A Guide to Ryde in 1830
From an article in the IW Observer 1899, it gave an account of how a townsman had recently picked up an old Guide to the Island (John Albin, 1830), and sent it to the Observer newspaper with a few places marked.
Thus, they found, that “a theatre had been erected at Ryde by the late Mr Thornton, the spirited and intelligent manager of the Theatre Royal, Windsor.”
With regard to the old wherries it was evident that in point of economy they were not much behind the present system (1899). It read “The common passage fare to Portsmouth in a sailing vessel was 1s ; by the steamboat 1s.6d. including boatage to and from the vessel. In the case of imposition, summary redress may be had by applying to the magistrate. Steam vessels to Portsmouth go every morning at nine and eleven o’clock and in the afternoon at five and seven. Coaches wait for the return of the vessels, and on their arrival immediately start for Newport.”
The writer of the guide expresses regret that more care was not taken in laying out Ryde, so that streets might have run from east to west, each row of houses rising above those on the lower level so as to give them all a view of the sea. “This (he says) might very easily have been done, had the lady of the manor who sold the land on building leases prescribed a plan.”
Ryde, in 1830, had four places of worship—two episcopal churches (St. Thomas’ and St. James’) a meeting house for the Calvanistic Independents, and another for the Armenian Methodists.
The shore had evidently greatly improved, as reference was made to the “impassable gulf of mud,” rendering necessary the Pier, 1740 ft. long, and “justly esteemed the most delightful marine promenade in England.”
Author John Albin wrote a series of books in the early 19th century entitled: “A Companion to the Isle of Wight.”
Sources: IW Observer 20 May 1899
Image: RSHG Archive Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett