cases at Ryde Cemetery.

Ann Barrett gave her research report which included telling us about two people who have contacted us through our website. Dr Tony Nicholson, of Teeside University, is writing a book about the Langworthy family who lived at Brookfield House, Binstead in the mid 1800’s. We have been able to send scanned photographs and documents to help with his research. The second contact was from a Dr Nina Baker, of Glasgow, who is researching the biographies of pioneering women engineers, in preparation for the Women’s Engineering Society’s centenary in 2019.  We possess copies of the diary papers of Cleone De Heveningham Benest who lived in Ryde from about 1891. Her great passion was motor transport and mechanical engineering. We are in the process of sending copies of some of those documents, from that diary, to Dr Baker.

Carol Strong, our Mapping Co-ordinator, gave a short presentation on Ryde Cemetery called ‘Forgotten Angel.’ Recent tree and hedge clearance work in the Old and New Cemeteries has revealed graves lost for many years. Carol showed before and after photographs of some of the graves including a beautifully carved angel.

Our visiting speaker, Sheila Caws, then gave a presentation – “A Gentleman’s View around Ryde.” This was a fascinating talk on Fernao de Castel Branco who was the self-styled Count of Ryde. He was from an aristocratic Portuguese family and lived in St. Thomas’ Street. He took thousands of photographs on just about every topic you could think of – as well as people and places , his many cars, his tie-pin, clock and model railway collections. The talk was illustrated by a relatively small sample from the Count’s photograph collection which is now owned by Carisbrooke Castle Museum.

Cleone Benest

Cleone Benest

Ryde Cemetery Display Case

Ryde Cemetery Display Case