John Street Changes
On 27th June 1969 an unoccupied four-storey building in John Street, Ryde, used for the retail of surplus stores, was badly damaged by fire. Smoke was billowing from the building, which had rows of tall round-topped windows on the first, second and third floors. The alarm was given at 1.48 pm. Appliances from Ryde, Cowes, Newport and Sandown attended the fire. The building adjoined others on both sides near the centre of town. While firemen using breathing apparatus fought the flames, police diverted traffic from the busy thoroughfare, crowded with Saturday afternoon shoppers and holidaymakers. (Photo left) shows the building before the fire, and before the bus stop was moved.
One fire engine which did not reach the scene was that from Bembridge, which overturned while avoiding another vehicle on a bend on Embankment Road. The weight of the water in its tank as it crashed caused severe damage to the bodywork, which was described as a write-off.
The Ryde Town Council were concerned about the state of the front elevation of the building and the danger to the public, so the owners of the property, Trius Enterprises (I.W.) Ltd., were instructed to make the building safe in whatever form the borough surveyor stipulated. The building was to be demolished. (photo right). Parking was allowed both sides of the road at this date.
In September that year the company were advertising items for sale from the warehouse being demolished, which potential buyers could obtain direct from the site. A quantity of Timber, as new, t and g matching 50/- per 100 feet; used Flooring 20/- per 100 feet; Timber 60/- per 100 feet; Plate Glass, large sheets, cheap.
In June 1973 Ryde Town Council decided to re-establish a Hackney carriage stand at John Street. It was proposed to be a stand for a single taxi which would be for the convenience of people without cars and who had been shopping in the vicinity.
In 1974 it was proposed to move the bus stop in John Street 200 yards westward, past the junction with Victoria Street, as part of the plan to turn the High Street into a precinct.
In 1982 an experimental order to close John Street for a weekly street market on Thursdays during the summer had been approved. It was only agreed for the one summer in able to measure its success, which could be reviewed at the end of the year.
In January 2011 the precinct in John Street was under construction, and which was later to become Minghella Square.
Sources: IW County Press, RSHG Archive
Images: Dave Bushell, RSHG Archive, Roy Brinton Collection.
Article: Ann Barrett