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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Ryde Architecture

The White Swan Inn, High Street, Ryde


This was built in 1711 and opened as a pub in 1784. It was called the White Swan by 1854, although it was often referred to as the Black Swan.  St. Mary’s RC Church was built next to it in 1846.  The pub closed in 1883 and the building was purchased and demolished by the adjacent Catholic Church, to enable the church to be extended.

According to the 1841 and 1851 Census, the landlady at that time was Mrs. Betty Williams, a 51-year-old widow, her birthplace listed as St Helens. She was living there with her daughter Louisa.  By 1875 her son-in-law George Harris, had taken over the license of The Wight Swan. Mr. Harris was also a local well-known farrier

Notice in the IW Observer 11 Aug 1883
To the Overseers of the Poor in the Parish of Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, in the County of Southampton, and to the Superintendent of the Ryde Constabulary, in the Isle of Wight, and to all whom it may concern.

I, Thomas Peacock, of Delvey House, Upper West-street, Ryde, in the Parish of Ryde, in the County of Southampton, Beerhouse Keeper, do hereby give Notice that it is my intention to apply at the General Annual Licensing Meeting to be holden at the Town Hall, Ryde, in the said Isle of Wight and County, on the 27th day of August next, for an Order sanctioning the Removal of the License now held by one George Harris, in respect of certain premise known as The White Swan Inn, situate at High-street, Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, to the House and Premises situate at Upper West-street, Ryde, in the Parish of Ryde, of which premises Messrs. W. H. Mew, Langton, and Co., of Newport and Ryde, Brewers, are the lessees or owners, of whom I rent them, and which premises are now in my occupation as a Beer Shop, and were lately occupied by James Macdonald as a beer shop.

This Notice is given under the 35th and 36th Victoria, c.94, sec.50, and the Acts amending the same.  Given under my hand this 4th day of August, one thousand eight hundred and eighty-three.    THOMAS PEACOCK

17 Quay-street Newport, I.W. (Solicitor to the Applicant)

Improvements at St Mary’s Church, IW Observer 1 Dec 1883
The White Swan in High-street, one of the oldest inns in Ryde has, during the past week, been pulled down, in order to effect improvements at St. Mary’s.  We understand that the late Countess of Clare was never able to complete St. Mary’s according to the original design, owing to inability to obtain possession of the land.  The Rev. Monsignor Cahill has, however, now obtained possession of this and other property in the neighbourhood, and extensive alterations and improvements will be carried out at St. Mary’s.

More about George Harris here

Sources: IW Observer, Tony Gale & RSHG Archive
Image: Roy Brinton Collection
Article: Ann Barrett

These articles are only meant to be a short potted history, so not all information may be included.  If you know more, plus the original sources, that you are willing to share with us, that would be much appreciated.