Historic Ryde Society
Formed in October 2009, the Society was created to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Royal Victoria Arcade, in July 2011. It was decided to raise funds for a dedicated heritage centre in Ryde.
After the arcade basement was chosen, 12 local artists were commissioned to each create an image reflecting the months of the year. These are the images which appear at the bottom of this page throughout the year, and they are available as notelets or cards via the shop page here.
Ryde District Heritage Centre
A three day celebration marked the Royal Victorian Ryde 2011 weekend, when the empty basement was officially opened by Andrew Turner, MP, and Lady Lucinda Lambton, three x great grand-daughter of Lord Lambton, Radical Jack! – who laid the foundation stone of the building in May 1835. A wonderful connection! The refurbishment of the basement was made possible thanks to a grant from the Ryde Townscape Heritage Initiative, funded jointly by the IW Council and the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The creation of Ryde District Heritage Centre was funded initially by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is now funded by a series of events throughout the year, and a £2000 grant from Ryde Town Council. The Centre opened to the public on Monday, August 15, 2011. Run entirely by an ever increasing body of volunteers, the Centre won awards from the Isle of Wight Community Action group in 2012 and 2013.
Donald McGill Postcard Museum
The ‘King of the Seaside Postcard’, Donald created over 12,000 cards between 1904 and 1962, covering life throughout the 20th century – from the Suffragette Movement, through two World Wars – in fact everything he observed throughout a career which spanned nearly six decades.
In 1953, police raided 5 shops in Ryde and seized over 5000 McGill postcards. Donald was prosecuted under the 1857 Obscene Publications Act. His amazing talent is showcased in this exhibition – one of the finest collections of McGill’s artefacts to be found anywhere.
In these times of political correctness, please accept that Donald’s time was a different era, now gone, in which different values were upheld. Donald’s humour is a product of the 20th century. Please recommend this museum to family and friends.
Historic Ryde Society hosts fundraising activities on a rolling basis throughout the year. The last Thursday of every month is the pub quiz in Yelf’s hotel, Union Street. £3 a head – people are encouraged to come on their own or to bring a team. There is always a raffle to raise extra funds. The monthly quiz will take place in Yelf’s on July 31. Details on the diary page.
How you can Help
There are many ways in which you can help the society, either now or in the future.
If you wish to help us now, Historic Ryde Society is always looking for more volunteers, particularly to help with administration tasks. From the point of view of the Heritage Centre, the Society is dependent on people bringing items for copying, photographing, or loan. Please look in attics and sheds to find anything relating to Ryde in the past. It doesn’t matter how old or unimportant you think things are, everything has a story to tell, which we can share with a wider audience! We can either copy or photograph items if you are happy for us to do this, or items can be loaned or donated for future display. All items brought into the Centre for display are catalogued and given a unique number, a note is made as to whether it is a loan or donation, and details of the donor, owner recorded. Items are then either put on immediate display, or stored safely for a future project.