The Season 1864
Isle of Wight Observer July 23, 1864
July is now shining forth in all its glory, and the consequence is that Ryde, and the Isle of Wight generally, is attracting its thousands, to enjoy the refreshing coolness and reviving influences its woods and its waters abundantly impart.
The enjoyments offered to the visitors, are upon a very enlarged scale now, compared with those presented to their notice a few years back. It is true that the Isle of Wight always abounded in nature’s loveliest gifts, and the richest varieties of land and water, hill and dale, shaded grove and flower-spangled meadows, ever wooed the presence of town wearied votaries of the pursuits and pleasures populous cities afford; but improvement has been active, and the taste and ingenuity of man have been adding to the gifts of nature the pleasures of art, and the refinements of civilisation.
This is the case with the Island generally, and more particularly so in Ryde, which, within the last few years has sprung up into a place of attraction unexceeded by any other place in the Island, or indeed out of it. There is not a taste, however varied or fastidious, that cannot gratify its cravings in this town.
To the fashionable it presents a circle of the highest ton; to the lover of aquatic sports, the Royal Victoria Yacht club stands in the first rank of Marine Amateur Associations, and this year especially has issued a programme transcending all its former doings at its previous Regattas; while the every day provision to gratify the likings of sea goers, numerous well appointed boats lie in waiting at the Pier, to convey the voyagers over the dancing waves in safety, while skirting the wooded shores of the Island. The pier, too, is one of the most lovely marine promenades in the kingdom, affording all the advantages to health produced by sailing on the sea, while saving unseasoned constitutions, the disagreeable effects, unnecessary to particularize, too frequently the result of “boating” on landsmen, and from which landswomen are by no means exempt. The charms of music are pressed into the service, and three days a week this promenade echoes with the strange and mysterious combinations brought together in “Faust”, the suggestive tale of Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March”, and Donezetti’s brilliant “La Fille du Regiment”. This long catalogue of pleasures has not exhausted the list of enjoyments Ryde offers. Union-street, with its wide and commodious pavements, and spacious and well supplied shops, affords a fashionable parade, unsurpassed, if not unequalled, by any watering place in England, and in the height of summer presents a brilliant assemblage of equipages and promenaders, not to be exceeded, save for numbers and extent, by Regent Street, in London’s gayest time; while the lack of length and numbers, are more than compensated by the bright waters of the Solent, with the lovely background of the Hampshire Hills. The rides, drives, and strolls in the vicinity of the town, are rich in loveliness; the copse, the wood, the sequestered valley, and the open down, are full of sylvan beauty and rural charms.
The present weather has been doing its work by emptying London, and driving its denizens, exhausted with a long season, into more congenial spots to pass the autumn, and Ryde is now filling fast, and when the Ministerial whitebait dinner shall have been eaten, (that immediate forerunner of the prorogation of Parliament) the senators will be dismissed for their holiday, the last tie that binds the great aristocratic families to London will be dissolved, and our season will commence in all its fullness. At this moment our promenades are well filled with visitors, and houses of the best class are either taken or occupied, and should the present brilliant weather continue, there is every reason to anticipate a most prosperous season.
This image of Ryde Regatta was published in August, 1864.