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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York Hotel, George Street, Ryde

THE YORK HOTEL, George Street, Ryde

Mr. A. L. Oldfield, was the proprietor of the York Hotel from 1850 and from the many remarks made by the gentry of the town who had cause to attended many functions and occasions at the hotel, he was very well respected, and his was deemed one of the best establishments of its kind in the town.

Dining Room

In 1853 his advertisement was on the front page of the Isle of Wight Observer every week. The terms for Board and Lodgings were two guineas each person per week. He also had a room appropriated for the sole use of those Ladies and Gentlemen who preferred Society and their meals at the Table d’ Hôte, thereby avoiding the expense of engaging private apartments, which had been so much complained of by the public press.

Breakfast was 1s.6d. to 2s.
Dinner from 2s.
Beds (per night) 1s.6d. to 2s.
An excellent Coffee Room and a carefully-selected stock of Wines and Spirits.

During the winter months families were boarded in private apartments at reduced charges.  Servants’ attendance was charged in the bill.

Residents of Ryde and its vicinity were respectfully informed that they could be supplied with Wines and Spirits of First-Class Quality on moderate terms, and a single bottle at the wholesale price.  Mr. Oldfield made certain the local people had every attention as well as the visitors.  Looking at the Fashionable List in the newspaper, there were a goodly number of his clientele who returned year after year.

One example of the many commendations Mr Oldfield received in the local press was 11 June 1853 when the Southern Association of Baptist Ministers were holding their annual congress at the John Street Chapel in Ryde, it was said “The ministers and their friends, were entertained on each day at the York Hotel, and all the arrangements of Mr. Oldfield were to the credit of himself, and to the comfort of his guests.”

The Philharmonic Society was established at the York Hotel in the Autumn of 1853, they held their first annual meeting in April 1854, when a sumptuous banquet was provided and a numerous and highly respectable company was present.  After the cloth was removed martial and sentiments were the most popular and the songs went on till late.  Mr. Oldfield sang “The Baltic Fleet” which elicited enthusiastic applause.

Many of the Functions, Meetings, Balls and Social Gatherings at other venues in the town of Ryde were catered for from the York Hotel, such was the quality of the spread and service provided.

In June 1867, a notice in the local press announced that Mr. E. M. Davis, had taken over the York Hotel, Ryde, and stated his intention of conducting the business in the same way that his successor so successfully catered for his numerous friends, and hoped that he would receive the same amount of support.  However, this didn’t appear to have transpired.

Opening Dinner
Only a few months later, in November 1867, The York Hotel, so long and extensively known under the able management of Mr. A. L. Oldfield, who a short time ago removed to Birmingham to take charge of the Hen & Chickens Hotel, had now passed into the hands of Mrs Tedley, who evidently had the power and skill to maintain the character of the establishment.  About 40 people sat down to a sumptuous banquet, then the usual toast were given and Mrs Tedley thanked for her hospitality.  A note had been received from Mr. Oldfield regretting that he was unable to take a journey southwards in response to their invitation.

After his wife had died and himself retired, Mr. Oldfield moved back to Ryde and took over the license of the Royal Eagle Hotel in 1883 and it was said that this favourite house was rapidly regaining its position as a first-class house.  Mr Oldfield remained there until 1885.

The York Hotel was re-constructed in 1937/38 and renamed the Royal York Hotel. That is another story.

Sources: IW Observer, RSHG Archive
Images: Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett