Come and see 200 years’ worth of the history of Ryde, home of the oldest pier, and the first Carnival, in the country. See our unique ice well and discover the story of refrigeration. Learn about Queen Victoria’s connections with Ryde, and why the royal family were such frequent visitors that it rivalled London, New York and Paris as the place to be!
THE TOWN HALL TROWEL
On loan from one of the Island's Masonic Lodges, East Medina Lodge 175, is the silver trowel used to lay the foundation stone of Ryde Town Hall in 1830, engraved with the names of the building committee. Those people are now part of Ryde history, in the form of street names around the town.
PIERS: Read the story of the oldest pier in the country, and how it stopped your feet getting wet! Learn about the other three major piers in Ryde, and their fate.
THE MILITARY ROOMS: read about the Island’s own armed force, Princess Beatrice’s Isle of Wight Rifles, and see memorabilia of the local men who served with distinction during the Boer, and later, Wars.
PHOTOGRAPHERS: Don’t Smile, please! Why the Royal Family and their foreign relatives were frequent visitors to Ryde, and the Royal Victoria Arcade.
THE SCHOOLROOM: Went to school in Ryde, or know someone who did? Look for yourself or friends in our large collection of large school photos. Try writing on a slate board, instead of a computer.
FLIGHT: In the air – Ryde Airport used to have over thirty scheduled services a day, flying to and from the mainland.
On the water – watch a film on the creation and development of the hovercraft, an innovative world-beating machine invented and built on the Isle of Wight.
THE ICE WELL: the sight of our grammatically-incorrect almost unique ice well won’t leave you cold! Built as an integral part of the Arcade, it harks back to a time when ice was imported from Norway and North America to help keep food fresh and people cool.
COMMERCIAL RYDE: Dairies, breweries, shops and hotels, long since gone – we have bottles, flagons, advertising signs, and one of the first tin openers in the world, invented in our very building!
LOCAL PARAPHERNALIA: “Anything and Everything about Ryde” covers our collection of miscellaneous items, ranging from a WC cistern by Charles Langdon of Ryde, a clockwork spitjack from Woods of Cross Street, some innovative Victorian hollow interlocking bricks from a local house, and planks from Ryde Pier to a gas meter from the Ryde Gas & Coke Company, decorative cast iron gutter ornaments from Ryde Pavilion, and an electric bone-cutter from the Isle of Wight Infirmary in Ryde!
CARNIVAL TIME! Browse through the many programmes and pictures from the oldest carnival in the country, founded in 1888 following a hugely successful celebratory procession for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee the previous year.
SPORTS, ETC.: a large collection of pictures, trophies and medals from a wide variety of sporting activities – including cricket, rowing, football and cribbage – in and around Ryde over the last century and a half.