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Ryde is an English seaside town and civil parish on the north-east coast of the Isle of Wight, with a population of 32,072 at the 2011 Census. It grew in size as a seaside resort after the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower Ryde were merged in the 19th century. The influence of this era is clearly visible in the town's central and seafront architecture. As a resort Ryde is noted for its expansive sands revealed at low tide, making the listed pier necessary on the wide beach for a regular passenger ferry service. The pier is the fourth longest in the United Kingdom, as well as the oldest.
Ryde viewed from the Solent
|Population||32,072 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Isle of Wight|
|Ambulance||Isle of Wight|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
In 1782 numerous bodies of men, women and children from HMS Royal George, which sank suddenly at Spithead, were washed ashore at Ryde. Many were buried on land that is now occupied by the Esplanade. A memorial to them was erected in June 2004.
The hovercraft to Southsea is operated by Hovertravel near the Esplanade close to Ryde Esplanade railway station and the bus station. A catamaran service run by Wightlink operates from Ryde Pier to Portsmouth Harbour which connects with both Island Line trains and mainland trains to London Waterloo.
A major bus interchange is situated between Ryde Pier and the Hover Terminal on the Esplanade with frequent services to many island towns and villages. Ryde is the second busiest place in the Southern Vectis network, smaller only than Newport. The most frequent service is route 9 to Newport, running every 10 minutes in the daytime. Other main routes include services 2, 3, 4, 8 and local route 37. An open top bus tour called "The Downs Tour" is also run in the summer.
The town's large and long esplanade area has always been an attraction for tourists, especially those day-tripping from the mainland, as the amenities are all available by walking from the pier. A swimming pool, bowls club, bowling alley, and boating lake are among the attractions, and there are various children's playgrounds, amusement arcades and cafés.
Ryde has few large public open spaces beyond the esplanade, but areas for public recreation include Appley Park, Puckpool Park, Vernon Square, Simeon Street Recreation Ground, St John's Park, St Thomas' churchyard, Salter Road recreation ground, and Oakfield Football Club.
At one time Ryde had two separate piers; the other being the Victoria Pier, no longer in existence. Ryde has its own inshore rescue service which mostly has to deal with people becoming stranded on sandbanks as the incoming tide cuts them off from the shore. The pier is also a feature of the 67-mile (108 km) Isle of Wight Coastal Path, which is marked with blue signs with a white seagull.
Ryde has a small marina located to the east of Ryde Pier. It is tidal and dries out at low water hence it is more suitable for smaller sailing (bilge keel) and motor cruisers. It has provision for up to 200 boats, either on floating pontoons or leaning against the harbour wall. It has a full-time harbourmaster who posts useful snippets of information on the noticeboard outside the harbour office including weather information, tide times, cruise liner movements and events that occurred on this day in history.
Ryde is a well-known place to shop on the Isle of Wight. The town centre is situated on a large hill, with local shops and major retailers such as Sainsbury's, Co-operative Food, Carphone Warehouse and Peacocks.
The twin church spires clearly visible from the sea belong to All Saints' (the taller) and Holy Trinity churches. All Saints' Church is located in Queens Road on a road junction known as Five Ways. It was designed by George Gilbert Scott and completed in 1872. The spire is 177 feet (54 m) tall. Holy Trinity Church is in Dover Street. It was designed by Thomas Hellyer and completed in 1845. Holy Trinity Church closed in January 2014 and the building became the Aspire Ryde community centre.
St James' is a further Church of England church in the centre of Ryde, on Lind Street. It was constructed in 1827 as a proprietary chapel and continues to be active, with services at 10:30am and 6:30pm each Sunday and a range of youth and mid-week groups.
The town's Roman Catholic church, St. Mary's, is located in High Street. It was built in 1846 at a cost of £18,000. This was provided by Elizabeth, Countess of Clare. The church was designed by Joseph Hansom inventor of the hansom cab. Other churches include St James Church and St. Michael and All Angels, Swanmore. There are also Baptist, Methodist, United Reformed and Elim churches in the town.
Ryde Castle, situated on the Esplanade, was built c. 1840 as a private house in crenellated style and is now a hotel. It was left heavily damaged after a fire in 2012, and reopened after major restoration in 2013.
Beldornie Tower on Augusta Road was at one point a property of the Earl of Yarborough. The house dates back to the 16th or early 17th century. The house was virtually rebuilt c. 1840 in Gothic-Jacobean style with the addition of a west wing in 1880.
Sited on the Esplanade are an ice rink and a pavilion. The Ice rink is no longer open to the public, leading to the Isle of Wight's ice-hockey team, the "Wightlink Raiders" disbanding. The pavilion houses a bowling alley and nightclub.
The town's local football team was for many years Ryde Sports F.C., now replaced by Ryde Saints F.C. & Ryde F.C. SUNDAY.
Speedway is staged just south of the town at Smallbrook Stadium. The Isle of Wight Islanders started as members of the Conference League before moving up to the Premier League.
Ryde has five carnivals in a typical year: the Mardi Gras in June (established as The Arts Parade from 2003 to 2012); Children's, Main and Illuminated processions at the end of August, and a Lantern Parade in December. The Carnival at Ryde is the oldest in England. Ryde Carnival remains the island's largest carnival, with local crowds and mainland visitors totalling in excess of 50,000 spectators.
- Raymond Allen – TV screenwriter (Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em), attended Ryde Secondary Modern School.
- William Booth – the founder of the Salvation Army spent the first part of his honeymoon in Ryde.
- Sam Browne – the soldier after whom the belt was named, lived the last years of his life in a house called Argosy on East Hill Road, Ryde.
- Sir Charles Clifford, 4th Baronet (1821–1895) – barrister and Liberal member of Parliament, lived at Westfield House.
- Seb Clover (born 1987) – sailor. Educated at Ryde School with Upper Chine.
- Pablo Fanque (1810–1871) – circus proprietor, equestrian, referenced in The Beatles song, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! performed in Ryde in 1840, and promoted the performances through advertisements in the Hampshire Advertiser.
- Melvyn Hayes – actor
- Cornelius Jabez Hughes - British Victorian photographer and daguerreotypist who worked and died in Ryde
- William Hutt – colonial administrator, was educated in Ryde and resided at Appley Towers.
- David Icke – writer and public speaker, lives in Ryde
- Mark King – the Level 42 musician, originally from Gurnard, opened a pub, Joe Daflos, in Union Street, Ryde in the 1980s.
- John Lennon and Paul McCartney – the title of the 1965 Beatles song "Ticket to Ride" was inspired by a trip they took to Ryde in the 1960s supposedly visiting Paul's cousin who worked in the Bow Bars public house in Union Street. McCartney also mentions the Isle of Wight in the song "When I'm Sixty-Four".
- F. G. Loring – writer and naval officer, born in Ryde in 1869.
- Karl Marx and his wife Jenny Marx – visited Ryde for health reasons in the summer of 1874, staying in Nelson Street.
- Anthony Minghella (1954-2008) – the Hollywood director was born in Ryde.
- Philip Norman – writer, attended Ryde School and has written about his childhood in the town.
- Kieran Page – professional road and track cyclist
- A. C. Pigou – economist, born in Ryde
- Albert Pollard – historian, born in Ryde on 16 December 1869.
- Michael Sheard – actor (Mr Bronson in Grange Hill; Star Wars) lived in Ryde and died there in 2005.
- Walter Toogood (1874–1914) – professional golfer born in Ryde
- M. J. Trow – military historian and detective fiction writer, taught history and politics at Ryde High School.
- Edward Vernon Utterson – lawyer, one of the Six Clerks in Chancery, literary antiquary, collector and editor, moved in 1840 from Newport to Beldornie Tower, Pelham Field, Ryde, and set up the Beldornie Press there; he and his wife have memorial tablets in St Thomas's Church, Ryde.
Ryde, seen from Ryde Pier and showing the twin spires.
- "Town Population 2011". Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- BBC – "Pier-ing into the future"
- "Southern Vectis route list". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 30 November 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "Southern Vectis Downs breezer". Southern Vectis. Archived from the original on 5 May 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "Aspire Ryde". Aspire Ryde. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- ; ;  All three retrieved 2011-09-25.
- "BBC News – Ryde Castle Hotel partially collapses after fire". bbc.co.uk. 18 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
- "Quick Facts on Beldornie Tower". Go Historic. Go Historic. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
- "Ryde Mardi Gras". The New Carnival Company. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- Ryde Social Heritage Group. "History of Ryde Carnival". Ryde Carnival Association. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
- Song information – "Ticket to ride"
- Laurence, A. E. (November 1985). "Karl Marx on the Isle of Wight". Society. 23 (1): 54–60. doi:10.1007/BF02695870.