These were essential places of entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th century, somewhere people could gather and socialise while watching and listening to what was on offer. A warm afternoon sitting in a deckchair listening to the band, or a lovely summer evening after a short promenade, a time to relax would finish off a pleasant day.
The Borough Council saw a great want and paid much attention each year to providing a succession of bands and performers to delight the visitors and local residents alike. A great deal of advertising as to the advantages of choosing Ryde as a location for a planned visit, be it short or long stay. The quality of the entertainment was always a deciding factor and Ryde Borough knew very well how to put across the town’s many assets, and so attract the gentry and others to the district, bringing much needed wealth into Ryde.
On August 1900 it was said that the residents and visitors of Ryde had never been so well off for amusements as they had during the past week. On Tuesday evening, the Glee Singers were performing in the Pavilion; the Volunteer Band were playing in the Bandstand of the Esplanade Gardens; the “Bohemians” were also in the Gardens.
A few examples of bands engaged to play in the bandstands:
September 1891 the Band of the Royal Marines under direction of George Miller performed in the Bandstand on the Pier.
September 1898 the Band of the Royal Marine Artillery performed in the Eastern Gardens Bandstand.
July 1906 (twice every day) the celebrated Grosvenor Ladies’ Orchestra. Chairs 1d. and 2d.
May 1908 the Band of the 8th Batt. Volunteer Regiment, also the R.M.A. Band, were both well patronised.
In early March 1902 the local press stated that every effort was being made to complete the new Esplanade, and a most elaborate bandstand would soon delight the eyes of those who interest themselves in the advancement and prosperity of the town. At the same time as this great improvement, was the demolition of several houses at the bottom of Union Street and one of the advantages of the desirable work was that the rising main thoroughfare of the town had been opened up to view from seaward.
With the opening up of the Western Esplanade, came the new Bandstand and Enclosure which gave many opportunities to hold all manner of events within. The Borough had the idea for increased remuneration and could charge an entrance fee, the enclosure could be screened if required so that people would be sheltered from any breeze coming from the sea, or for a function, and it could be decorated with fairy lights for evening concerts. It was said to be a great source of benefit to the town.
In May 1909 it was interesting to note that a Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder had been placed with that of the old pattern on the roof of the bandstand in the Eastern Gardens. That instrument concentrates the rays of the sun by means of a crystal globe, and registers only bright sunshine.
Sources: IW Observer, RSHG Archive
Postcard Images: IW Record Office & Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett