History of the Town
Ryde developed throughout the latter half of the 18th century, the19th century and the first half of the 20th century as a popular seaside resort and important gateway to the Isle of Wight.
The town boasts many Regency and Victorian buildings and the townscape is of considerable historic interest with fine buildings such as All Saints Church, designed by the eminent Gilbert Scott, and the Town Hall, which was built in 1829 and is considered to be one of the finest buildings of its type on the south coast.
Up until the pier was opened in 1814 ferry passengers landing at low tide were brought almost half a mile into the shore by horse and cart. Today the fast catamaran service to Portsmouth takes around 20 minutes and can be reached by train along the pier. There is also a hovercraft service to Southsea, which takes 9 minutes.
Open spaces include Western Gardens, Eastern Gardens,the Boating Lake and Vernon Square Garden, which has been restored to its original Georgian design. The town also has a cinema, ice rink and bowling alley. a thriving Arts Festival and Carnival and miles of beautiful sandy beaches.
For more history about Ryde, details of leisure opportunities and events please make use of the following links:
- Ryde Social Heritage Group has an excellent website with lots of information about the rich history of the town. Go to www.rydecemetery.org.uk
- The Ryde Branch of the Isle of Wight Society can provide you with information about the town’s architecture and buildings. Please contact the Society at East Cowes Heritage Centre on (01983) 280310.
- The Historic Ryde Society is a volunteer led group formed in 2009 interested in the history of the town. The Society runs the Ryde District Heritage Centre in the basement of the Victoria Arcade in Union Street – a treasure trove of displays about Ryde and which also houses a historic Ice Well dating from the 1800s. For more information about the Society and the Heritage Centre please go to www.historicrydesociety.com.