Giving Ryde's past to the future

Heritage Lottery Fund Logo

Opening Times

Opening Hours

Monday - Saturday
11am - 4pm

Special Christmas Opening Hours

Monday, 23rd Dec - Closed

Tuesday, 24th Dec - Closed

Wednesday, 25th Dec - Closed

Thursday, 26th Dec - Closed

Friday, 27th Dec - Closed

Saturday, 28th Dec - Closed

Monday, 31st Dec - Closed

Tuesday, 1st Jan - Closed

Ryde District Heritage Centre is entirely run by volunteers.

Stair Lift Facility

Mayor-Milburn-on-the-stairlift

The new stairlift officially opened on 23rd of May 2014 by Ryde’s Mayor at the time, Cllr Roi Milburn.
Ring the bell for help!

Easy Fund Raising Logo

Railings

Railings

Cyril the sea Serpent on Ryde Pier

The railings on the pier were installed in 1895. It is believed the shelters were built at the same time, by Isaac Barton, a Mayor of Ryde, to a design by local architect Thomas Hellyer. Cyril the sea serpent is the guide for the Children's Page of the website.
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Railings The railings on the pier were installed in 1895. It is believed the shelters were built at the same time, by Isaac Barton, a Mayor of Ryde, to a design by local architect Thomas Hellyer. Cyril the sea serpent is the guide for the Children's Page of the website.

Local Newspapers

Local Newspapers

Ventilator Royals visit July 19 1873

Ryde and the Isle of Wight have a long history of local newspaper printing. The Isle of Wight Observer was begun in 1846, although not established until 1852.  It was printed at The Colonnade, Ryde by George and subsequently, Hannah Butler. From the first issue, Fashionable Lists were printed weekly to show residents and visitors who was in town. The Isle of Wight Times, Ventilator, Mercury, Isle of Wight Advertiser, and County Press followed at later dates. These newspapers, or images of them, can be consulted at the Isle of Wight County Record Office, Newport.

There are also newspapers with Isle of Wight articles which can be viewed on the British Library website British Newspapers Online
2013-06-03T01:04:32+00:00
Local Newspapers Ryde and the Isle of Wight have a long history of local newspaper printing. The Isle of Wight Observer was begun in 1846, although not established until 1852.  It was printed at The Colonnade, Ryde by George and subsequently, Hannah Butler. From the first issue, Fashionable Lists were printed weekly to show residents and visitors who was in town. The Isle of Wight Times, Ventilator, Mercury, Isle of Wight Advertiser, and County Press followed at later dates. These newspapers, or images of them, can be consulted at the Isle of Wight County Record Office, Newport. There are also newspapers with Isle of Wight articles which can be viewed on the British Library website British Newspapers Online

Historic Photographs

Historic Photographs

Young Boy by Matthews

Child photographed by Matthews
Child photographed by Matthews

Child on a horse Photographed by Knight

More  historic photographs appear in the  Galleries.

Child photographed by Knight
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Historic Photographs More  historic photographs appear in the  Galleries.

The Brigstocke China

The Brigstocke China

All images reproduced with permission of IW Heritage Service, to whom we are very grateful.

Brigstoke Terrace China Group front view

The Brigstocke China comprises pieces collected by the family over many years, reflecting catholic tastes.

Brigstoke Terrace China Group side view

Brigstoke Terrace China Group reverse view

Brigstoke Terrace China Hare

Brigstoke Terrace China Horse
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The Brigstocke China All images reproduced with permission of IW Heritage Service, to whom we are very grateful. The Brigstocke China comprises pieces collected by the family over many years, reflecting catholic tastes.

The Royal Victoria Arcade

The Royal Victoria Arcade

The Royal Victoria Arcade - Victorian Timeline, the first 70 years of the Royal Victoria Arcade from the laying of the foundation stone to 1903

An etching of the original arcade frontage

1835 -May - Foundation Stone Ceremony
1836 - July - Opening Ceremony
1856 - July - Henry Knight buys the arcade for £3000
1856 - October - frontage altered
1857 - October - William Lacy the first Arcade photographer moves into a workshop in the basement
1862 -  March - Cornelius Jabez Hughes takes over Number 6 after Lacy's death, in November 1861
1864 -  Henry Knight's Fairy Fountain in the rotunda

An etching of the 1840s arcade interior

1880 - Henry patents tin opener and sells it to Crosse and Blackwell
1890 - Henry Knight goes bankrupt and hands over the arcade to his daughters
1895 - Death of Henry Knight
1903 - Arcade up for sale
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The Royal Victoria Arcade The Royal Victoria Arcade - Victorian Timeline, the first 70 years of the Royal Victoria Arcade from the laying of the foundation stone to 1903 1835 -May - Foundation Stone Ceremony 1836 - July - Opening Ceremony 1856 - July - Henry Knight buys the arcade for £3000 1856 - October - frontage altered 1857 - October - William Lacy the first Arcade photographer moves into a workshop in the basement 1862 -  March - Cornelius Jabez Hughes takes over Number 6 after Lacy's death, in November 1861 1864 -  Henry Knight's Fairy Fountain in the rotunda 1880 - Henry patents tin opener and sells it to Crosse and Blackwell 1890 - Henry Knight goes bankrupt and hands over the arcade to his daughters 1895 - Death of Henry Knight 1903 - Arcade up for sale

Original Logo

Original Logo

The original artwork for the logo was drawn by Lynne Phillips from a design on two shelters on Ryde Pier, and adapted by Depth.

Historic Ryde Society Logo

The original logo copyright Lynne Phillips

Cyril the Sea Serpent on Ryde Pier

 
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Original Logo The original artwork for the logo was drawn by Lynne Phillips from a design on two shelters on Ryde Pier, and adapted by Depth.  

Royal Ryde

Royal Ryde

Royal Ryde, the link to Queen Victoria.

The Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria, first brought her to stay at Norris Castle on the Isle of Wight in 1831. When it was decided to build the arcade in Ryde, Princess Victoria was asked whether she would agree to it being named for her. This is why, at the rear of the arcade, there is a window with a monogram PV - Princess Victoria.

The Princess Victoria Window Royal Victoria Arcade

The crest on the front of the arcade is that of Princess Victoria. A similar crest can be seen in Bath, much smaller and less colourful than the one in Ryde. The lion and the unicorn are also facing different directions.

Etching from 1874 of Crown Prince and Princess

 
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Royal Ryde Royal Ryde, the link to Queen Victoria. The Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria, first brought her to stay at Norris Castle on the Isle of Wight in 1831. When it was decided to build the arcade in Ryde, Princess Victoria was asked whether she would agree to it being named for her. This is why, at the rear of the arcade, there is a window with a monogram PV - Princess Victoria. The crest on the front of the arcade is that of Princess Victoria. A similar crest can be seen in Bath, much smaller and less colourful than the one in Ryde. The lion and the unicorn are also facing different directions.  

Royal visitors

Royal Visitors in Ryde


It is said that the Duchess of Kent first brought her daughter to the Isle of Wight so that she did not attend the coronation of her Uncle, William IV. On this, and subsequent occasions, they stayed at Norris Castle, in East Cowes.

It is also known that Victoria used rooms in The Royal Kent Hotel, now the Royal Squadron, on at least one occasion.

Etching of the Royal Kent Hotel, Union Street, Ryde
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Royal Visitors in Ryde It is said that the Duchess of Kent first brought her daughter to the Isle of Wight so that she did not attend the coronation of her Uncle, William IV. On this, and subsequent occasions, they stayed at Norris Castle, in East Cowes. It is also known that Victoria used rooms in The Royal Kent Hotel, now the Royal Squadron, on at least one occasion.

RYDE TREASURES

RYDE TREASURES


All images reproduced with permission of IW Heritage Service, to whom we are very grateful.

A gown worn by a recent Mayor of the Borough of Ryde.

Ryde Borough Mayor's Robe

Ryde Town Sergeant's Hat.

Ryde Town Sargent Top Hat

 
2013-06-03T00:47:20+00:00
RYDE TREASURES All images reproduced with permission of IW Heritage Service, to whom we are very grateful. A gown worn by a recent Mayor of the Borough of Ryde. Ryde Town Sergeant's Hat.  

Ryde Entertainment

Ryde Entertainment

Fine Art Exhibition at Ryde 1881

The inhabitants of 19th century Ryde enjoyed entertainment............... Bands played on the pier every evening, There were plays in the Theatre, concerts in the Town Hall, lectures and exhibitions in the Victoria Rooms and circuses on the Strand from the 1850s onwards. Local gentry also held balls and soirees in their homes - descriptions of which appeared in the local press the following week. Celebrities came from Paris and London to appear in Ryde - Mrs Jordan, Ellen Terry, Oscar Wilde, General Tom Thumb, The Christy Minstrels all appeared in Ryde following successful runs in London and over seas........Ryde was the place to be after London, Paris, New York! Hairdressers and other businessmen also followed the same route.
2013-06-03T00:57:12+00:00
Ryde Entertainment The inhabitants of 19th century Ryde enjoyed entertainment............... Bands played on the pier every evening, There were plays in the Theatre, concerts in the Town Hall, lectures and exhibitions in the Victoria Rooms and circuses on the Strand from the 1850s onwards. Local gentry also held balls and soirees in their homes - descriptions of which appeared in the local press the following week. Celebrities came from Paris and London to appear in Ryde - Mrs Jordan, Ellen Terry, Oscar Wilde, General Tom Thumb, The Christy Minstrels all appeared in Ryde following successful runs in London and over seas........Ryde was the place to be after London, Paris, New York! Hairdressers and other businessmen also followed the same route.
Contact Us
Tel: (00)44 01983 717435 Web: www.historicrydesociety.com eMail: admin@historicrydesociety.com
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Antique & Collectors Fair

Antiques Fair 14th December 2014 Poster

Antiques & Collectors Fair 14th December 2014

We are pleased to announce that our bi-annual  Antiques &  Collectors  Fair is taking place next Sunday 14th December 2014
at the
Masonic Hall in John Street, Ryde.

Doors open at 10.00 am until 3.00pm

Entrance fee £0.75

There will be a raffle and refreshments available. If you are looking for something different to give a loved one at Christmas, this might be just the place to come for that unusual gift.

All monies raised going towards the running of the Heritage Centre.

We look forward to seeing you all there.

Martin Simpson – The Fossil Man

A fascinating talk was enjoyed by members and visitors at Yelf’s Hotel on the evening of Wednesday, November 12. Martin Simpson, aka The Fossil Man, enthralled a rapt audience with stories and examples of thirty years of fossil hunting on the Isle of Wight.

With the help of his glamorous assistant, Jenny, a wide range of fossils of creatures which roamed the Island many millions of years ago, were brought to life by Martin’s informative and humorous style.

The audience learned that there exists a dinosaur called the ‘Irritator’. The term ‘dinosaur’ was created by one Richard Owen, on a visit to the Isle of Wight. There are cottages in Brook, the walls of which contain fossils, once thought to be stone.

The audience was also invited to pass round a large lump of coprolite – dinosaur poo, with a highly polished base. Fascinating stuff!

Martin Simpson – the Fossil Man delivering his talk.

HRS Chair Brian, and Martin getting to grips with some local fossils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Remembrance Sunday 2014

Historic Ryde Society is honoured to have a shrine to the memory of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, in Ryde District Heritage Centre.

A short, but dignified service was held in the WWI Centenary and IW Rifles display rooms on the morning of Sunday, November 9, 2014.

Ryde Town Councillor and Historic Ryde Society Chairman, Brian Harris, laid the wreath on behalf of the Society and members of the Vectis Military Historical Association, who have loaned items for display.

Remembrance party RDHC 2014

2014 - HRS Chair Brian Harris lays the wreath

HRS Chair Brian Harris lays the wreath – November 9 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book-signing with Bernard Crossley

On the evening of Tuesday, November 18, there will be a book-signing with author Bernard Crossley, of his definitive new volume: Donald McGill – Postcard Artist.

In this meticulously researched book, surprisingly the first full-scale biography of such an important illustrator, Bernard tells the story of his extraordinary life. At the age of thirty two he gave up a secure job to embark on the extremely insecure and at that time novel occupation of postcard artist. After retiring at sixty five, he returned to work at the age of seventy and at the age of seventy six he took over the running of his publishing company in addition to designing postcards, continuing to work right up until his death at the age of eighty seven.

The book also explains how a man from a very straight-laced and highly respectable Victorian background virtually created and came to be associated with the saucy seaside postcard. It describes his skirmishes with the censors and the law, culminating in a show trial in 1954, and the disapproval which he also suffered from his own family.

The author shows however that this association with the saucy does a great disservice to his work which featured an extremely wide variety of subjects, of which the risqué was but a small part, and which illustrated and documented many different aspects of British society during the first half of the twentieth century.

In addition there are chapters on the nature of the man, his working methods and his continuing influence as well as an evaluation of his remarkable achievement.

Copiously illustrated and including many full-colour reproductions of postcards from all periods of his career, the book paints for the first time a detailed and fascinating portrait of a major illustrator of the twentieth century whilst also presenting a wide-ranging selection of his work to enjoy.

This is a brief glimpse into the topics covered in this volume.

Chapter 1

Donald Fraser Gould McGill was born on 28 January 1875 at 46 Park Street near to Regent’s Park in London and not far from the monkey house at the Zoo. It was “pure luck I was outside the cage” McGill characteristically joked to Peter Stewart of the Daily Sketch in 1953.

Chapter 2

Initially it was the family that launched him on his postcard career though eventually it became a source of embarrassment for most of them.

Chapter 3

During the two years that he worked for the Hutson Brothers McGill designed around 350 more cards with his customary wide variety of themes. The seaside was again much in evidence with one of his earliest saucy double entendre captions as a bathing belle standing in the sea is asked if it comes up to her expectations to which she replies: “Oh, no! Only up to my knees!”… McGill disapproved of the brothers according to Ronald Knaster who was told by McGill that they “became impossible. One drank heavily and the other was always womanising.”

Chapter 4

So it was that McGill now continued his postcard career producing for Joseph Asher & Company some further 2400 or so designs during the next four years. The most striking feature of these cards is the enormously wide variety of subject matter which they cover and in so doing the invaluable insights they give into so many aspects of British society at that time.

Chapter 5

The early years of his postcard career had been a struggle but with the outbreak of the First World War business boomed and for the next four years he produced a body of wartime postcards which was truly phenomenal in number, nature and influence. Working night and day he turned out an average of nine cards a week and some 18 million were sold during the war.

Chapter 6

The end of the war led to the beginning of a new phase in McGill’s career. While he continued to work for the Inter-Art Co., the post war world required a new approach. There was a change of mood. The formality of Edwardian life and the austerity of wartime were replaced by a greater emphasis on pleasure seeking. Having been boosted by the war, the sales of comic postcards were now to be boosted by the boom in post war holidays and leisure pursuits. McGill was of course quick to adapt and the humour and horrors of war and patriotic propaganda were replaced by the humour and horrors of the British seaside holiday…

Chapter 7

In 1932 his contract with Wilson Bros recorded his address as 174, Victoria Rd, London SE7 and soon afterwards he moved to 5 Bennett Park in Blackheath where he spent the rest of the 1930’s and it is this address which displays a blue plaque marking his residence there.

Chapter 8

Even though McGill’s Second World War postcards did not play such a major part in the war effort as his First World War ones, they nevertheless helped as in the previous conflict to keep up spirits… as when a grinning soldier exhorted the buyer to “KEEP SMILING!”…

Chapter 9

On 29 December 1940 the premises of D Constance in Ivy Lane with all stock, fixtures, books and original sketches were completely destroyed by a direct hit from enemy aircraft… The business now ceased and McGill produced no more cards until the end of the war…

At this point, having reached the age of sixty five and having stopped producing cards and retired to Guildford, it might have appeared that McGill’s career had come to an end and so it was perhaps just the right time for George Orwell to have then published an appreciation of his life’s work… Despite living quietly in apparent retirement in Surrey Donald McGill had now after all this become a national figure.

Chapter 10

In September 1944 the company moved to 22 Christchurch Road, Streatham and at seventy years of age McGill amazingly resumed his career by returning to the business… Streatham News reported that he had been filmed “recently” by Rank for their feature “This Modern Age”. He duly appeared in the cinemas in Issue Number 33 of this documentary series entitled “When You Went Away”… The Empire Windrush had docked at Tilbury in June 1948 with almost 500 new immigrants from Jamaica heralding the beginning of a major influx of settlers from the West Indies and McGill’s letter provides evidence of this from the street. His neighbours may even have been passengers on the Empire Windrush…The level of detail and variety of colour and tone which were such characteristics of his output when at his peak in the 1920’s now gradually disappeared as he simplified his designs in response to the changing market…

Chapter 11

If McGill’s resumption of his career at the age of seventy when he came out of retirement after the Second World War was amazing, his beginning a whole new career as a businessman at the age of seventy seven was even more remarkable… At work McGill’s assumption of joint administrative control of D Constance Ltd. coincided with the beginning of a nationwide censorship movement in Britain which lasted throughout the decade and proved to be a major problem not only for McGill but for the whole postcard industry. Dealing with the fallout from this was to become the major preoccupation of McGill and Maidment during their stewardship of the company during the 1950’s.

Chapter 12

Seaside postcards also got caught up in this nationwide frenzy of narrow minded puritanism. 32,603 postcards were ordered to be destroyed in 1953 whereas the figure for 1939 was nil. … All over the country postcard retailers and publishers were now caught in a pincer movement of persecution and were inundated by a tsunami of mischievous prosecutions.

Chapter 13

Despite all efforts to gain some kind of guidance and protection McGill eventually fell victim to this plague of supression when for the first time he personally was prosecuted… D Constance Limited was fined £50 and ordered to pay £25 costs while McGill and Maidment were fined £10 each.

Chapter 14

Unfortunately the Lincoln trial did not signal the end of prosecutions as censorship continued to be a major headache for McGill and Constance over the next few years… the failure of local bodies to come to consistent agreements on what cards should be censored and the failure to establish a national censorship body meant that the prosecutions persisted… At the same time a report on comic postcards on the Associated-Rediffusion television programme “This Week”, which featured a filmed interview with McGill, was occasioned by… “a crisis which threatens an important aspect of the British way of life. The government is being pressed to establish a National Censorship Board to regulate the design and publication – of comic postcards.”

Chapter 15

At 11am on Friday 5 April 1957 at Folkestone Borough Magistrates’ Court McGill and Maidment were prosecuted personally along with their firm for the second time… The case was committed to Kent Assizes at Maidstone on 8 July 1957… Despite the clampdown he remained unapologetic. On 15 Jan 1954 he told Streatham News: “I admit some of my jokes are near the knuckle. But I am not ashamed of being banned.”

Chapter 16

The confidence which Manning and Wells initially showed in the ability of McGill and Maidment to run the company… proved in the end to be well justified for together they demonstrated their business acumen by rescuing the company fortunes from the insecure situation in which it was left by Ascher in 1951… Not surprisingly of course, given his age and his other, newly acquired duties and responsibilities for the company, his rate of output of cards fell dramatically after 1951… The designs from these years covered his usual wide range of subjects though there were perhaps a greater percentage of “double entendre” jokes, some of which did of course land him in court as a result of the new climate of puritanism abroad in the land.

Chapter 17

The last five years of McGill’s life must have felt like the calm after the storm. Under his and Maidment’s skilful management Constance had overcome the many difficulties that had threatened its survival in the 1950’s and had prospered… However, even at the age of 83, McGill did not seem to contemplate retirement… At this late stage in his career he seemed to take a more censorious attitude himself, perhaps in reaction to the increasingly explicit and crude nature of comic postcards. Ernest Maidment said at the time of McGill’s death: “Some of the postcards published nowadays disgusted McGill. I used to show them to him and he would get quite angry.” … He had by now of course become something of a celebrity. Already a name in the 1940’s as a result of Orwell’s article and press coverage, in more recent times he had achieved further recognition on radio and television and had even been mentioned in Parliament.

Chapter 18

It is these major events, the auctions, the exhibitions, the blue plaque ceremony, the books and the television and radio programmes, that plot the graph of the rise of McGill’s reputation and popularity to new heights in the years after his death but their impact was reinforced by an almost continuous flow of other references to him and his work during these years… His legendary status was thus assured and he continues to the present day to attract an interest in his work, unmatched by that of any other postcard artist.

Chapter 19

No biography of McGill should fail to devote some space to a description of the methods he used to produce some 12,000 works of art.

Chapter 20

In his own life he had little in common and little contact with the millions who bought his cards. In 1957 when asked if he ever went to the seaside and sent comic postcards he replied “No, never. I go to the country and I never send postcards!” … However he was by no means a typical product of his class and upbringing and was considered in some ways to be the black sheep of the family… The only jarring note in his otherwise kindly personality was his virulent anti-Americanism.

Chapter 21

This final chapter attempts to indicate and underline what was special and distinctive about Donald McGill’s work and achievement… his finest achievement lay of course with his art through which for nearly sixty years and by virtue of its quality and quantity he did more than anyone to create that major contribution to British popular culture that was the comic seaside postcard. This was his true legacy… Donald McGill should be hailed and celebrated as the greatest seaside artist of all or perhaps, more accurately, the greatest seaside postcard artist of all.

Donald McGill is the greatest and most famous British comic postcard artist of all time. During an artistic career lasting over sixty years he produced over 12000 postcard designs. They sold in their millions, became an essential part of the British seaside holiday and made a major contribution to British popular culture.

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BBC Countryfile – Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight edition of the BBC Countryfile programme first aired on Sunday, November 2, 2014. It is available to watch on BBC iPlayer here until December 2, 2014.

Featuring Historic Ryde Society members Tony Packer and Vic Scovell, talking about their days on Ryde pier over 50 years ago, the programme also takes to viewer to other parts of the beautiful Isle of Wight.

Historic Ryde Society was pleased to have been of help to the BBC Countryfile Production team during filming in Ryde in October.

HRS credit on BBC Countryfile – November 2 2014

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Upcoming Events
Dec
27
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Dec 27 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Jan
31
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Jan 31 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Feb
28
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Feb 28 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Mar
28
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Mar 28 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Apr
25
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Apr 25 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
May
30
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
May 30 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Jun
27
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Jun 27 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Jul
25
Thu
7:30 PM The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
The Quiz! @ Yelf's Hotel
Jul 25 @ 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Raising funds for the Historic Centre! Doors open at 7.00 pm.
Centre Opening
HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester opened the first extension of Ryde District Heritage Centre on Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Andrew and Brian chat to HRH The Duke of Gloucester and the Lord Lieutenant

The logo was drawn by Lynne Phillips from a design on the two shelters on Ryde Pier, and digitised by Depth.

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