History of Ryde
In the early 18th century the Player family began the process which united Upper and Lower Ryde, which until this time, were two separate hamlets. St Thomas’ chapel was built in 1719, and Ryde remained in the parish of Newchurch, along with Ventnor, until 1866. George Player built Ryde House in the early years of the 19th century, and his sister Elizabeth who had married a Scottish doctor, John Lind, had Westmont in Queen’s Road, built around 1820.
The popularity of sea bathing did much to raise the profile of the town and the population increased rapidly after the erection of the pier began in 1812. In the same year, the first National school was built in Melville Street.
Ryde became a Borough in 1829, and the Improvement Act did much to make the town more suitable for fashionable life. In the 1830s and 40s, most of Union Street was built, accommodating shoppers and holiday makers alike. Yelf’s, Sheridan’s and The Royal Kent Hotel were all in existence, and the Royal Victoria Arcade, opened in 1836, contained 14 shops with every imaginable item for sale.
The arrival of Queen Victoria at Osborne around 1845 greatly boosted the popularity of the island. She was a regular visitor to the photographic studios of Jabez Hughes in the arcade and subsequently Regina House in Union Street. The Isle of Wight Observer and Isle of Wight Times both list the society visitors coming to Ryde for ‘The Season’.
Nineteenth century Ryde was the place to be.
For a greater indepth history of ryde it is worth visiting www.historicrydesociety.com as they are planning a heritage centre in the heart of Ryde.