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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History of Ryde 1300 to 2008 In the Context of British Social History

Ryde originally consisted of a sprawling fishing village along the shore, and at the bottom of the hill that now constitutes part of the main shopping centre of the town.  The Normal lords who occupied the Island at the time knew it as “La Riche” or “La Rye”.  The French burnt it to the ground in the reign of Richard Second in 1377 as part of the ongoing aggression associated with the Hundred Years War; Newtown and Yarmouth were also attacked at that time.  Its most significant development took place in the 19th century, when the gentry followed Queen Victoria to the Island.


Amoenitas salubritas urbanitas

A beautiful, healthy town


Text shaded in grey relates to Ryde Cemetery

This page will be updated as more research is carried out.


  • 1300 ‘La Ride’  Ryde (fishing village) first seen in records.
  • 1341 Ryde is listed as one of the three entry points to the Island.
  • 1377 Ryde burnt during French raids on the Isle of Wight.
  • 1529 Upton windmill known to be established.
  • 1535 Henry VIII builds fortifications on Island coasts.
  • Ryde had always been within the boundaries of one manor which previously to the reign of Elizabeth was known inter alia as the Manor of Asshaye. The manor was held by the Benedictine Convent of nuns at Whorwell near Andover. They maintained a flourishing daughter house at Ashey, where East Ashey farm stands. [* * * * Isle of Wight County Press article of 1934 cannot vouch for any accuracy of the content of this article]
  • The Convent at Whorwell dissolved and the Manor of Ashey granted to one Giles Worsley.
  • 1545 The ‘Mary Rose’ sinks at Spithead 20 July.
  • 1574 A packway/track is in existence to enable the transport of goods up the hill to Upper Ryde.
  • 1642 Start of the English Civil War.
  • 1656 Population of Upper and Lower Ryde thought to be about 220.
  • 1666 Great Fire of London starts 2 September.
  • 1696 Introduction of the Window Tax.
  • 1700 Three centuries ago, Ryde comprised two hamlets, Upper Ryde, a small farming community, situated on the brow of the hill, and Lower Ryde, nestling at the foot of the hill by the water’s edge.   A rough road linked the two settlements, approximately where St Thomas’ Street runs today.   Visitors from the mainland would be rowed as far as the sandbanks permitted and then be carried pick-a-back fashion to the shore across the mud flats, which were dangerous with patches of blue slipper clay.    This was most famously described by Fielding in July 1754; he wrote: “I was at last hoisted into a small boat and being rowed pretty near the shore, was taken up by two sailors, who waded me through the mud and placed me on the land”.   Eventually a small pontoon was erected.  Because travellers were dependent on the tides to leave the Island, many of the new buildings in the early development of the town were the various inns and pubs, which provided a waiting place for visitors and traders.
  • 1705 Henry Player, a Hampshire Brewer, bought the Manor of Ashey and Ryde (Buckland) for £3200 from Sir John Dillington.
  • 1711 Henry Player dies and his son Thomas Player starts to allow development of housing.
  • 1714 George I became King
  • 1719 St Thomas’s Chapel was built by Thomas Player, son of Henry Player as a Chapel of Ease for the family – Newchurch or Binstead would have been the alternative place of worship for them. Dedicated on 27 June.
  • 1721 Thomas Player dies 15 May. William Player inherited the estate from his father, Thomas, but as he was only eight years old, Trustees administered it until he came of age.
  • 1727 King George II succeeded George I.
  • 1735 Ashy Down seamark built as an aid to navigation.
  • 1754 Henry Fielding the novelist visits Ryde and describes his departure from Ryde before a pontoon was built. July.
  • 1760 King George III came to the throne. This became the age of major change in England, with the mechanisation of spinning and weaving, the building of canals, and improvements in transport over better roads. Life on the Island probably was not much affected by these changes.
  • 1760 St John’s House built for William Amhurst. In 1796 it became the home of Edward Simeon.
  • 1771 Incorporation of the Act for the Poor of the Isle of Wight 8 May.
  • 1780/81 Union St was set out by William Player, eventually to be named Union Street after the Act of Union joining Britain and Ireland.
  • 1782 On 29th August, the sinking of the Royal George at Spithead resulted in the drowning of almost all her crew; the dead were buried on the sandbanks in an area that was later to become the Strand.
  • 1787 HMS Sirius heads a fleet of eleven ships sailing to the new penal colony at Botany Bay sailing from the Mother Bank to Australia on 13 May. They arrived in Australia on 26 January 1788.
  • 1789 William Player bought Ryde Farm from Lord Mount Edgecombe. His daughter Elizabeth Lydia married Dr John Lind the same year.  The Player-Lind alliance continued to be a huge influence in the further development of the town.
  • 1790 Stainers Dairy established in Upper Ryde –
    closed 31 Dec 1997.
  • 1792 to 1815 Wars with France.
  • 1802/03 Yelf’s Hotel established in Union Street – initially bilt by John Cooper, a brewer in the town, it was renamed Yelf’s after Cooper sold it to Robert Yelf.
  • 1804 Wordsworth wrote I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
  • 1805  Battle of Trafalgar, 21 October.
  • Post 1805 William Player buys the balance of the Manor of Ryde and Ashey from descendants of Joseph Bettesworth who had obtained the land from Lord Mount Edgcumbe in 1789.
  • 1807 Ryde House is built by the then Lord of the Manor George Player. He lived there until his death in 1843. His daughter Maria Jane remained there until her death in 1867. The house passed to a niece who let it out in 1875 and after several occupants the house after WWII became the home of Westwing School for Girls which moved there from Vernon Square. It became a nursing home.
  • 1809 Mr Milner’s Academy for boy boarders opened in Upper Ryde 17 January.
  • 1810 Jane Player the wife of William Player obtains an Act to sell long leases in Ryde.
  • 1810 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was written by Jane Taylor.
  • 1811 The population of Ryde was 1,601.  Ryde’s building boom continued until the 1850’s
  • 1811 Prince of Wales became the Prince Regent because of the mental illness of King George III.
  • 1811 The 2nd Earl Spencer of Althorp and Westfield, builds Westfield House. On his death in 1834 it was sold to Thomas Thistlethwayte and in 1843 it was bought by Sir Augustus Clifford and remained in the Clifford family until Miss Augusta Clifford died in 1931. Later it was a hotel and then it was divided into apartments.
  • 1812 The St. Thomas’ National School was built in Melville St – later known as the Vectis Hall. It was opened 31 August. It was the school for about 200 boys and girls who previously would only have had access to Dame Schools. The Countess Spencer was responsible for raising the funds to build the school, and she persuaded the Lady of the Manor to give a piece of land. At the time, the area would have been fields on the edge of the town, and the plot was given with a peppercorn rent. The building can be seen on the 1819 map of Ryde.
  • 1812 Ryde Pier Act – petition to Parliament 24 January – passed into law 17 July. The first meeting of the Ryde Pier Company was held on 30 July. The pier, designed by John Kent of Southampton, cost £12,000. It was one of the first piers in the country, and it set Ryde up as a popular seaside resort and the principle entry point to the Island.
  • 1812 Around this time the Royal York Hotel was built in George Street. The Georgian building was replaced in 1917/18 by an art deco building.
  • 1813 Pier foundation stone laid 29 June.
  • 1813 Buckingham Villa in Pelham Fields built by the 1st Marquis.
  • 1813 Pride and Prejudice published by Jane Austen.
  • 1814 Stephenson built his first steam locomotive.
  • 1814 The nearly completed pier opened on 26th July 1814, and was, as it still is, a timber-planked promenade. The original structure was originally almost wholly timber, and measured 527m/1740 feet.
  • 1815 Battle of Waterloo on 18 June
  • 1815 Robert Milligan a 28 year old Lieutenant in the 11th Light Dragoons fought and was severely wounded in the Battle of Waterloo, however he survived and lived another 60 yers.  He died aged 88 in 1875 and is buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1817 First steamboats, Paddle Steamer Britannia operates for a short period of four weeks to Portsmouth from Ryde Pier 19 May. operated between Ryde and Portsmouth for only four weeks.
  • 1818 Storm destroyed houses on Ryde Esplanade and wrecked 750 ft of Pier 4 March.
  • 1818 Publication of Frankenstein by Mary Shelly.
  • 1819 – 1821 Westmont built in the Queens Road by Dr John Lind. The house later became part of the complex of  Ryde School.
  • 1820 King George III died and the Prince Regent became King George IV.
  • 1821 The population of Ryde was 2363; a copy of this early census is held by the County Record Office.
  • 1822 George Player’s second daughter Elizabeth Lydia married Captain Thomas Brigstocke.
  • 1825 The steam boat service started in earnest,  Paddle Steamer Union starts summer service from Portsmouth to Ryde 5 April. and never looked back.
  • 1827 St Thomas Church was built by George Player to replace the previous chapel of ease, at a cost of £3,500.
  • 1827 St James Church was built in Lind Street.
  • 1829 The Ryde Improvement Act of 1829, an “Act of Parliament for Paving, Watching, Lighting, and Cleaning the town of Ryde”, gave recognition of Ryde as a town. Previously, there had been no single authority: the Lord of the Manor, or the Vestry would have held authority, but this often lead to disagreements. The Gentry got together to sponsor the Act, and appointed Town Commissioners to hold office. Taxes were raised on the people of the town, but unfortuately, most of the money was spent on the building of the market place, and left little for paving or lighting!  The boundaries of the town corresponded to the boundaries of the Player Estate, and did not change until the 1930’s
  • 1829 Brigstocke Terrace, started in 1827 was finished. It was built by Thomas Dashwood to the design of James Sanderson.
  • 1829 Robert Peel established the first disciplined Police Force in London.
  • 1830 King George IV died on June 26 and was succeeded by William IV.
  • 1830 Development which would continue over the next ten years starts on building large houses on Spencer Road.
  • 1830/31 The Market Place and Town Hall were erected in Lind Street. The design of the building was by James Sanderson. The cope stone was laid for Ryde Town Hall 1 June.
  • 1831 The population of Ryde was ………..?
  • 1831 Post Office moved from Lower Ryde to Union Street 8 July.
  • 1831 William Woodrow opens his Crown Commercial Hotel with a grand dinner 13 July.
  • 1832 The Great Reform Act. Isle of Wight MPs reduced in number but Newport retains two members of Parliament.
  • 1832 Tennyson wrote the Lady of Shallott.
  • 1833 Great Britain abolished slavery in all its possessions.
  • 1833 Extensions to the pier took the overall length to 681m/2250 feet.
  • 1834 Ryde Castle built to the East of the pier by John Dashwood. During WWI it was a military convalescent home and became an hotel and hospitality suite.
  • 1834 New east wing of the Pier Hotel (site of Western Gardens) opened 5 June.
  • 1834 Ryde Mechanics Institute opened by Sir Richard Simeon 9 June.
  • 1834 George John, 2nd Earl Spencer of Althorp and Westfield dies 10 November.
  • 1836 Charles Dickens became well known with publication of the Picwick Papers ; Oliver Twist was published in 1837 and Nicholas Nickleby in 1838.
  • 1836 The Royal Victoria Arcade was opened 1st July, named after Princess Victoria, later to become Queen Victoria. Her coat of arms can be seen over the entrance – a rare occurrence of the arms of a princess.
  • 1837 King William IV died on June 20 and Queen Victoria came to the throne aged 18.
  • 1838 Mr S W Stears authorised to employ personal to make gas at Ryde 28 September.
    1838 Gasworks flooded by Monkton Mead Brook leaving Ryde in darkness 30 November.
  • 1840 Queen Victoria married her cousin, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
  • 1840 Introduction of the modern postal system by Rowland Hill, with the penny stamp 10th January.
  • 1840 An application was granted for the Magistrates to hold Petty Sessions in the Town Hall.
  • 1840 In September George Player, Lord of the Manor of Ryde, gave an acre of land, an old sand pit, to the town for use as a burial ground.
  • 1840 Central part of Ryde laid out including exclusive areas such as Vernon Square.
  • 1841 The population of Ryde was 5840.
  • 1841 The Foundation Stone was laid for Holy Trinity Church on 14 October by Elizabeth Lydia Lind on a plot of land which she, together with her son and daughters gave in Upper Dover Street. They also generously contributed £1500.00 to the building fund.
  • 1842 The Old Parish Cemetery was officially opened when the chapel was consecrated, and dedicated to St Paul.  Some of the earliest graves identified so far by Ryde Social Heritage Group include those of Charles SAUNDERS, Mary-Ann OSMOND, Lawrence BROWN, Thomas MURRAY, Harriet CHESTER, Henry GROVES, Sarah PRICE, John WAGNER, and Emma COOPER.
  • 1843 First meeting of Ryde Dispensary Subscribers 4 January.
  • 1843 The British Schools were built in St Johns Rd.
  • 1843 ‘Old’ Wesleyan Chapel demolition begins before rebuild 3 July
    1843 Queen Victoria and party land at Ryde Pier Head 28 August.
    1842 30 April George Player lord of the Manor of Ashey and Ryde died, he is buried in St Thomas’ Church.
  • 1844 Queen Victoria leased the Osborne Estate, and purchased it in 1845.
  • 1844 Wesleyans open their new chapel in Nelson Street 17 January.
    1844 Binstead Holy Cross Church re-opened after renovation 2 July.
    1844 First Horticultural Exhibition in Ryde Town Hall 3 July.
    1844 M. Morgan obtains concession for Ryde Pier tolls at £2,250 pa 28 November.
  • 1844/5 Holy Trinity Church was built in Dover Street – it was designed by Thomas Hellyer who is buried in Ryde Cemetery. It was consecrated in 1845.
  • 1845 First Isle of Wight Horticultural Show held in National School at Ryde 2 July.
  • 1845-1849 Potato famine in Ireland.
  • 1845/46 St Mary’s Roman Catholic church, a Bequest from the Countess of Clare, was built to a design by Joseph Hansom, who also designed the coach named after him.
  • 1846 Prince Albert laid the corner stone of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. (Reputed to be built on the site of the old manor house of the Player family). The building was used by Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort.
    1846 The Ryde & IW Permanent building Society founded. It would be taken over in 1954.
  • 1846 Rev Thomas S. Guyer, Congregational Minister, dies 5 March.
  • 1847 Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights published by the Bronte sisters.
  • 1848 Opium Wars with China.
  • 1849 Isle of Wight Infirmary was opened on 9th November, to the design of Thomas Hellyer who remained the Honorary Architect for four decades. It became the IW County Hospital.
  • 1849 Forensic Society of Ryde founded 6 December.
  • 1851 The population of Ryde was 7,147.
  • 1851 The Great Exhibition was held in London
  • 1853 to 1856 Crimean War.
  • 1854 The Ryde Improvement Act: Under the Act, twenty-seven Commissioners were elected, to administer the Town: William COX, Thomas DASHWOOD, Jas COLENUTT, George RENDALL, George RIDDETT, Shem COMDEN, Henry HILLIER, George OAKLEY, Edward THURLOW, Thomas HELLYER, William GIBBS, William GABELL, Joseph FAIRALL, Thomas DENNIS, Robert YELF, John HARBOUR, William CUTLER, Robert BAKER, Joseph FUTCHER, Joseph LITTLEFIELD, J. W. JOLLIFFE, William STRATTON, Charles DIMMICK, Matthew NEWMAN, Joseph HARBOUR, Joseph WILLIAMS, and John STANNARD; William Henry PULLEN was the Clerk. Prior to this act, the appointed Commissioners were mainly the gentry, who did not live on the Island year round, and only a core of 12 or so, were left to carry on the business of the town. This act had a great impact on the future development of the town.
  • 1854 Foundation stone laid for George St/Melville St Congregation Church 7 December.
  • 1855 In January, a plan of the proposed Esplanade was submitted to the Lords of the Admiralty for approval. The construction of the section between the George Street Slipway and the Cornwall Street Slipway was carried out 1855/6/7, by the reclamation of some 20 acres from the sea, and at a cost of £5,000.
  • 1855 The Ashey Waterworks were constructed, and a great celebration was held to inaugurate the water supply to the town.
  • 1855 Alms Houses built in Newport Road (now Newport St).  They were founded by the widow of Francis B S Wilder for occupation by twelve poor women.
  • 1855 National School built in Green St, and the school moved from the building in Mellville Street.
  • 1855 William Thomas Rickard is awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in the Putrid Sea in Crimea on 11 October. He died on 21 February 1905 and is buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1855 IW Mercury first published – longest running local newspaper 5 May.
  • 1857 Closure of St Thomas’ and Holy Trinity’s churchyard and vaults, which were full.
  • 1858 Sam Browne was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery in a battle at Seerporah, India on 31 August.  He died on March 14 1901 and is buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1859 Building of the Victoria Pier began but work was severely hampered.  It finally opened November 1863 with only 970 feet of it constructed.  It was demolished in 1916.
  • 1859 Binstead burial ground opened.
  • 1859 Darwin published the Origin of the Species, and Dickens, The Tale of Two Cities.
  • 1859 On 11 January  the Ryde Town Commissioners became a constitutional burial board and took over the running of the cemetery business. They held their first meeting on 28 February 1860. Present at the first meeting: George RIDDETT (Chair), William GABELL, William STRATTON, James FAIRALL, James LITTLEFIELD, William GIBBS, William COX, James HARBOUR, John STANNARD, William CUTLER, Matthew NEWMAN, Edward THURLOW, George OAKLEY, John M. JOLLIFFE, Thomas DENNIS, Joseph FUTCHER, John HARBOUR, Robert BAKER, Thomas HELLYER, James COLENUT, Henry HILLIER, Shem COMDEN, Charles DIMMICK, James WILLIAMS. (24 men). One of their first duties was to deal with the need to extend the cemetery. They purchased just over three acres of land from the Player Estate, at a cost of £750, including land that was previously a sand pit, the transfer being completed in April 1862.
  • 1861 A pair of new chapels was erected in the Cemetery, one to be Church of England and the other Non Conformist. Mr Francis NEWMAN was the Architect and Surveyor, and Mr Thomas SIBLEY was the builder. They also designed the Cemetery Lodge, which was built by Mr Meader, to be used by the Superintendent of the Cemetery, the first of whom was Mr Henry IMPORT.
  • 1861 Civil War in America began on the 12th April.
  • 1861 The foundation stone was laid for the church of St Michael and All Angels in Swanmore. It was opened in 1862
  • 1861 Prince Albert died of typhoid fever.
  • 1861 The Population of Ryde was 9,269.
  • 1861 Meeting in the Institute to set up the Ryde Penny Bank 23 January.
    1862 Foundation stone for George Street Baptist Church laid 20 March.
    1862 St Michael & All Angles Church opened at Swanmore 24 April
  • 1862 The Reverend Charles Richard SUMNER, Bishop of Winchester, consecrated the southern portion of the cemetery and chapel on 28 November 1862; the northern portion and chapel remained un-consecrated.
  • 1862 The railway came to the Island when the Cowes to Newport railwaywas opened.
  • 1863 A portion of the cemetery was set apart for the burial of Roman Catholics and the land was consecrated by Bishop GRANT  – there is a memorial cross to commemorate this occasion.
  • 1864 The Pier at Ryde was lengthened several times and was a great success.  So many people used it that a tramway service was proposed in 1861 and a second pier was built next to the first, opening 29 August 1864. This allowed trams to take passengers from the Pier Head to Ryde Esplanade.  It opened for passenger traffic with horse-drawn vehicles, (19 August) having made an unsuccessful trial with a locomotive “Vectis” in March of that year.
    1864 Ryde St John’s to Shanklin railway opened, 23 August.
  • 1865 Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland.
  • 1865 Ryde Gas Bill before the House of Commons 14 August.
    1866 Ryde constituted as a separate parish under the Newchurch Parish Act.
  • 1866 Passengers able to now travel all the way to Ventnor by railway from Ryde 10 September.
  • 1867 Second Reform Bill passed, giving the vote to many portions of the labour force.
  • 1867 The original Chapel of St Paul became the town mortuary.
  • 1868 The Cemetery Committee recommended to the Burial Board that they should make enquiries about buying more land to extend the cemetery
  • 1868 On the 23rd July, by Royal Charter, the Borough of Ryde was incorporated within the boundaries of the Town of Ryde as constituted by the Ryde Improvement Act of 1854. The Returning Officer received the Charter on the 29th July 1868. It is possible that Queen Victoria’s affection for the town following her many visits during her stay at Osborne may have influenced her decision to grant Borough status on such a small town.
  • 1868 The Town Hall was extended and the clock tower was added.
  • 1868 Thomas Dashwood was selected by his fellow councillors as the first Mayor of Ryde.
  • 1868 On the 15th December, a special meeting was held to transfer ” all the rights, powers, estates, property and liabilities of the Ryde Commissioners to the Council of the Borough of Ryde “, and the seal was affixed to the document of transfer. The first meeting of the Borough Council was held in the Town Hall on the 22nd December 1868.
  • 1868 Augustus George Vernon Harcourt chemist owner of St Clare becomes a Fellow of the Royal Society 4 June.
  • 1868 A. H. Hassall acquires the land for the Royal National Hospital for Chest Infections, at Ventnor on the 11th October.
  • 1869 In January, the first meeting of the Council of the Borough of Ryde acting as the Ryde Burial Board was held.
  • 1868 The negotiations for the development of the railway from St John’s Station to the Esplanade were long and protracted, commencing in December, and continuing until July 1900, when the line was opened. The original proposals of the Railway Company included the laying of a double line along the Esplanade (at ground level), through Cornwall Street and across the Strand and Simeon Street and part of Monkton Street.  The Council strongly opposed any running of locomotives along these roads, and much litigation ensued opposing the several Bills in Parliament in which these proposals were contained.
  • 1869 The construction of the parish church of All Saints was commenced to a design of Sir G. G. Scott, at a cost of £20,000, the corner-stone being laid by Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (Helene, daughter of Queen Victoria) on behalf of Queen Victoria on the 4th August 1869; the consecration of the Church being performed by Bishop Wilberforce in January 1872.
  • 1869 The School of Art was established by Mr Benjamin Barrow, in rooms in the Town Hall. Income for the school was derived from fees, and from the Department of Science and Arts in South Kensington. Eventually a purpose built Art School was designed and erected on the site of an old cottage at the Star Street end of George Street, where the Library now stands.
  • 1870 On 8 September, the Empress Eugene, wife of Napoleon III, Emperor of France, and a long time friend of Queen Victoria, landed at Ryde Pier from Sir John Burgoyne’s yacht ” The Gazelle” after her flight from Paris. The boat had left France to escape the riots in Paris where the citizens were up in arms demanding a Republic.  She spent a night in the York Hotel in George Street – later to be known as the Royal York Hotel. The Empress was apparently in such a dishevelled state when she landed at Ryde, that she was refused entrance to the grander Pier Hotel!
  • 1870 Appley Tower built by Sir William Hutt who owned the Appley Estate.
  • 1871 In January, consideration was given by the Council to the formation of a School Board under the Education Act of 1870, and an Order for the election of a School Board was made in the following month. The School Board continued to be the authority for education until the year 1923, when this function was transferred to the Isle of Wight County Council.
  • 1871 Tram tracks from the Esplanade to St John’s Station, with a stop at Simeon Street, ran through a house in the Strand, to avoid the tram tracks running on Cornwall Street; the stream ran under the road, and the road would not have supported the tram’s weight.
  • 1871 The population of the town was 10,851.
  • 1871 The Theatre Royal was built on the site of an older theatre in St Thomas’s Square.
  • 1871 Enquiries made to the Player Estate about buying about 9 acres to extend the Cemetery. They received a reply that only 4 acres were available.
  • 1871 A proposal that the Ryde Gas Works should become the property of the Borough proved to be a very controversial subject and the cause of much litigation between the Council and the then Ryde Gaslight Company.  In July 1871, arbitrators were appointed to determine the price to be paid by the Corporation.
  • 1871 Ryde School Board formed functioned until 1923 when taken over by the County. February.
    1871 Inaugural address by Vivian Webber at the Ryde School of Art 7 March.
    1871 Tramway opened from Ryde Castle to St John’s via Simeon Street Station 7 August.
  • 1871 New Theatre Royal built on the site of the old theatre in St Thomas’ Square.
  • 1872 In February an application was made to borrow £61,243 for the purchase of the Gas Works.  From this point, negotiations appear to have broken down, and relations between the Council and the Company became very strained and the Company served a Writ on the Corporation.  There was a body of opinion in the Borough opposed to the purchase, and this resulted in some hard feelings in the Council Chamber.  On the 5th November 1872, the Minutes show that 10 Councillors and five Aldermen tendered their resignations “with reference to the intention of the Council to repudiate the Contract for the purchase of the Ryde Gas Works “.
  • 1872 In May, Ratepayers in Arthur Street objected to the extension of the Cemetery
  • 1872 All Saints Church in Ryde is completed. The site of the church had been purchased for £1,284 but after the final work, which was on the Vestry in 1891, the total cost was about £18,000.
  • 1872 In December, a notice was put in the IW Observer, IW Times, and Ryde News: Borough of Ryde, wanted to purchase in the immediate vicinity of Ryde a suitable piece of land for a cemetery, particulars to be sent to the Town Clerk’s office at the Town Hall.
  • 1873 First pawnshop opened under license in Ryde 1 July.
  • 1873 The matter of the Gas Works appears to have ended in November, by a Judgement in the High Court in favour of the Corporation against the claims of the Gas Company.
  • 1874 Thomas Hardy wrote Far From the Madding Crowd.
  • 1873 The water trough for horses built on the Esplanade – close to the Esplanade Hotel. The trough was provided to the town by Miss M H P Brigstocke. It remained in place until the restructuring of the area in the early 1960s.
    1874 The School of Art was opened at the top of George Street, on present Library site. The foundation stone had been laid by the Crown Princess, later the Empress Frederick of Germany.
    1874 Ryde Steam Ferry Company starts service and causes a price war 14 July.
  • 1875 Gilbert and Sullivan began their writing partnership.
  • 1875 In December, the Outer Basin and Quays of the Esplanade, as well as land reclaimed from the sea, was transferred from the Pier Company to the Corporation.  Several proposals were later made for its extension Eastwards including a road and footpath the whole distance between Ryde and Puckpool.
  • 1875 Meeting to try and agree a coastal Esplanade from Ryde to Seaview 06 July.
    1875 Trial railway trip made from Ryde to Newport in 20 minutes 22 October.
    1875 Ryde to Newport Railway opened to St John’s station 20 December.
  • 1876 In May, approval was given to the scheme for a new Railway Pier and connection with the 1.W. Railway at St. John’s Station through a tunnel under Monkton Street.
  • 1876 Ryde tramway opened along the Esplanade as far as the Castle 18 January.
    1876 Inspector forbids steam trains and horse trams to run in parallel at Melville St 10 March.
  • 1876 Foundation stone laid for a new Primitive Methodist chapel at Oakfield 30 May.
    1876 Steam locomotive trial on Ryde tramway from St John’s to Pier Head 09 September.
  • 1876 In September, a plan and estimate for the extension of the Esplanade to Seaview was approved and application made to the Local Government Board for sanction to borrow the money for the work.  However, a public meeting held at Seaview (which area was then not within the Borough boundary) resolved that the project was not one that the district was prepared to fall in with, and requested a remodelling of the scheme.  A roller skating rink was developed close to West Hill Road giving the name Rink Road. Apparently, a rail station was developed there for a short time.
  • 1876 The Burial Board resolved that soil removed from the Cemetery should be deposited on the enclosed land near the Esplanade.
  • 1876 Roller skating rink constructed off West Hill Road (hence Rink Road).
  • 1877 Victoria declared Empress of India.
  • 1877 In February a letter was written to the Brigstocke Estate to request what terms they would sell about 6 acres of land between the west wall of the Cemetery and Pellhurst Road, the width of the present cemetery
  • 1877 The first proposal for development of the foreshore west of the Ryde Pier was contained in a resolution on the 24th July, “That the necessary steps be taken to form an Esplanade West of the Pier to Binstead, and that application be made to the owners of that portion of Pier Terrace facing Union Street asking on what terms they will be willing to sell the property to make an approach to the proposed Esplanade”.
  • 1877 Ryde Rowing Club founded 20 June.
    1877 Ryde Cemetery consecrated 30 June.
    1877 Plans to develop foreshore to the west of the Pier.
    1877 Seaview Pier Company comes into existence 20 December.
    1877 Bettesworth Road school opened.
  • 1878 A plan of the proposed extension of the Esplanade from the Sluice at Cornwall Street to the Eastern Borough boundary at Appley Slipway was approved.  This work, together with the construction of the Canoe Lake, was completed in the year 1880.
  • 1878 The start of digging the cut and cover Ryde Tunnel 2 July.1879 New Congregational chapel at Haylands 16 November.
  • 1879 In March, New Cemetery Regulations were drawn up,  including a regulation that headstones were only allowed on the graves where an exclusive right of burial was purchased, and no bare earth was to be left exposed.
  • 1880 In April a little over 6 acres of land were purchased from the Player-Brigstocke family estate, to extend the present cemetery as far as the Pellhurst Road, with the proviso that a strip of land 25 feet from the road should be planted with trees and shrubs, and “not permit any corpses to enter the land on the SE or W sides of the proposed extension”. This large extension to the cemetery would bring the total area to just under 12 acres.
  • 1881 The population of Ryde stood at 11,461.
  • 1880 The Canoe Lake was opened.
  • 1880 On 12th July a third pier was opened, alongside the first two, providing a direct steam railway link to the pier-head from St John’s Station.
  • 1882 The layout of the final extension of the Cemetery was completed by Francis Newman, Borough Surveyor, including roads, paths and plots.
  • 1883 Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island.
  • 1887 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote A Study in Scarlet, and introduced the character of Sherlock Holmes to the public.
  • 1887 Queen Victoria celebrated her Golden Jubilee after 50 years on the throne.
  • 1888 Oscar Wilde published his first play – The Happy Prince.
  • 1891 The population was reported to be ……….. ?
  • 1895 H.G. Wells wrote The Time Machine.
  • 1895 A concert pavilion was constructed at the pier-head and over the next sixteen years the original wooden piles were replaced in cast iron.
  • 1897 Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee – the 60th Anniversary of her Coronation.
  • 1897 In June, Tetsunosuke Suzuki, a Japanese sailor, and a Specialist Swordsmith on board His Imperial Majesty’s ship, the Fuji, died of peritonitis during the fleet review held for the Diamond Jubilee and was buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1897 Development of the western Esplanade began with the proposed purchase of houses in Pier Terrace; this proposal met with objections and there were also refusals of consent from the owners of the foreshore, and it was not until October 1900, that it was resolved to take all necessary steps to carry out the works to Pier Terrace.
  • 1897 A fine organ was erected as the town’s memorial of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee
  • 1899 Queen Victoria opened the new children’s ward at the County Hospital.
  • 1899 to 1901 The Boer War in South Africa.
  • 1900 In March, Miss M. H. P. Brigstocke kindly offered to find the money required to purchase the Simeon Street Recreation ground.  An illuminated address was presented to Miss Brigstocke by the Council on the occasion of the deeds of the ground being formally received by the Mayor. For a number of years prior to 1891, this land had been leased by the Council and used as a public recreation ground.
  • 1900 Beatrix Potter published The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
  • 1901 On 22 January, Queen Victoria died at Osborne House.
  • 1901 Edward VII came to the throne age 59.
  • 1901 The census showed the population of the town to be ………..?
  • 1902 The Western Enclosure was formally opened by the Royal Governor of the Isle of Wight, H.R.H. the Princess Beatrice, on the 25th July
  • 1903 Electricity was switched on in Ryde by the Mayor, Mr A Millward, on 1st October at the local works of the IW Electric Light Company in Benett Street
  • 1904 Miss Brigstocke a well-loved and respected member of the Brigstocke family died at the age of 80 in November. She had been a generous benefactor to the town, including support to the County hospital, and the building of Almshouses in Player Street
  • 1904 J.M. Barrie wrote Peter Pan.
  • 1905 The long awaited bus service linking Ryde to many other towns and villages began.
  • 1906 Cemetery Road was changed to Milligan Road
  • 1907 On New years Day, the Ryde lifeboat Selina, set out to search for a man who had been seen struggling in a rowing boat near the Cornwall slip. The crew searched in vain, and finally made the decision to return home. However, the Selina capsized as it neared the pier, and the nine men were thrown into the freezing water. Their cries went unheard, and they drifted all night clinging onto the upturned boat until they reached Southsea, by which time two of the men had died. Frank Haynes and Henry Heward were buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1910 George V succeeded Edward VII.
  • 1911 Leonard PERKIS, a Ryde Fireman died while testing new equipment in Aldershot. He is buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1912 The Titanic sank in the north Atlantic. Two men from Ryde died when the ship went down: Mr H. FAIRALL, 38, who was born in Ryde, signed-on to the Titanic in Belfast on 4 April 1912, for her delivery trip to Southampton. He gave his address as 31 Surrey Street, Isle of Wight. As a first class steward he received monthly wages of £3 15s. His last ship had been the Olympic. Fairall died in the sinking. His body, if recovered, was never identified. Mr Arthur Ernest NICHOLSON, 64, from the Isle of Wight, boarded the Titanic at Southampton as a first class passenger (ticket number 693, £26). He was enroute to New York City to visit his elderly sister, to assist her financially and to make necessary arrangements for her care in her advancing years. He died in the sinking, his body was later recovered by the MacKay Bennett.
  • 1913 Sons and Lovers written by D.H. Lawrence.
  • 1913 Michael Maybrick died and was buried in the Cemetery. He held the office of Mayor five times from 1900. He was also known as Stephen Adams to the musical public, and wrote many well known popular songs including The Holy City.
  • 1914 World War I began on 4 August, and lasted until 11 November 1918. Gt. Britain suffered 900,000 dead. World War I. Actually officially ended in 1919, as 1918 was an Armistice.
  • 1918 There are 23 Commonwealth War Graves for WW1 in Ryde Cemetery, recording the memorials of 22 men and one woman of Ryde. These have all been documented on the website of the Ryde Social Heritage Group.
  • 1918 Gustav Holst wrote The Planet Suites.
  • 1918 Women over the age of 30 were given the vote.
    1921  The official census returns show an increase in the population so far as Ryde is concerned of 687 over the figures of the year 1911 and as in other parts of the country there is a preponderance of females over males.  The 1921 figures for Ryde are – total population of 11295, males 4570, females 6725.
  • 1922 In August, it was proposed that plans should be prepared for the erection of a permanent Pavilion. Its location was decided following a referendum of the ratepayers; the Eastern Esplanade was selected, and sketch plans drawn up by Messrs. Vincent and West. Final decisions were not made until September 1925, when it was resolved that the Council take immediate steps for the erection of the Pavilion.  In January 1926, the Council unanimously approved that application be made for sanction to borrow £10,025, and the tender for the construction by Messrs. Walter Macfarlane & Co., was subsequently accepted.  The work was carried out during the winter of 1926/1927,
  • 1926 Winnie the Pooh written by A.A. Milne.
  • 1926 A further improvement to the Western Esplanade in the form of a new Bandstand and Enclosure was carried out by the Council and was officially opened on 30th July by the Mayor, Councillor R. Rowland Russell.
  • 1927 The opening ceremony of the newly built Pavilion was performed by the Mayor, Alderman W. H. P. F. Thirkell, on the 23rd June.
  • 1928 Franchise extended to women over age of 21. Penicillin discovered.
  • 1929 Following a fatal accident when a bus turned over at the bottom of Union Street, the decision was made to widen the road leading to the Pier (Pier Street, as it then was called, was bounded on the North side by the Pier Hotel and other properties, which had to be demolished. The final scheme, which included improvements to the western Esplanade, was approved in 1931.
  • 1930 Ashley Gardens was opened, joining Monkton Street with the Esplanade. The Local Authority demolished Ashley House to provide the space.
  • 1930’s Great Depression world wide.
  • 1932 Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley.
  • 1932 In January the demolition of the Pier Hotel was completed, and on the 26th March the new concrete carriageway was opened to traffic. In April, The Mayor, Alderman E. C. Goble carried out the formal opening ceremony of the Esplanade Improvement Scheme, which included the new layout of the Western Gardens.
  • 1933 The Borough was extended after 1st April, under the Isle of Wight Review Order, to include St Helen’s urban district, and parts of the rural district, which include parts of the parishes of Ashey, Binstead, Brading, and Whippingham.  The number of Aldermen increased to seven, and Councillors to 21; there were five wards, and the Mayor at theat time was Alderman E. C. Goble.
  • 1933 On 6th June, a fire in the Town Hall cause extensive damage. The fire spread by way of the organ and organ loft, to the floor of the hall and the furnishings, including several valuable pictures.  The only parts which escaped complete destruction were the Small Hall, Council Chamber and offices. The cause of the fire is, to this day, unknown, but could well have been due to the exceptionally clear day with brilliant sunshine resulting in a concentration of intense heat through the thick glass of the roof lights. The reconstruction of the two Halls afforded an opportunity for improved facilities for the various functions held there, and these included the provision of a kitchen and servery, better dressing-rooms for the ladies and for the artistes appearing on the platform, the installation of a hardwood floor for dancing, and the removal of the War Memorial from inside the Hall to a more suitable setting outside at ground level. In addition to these improvements, the organ destroyed in the fire was replaced by a splendid Walker instrument, thereby perpetuating the memorial donated by the residents for the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The halls were officially re-opened on Ist June, 1934, by the Mayor, Alderman E. Hayden.
  • 1936 The Commodore Cinema was opened – the largest cinema on the Island
  • 1936 King George V died 20th January 1936, and was succeeded by his son who took the title of King Edward VIII, who abdicated in October 1936. George VI came to the throne and reined until 1952.
  • 1937 Tolkein published The Hobbit.
  • 1939 Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September. Over the next six years, the war involved many countries in Europe: Denmark, Norway, Holland and Belgium. Italy joined Germany in 1940. In 1941, America joined Britain, allowing Britain access to war materials. The war extended into North Africa. In June 1941, Britain and the Soviet Union signed a treaty; on 7 December, Japan joined the war by attacking Pearl Harbour. The World War II lasted until V.E. (victory in Europe) Day, the 8th of May 1945. The final surrender came on 14 August with victory over Japan (V.J. day) after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
  • 1939 to 1946 Commonwealth War Graves in Ryde Cemetery record the deaths of 29 Ryde men who perished in this global war. These have all been documented on the website of the Ryde Social Heritage Group.
  • 1945 The Galleon Café opened in Union Street – this and Beti’s café (now Hursts) were the gossip centres for the town
  • 1945 to 1950 the town gradually returned to normal following the war.  Bomb damage was repaired, and the first new houses to be built where bombs had destroyed the Victorian villas, were on each side of the road at the West street end of Arthur Street. Prefabs were built on Great Preston Road and Arundel Road.
  • 1951 The population was recorded as ………?
  • 1952 Death of King George VI.
  • 1953 Rationing finally ended.
  • 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 1956 On 2 July George Robert Brigstocke of the Inner Temple and Lord of the Manor of Ashey and Ryde died at Ryde, he is buried in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 1961 The population of Ryde was 22,500.
  • 1961 In May, the Theatre Royal in St Thomas’ Square burned down and was demolished.
  • 1965 On 31st August Lord Mountabatten unveiled a memorial in Ashley Gardens to the men who lost their lives in the sinking of the Royal George
  • 1966/67  The Westminster Bank was built on the site of the old Theatre Royal
  • 1971 Census returns put the population size as ……….?
  • 1972  the old steam mill in Green street was demolished. The original walls with window arches form part of the wall of the car park on the corner of Station St. Prior to demolition, the building was used as a storage facility for the Theatre Royal
  • 1973 The Wilder Alms Houses on Newport Street were rebuilt, set back from the road
  • 1974 Medina Borough Council took over the cemetery.
  • 1981 The population was counted as …….?.
  • 1989 Ryde Harbour was built
  • 1989 Vernon House in Vernon Square was rebuilt – only the pillars remain of the original façade
  • 1991 The Population stood at ……….?
  • 1992 Osborne Court Hotel was destroyed by fire
  • 1993 (?) The gates at the Pellhurst Road end of the cemetery were closed and barbed wire fence was erected
  • 1995 The Baptist Church on George Street was damaged by fire
  • 1995 Administration of the cemetery was taken over by the Isle of Wight Council, through Bereavement Services
  • 1998 Osborne Court was rebuilt as flats
  • 1999 The Isle of Wight Gardens Trust carried out a survey of the trees and shrubs in the cemetery
  • 2001 The population size of Ryde was ……….?
  • 2004 February saw the formation of the Ryde Social Heritage Group
  • 2004 The George Street Centre opened – following the renovation of the fire damaged Baptist Church
  • 2005 In August, the Ryde Social Heritage Group was awarded LHI grant
  • 2006 The Ryde Social Heritage Group’s Website was launched 21 March 2006 in the George Street Centre
  • 2006 In April the renovation of St Thomas Square was completed
  • 2006 In April Ryde Social Heritage had a new Display Case installed in Ryde Cemetery
  • 2006 In September the Isle of Wight Council was successful in the bid for grant funding fro the Heritage Lotter Fund and was awarded approximately £486,000 for a project to restore the buildings, boundaries and some of the memorials in Ryde Cemetery.
  • 2007 In September Janis Mundell was appointed Project Coordinator the the IWC Ryde Cemetery Restoration Project.
  • 2008 In June Ryde Social Heritage Group celebrated the successful completion of the Lottery Funded project with the Launch of a new book about the history of Ryde called Ryde’s Heritage, Our Town, Your Histories.