Monday - Saturday
11am - 4pm
Also Sundays in
July & August
Ryde District Heritage Centre is entirely run by volunteers.
The Brigstocke China
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
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 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.
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.
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
Hear about Jabez Balfour’s unfulfilled plans for Bembridge.
Balfour (1843 – 1916) was an English businessman, Liberal politician, and fraudster.
According to the Daily Telegraph, “Jabez Spencer Balfour JP, MP was probably the greatest financial fraudster in British history, an embezzler on a Melmottian scale dwarfing the far lesser con-tricks of Trebitsch-Lincoln, Horatio Bottomley, Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Archer combined.”