"My childhood years on the Island" Top 5 Page for this destination Isle of Wight by budapest8

Isle of Wight Travel Guide: 307 reviews and 612 photos

Growing up on an Island...

I returned to the Island this year after 26 years absense,
like the prodical son. Seeing all the places and old houses I lived in,
the school I went to, the church were I sang in the choir...PURE BLISS

I moved to the Island from West Wycome , Buckinghamshire
with my family in 1964 aged 6 years old.So I spent the next 20 years
on an off there until my parents moved off the Island
when my dad retired.
My dad decided that he wanted to start in the printing business
when he was working for Collins the book publishers in London so he
spent the early 60's teaching himself to become a master
printer. We moved to a small flat at the top of the High Street
in Ryde and my dad found an old slaughterhouse which he
converted into the location of his new company 'The Ffrancon
Press'. He started off the first few years with one partner but
they parted after he discovered that his partner was gambling
his money away. With his new partner they bought a Heildelberg
Typesetter which saved the labourious task of setting type by hand.
He soon had built up a clientele all over the Island.
The company expanded and we moved several times
to a bigger and better house each time. My mum went
back to work as a school nurse and I remember she
used to leave on the moped to travel to Sandown and
Shanklin and she had all the schools on the South East
Coast to look after. I went to Ryde Primary School then to
Ryde Boys School on Queens Road. A former student is
Jeremy Irons and the School Governor was Lord Mountbatten
and he was also the Governor of the IOW.
I saw him on 2 big school does. He used to be Viceroy Of India,
poor chap ending up on the Island, then he got blown up by the
IRA in Sligo Bay. Another famous resident was the son of the
local Mayor who used to help out in his dad' cafe and ice cream
shop called Mingellas. I remember sitting some Saturdays
in the caf with my freinds and he was helping serve behind
the counter and washing up. Many years later I'm watching
the Oscars on the box and they announce ANTONY MINGELLA's
film The English Patient gets 7 oscars...
Cor Blimey..Stone the crows...
Well just down the bottom of the road is the seafront,
take a right and walk about 20 mins until you get to Appley Tower,
it was here that just off this shore the first ships set sail for
Australia in 1787. So Ryde is a small town on the Isle of Wight
but many great things have happened here or started from here.
It's one of the best places to leave from and discover the world.
When you see how bleak the winters are you will understand.
As I haven't been back for more than 20 years I owe credits for
photo material to IWCAM.

So all photos on my Island Pages,all Images may ONLY be
used for NON-COMMERCIAL purposes and credited to IWCAM

I have written alot about people, places, events, history
which make the I.O.W. the fascinating place it is.
There are many facts linking this small Island with
events that have had profound effects on the rest of
the U.K. and the world.


It is the delight of thousands every summer,
a popular seaside town of the Isle of Wight,
with seven miles of beach, an esplanade with trees
and lawns and lovely gardens, a lake where young and
old love to sail their model boats, and Puckpool Park reached by
a little walk along the front past the Appley watch-tower.
Puckpool Park was once a military fort,
but today, instead of the tramp of soldiers, we hear the
laughter of the holiday maker, and round about the ramparts,
bastions, and gun-emplacements are tennis lawns and
bowling greens and delightful woodlands. It over- looks Spithead,
river and sea together, so that here has been witnessed the
pageantry of naval history, the great ships
coming to and going from Portsmouth and Southampton.

On 13 May, 1787, the first fleet sailed to Australia from the
Motherbank, just off this shore. HMS Sirius was the principal
naval consort for the first fleet which arrived in Sydney,
Australia, on 26 January 1788. On a voyage to obtain
provisions from Cape Town in South Africa to save the fledgling
colony of New South Wales from starvation, HMS Sirius
circumnavigated the globe. When she returned to Sydney
she was in dire need of repair and so on 19 June 1789
she was taken to what is now known as Mosman Bay,
Mosman, to be careened, repaired and refitted.
She remained in Mosman Bay until 12 November 1789.
HMS Sirius then sailed from Sydney to Norfolk Island with
personnel and provisions. There she ran aground and
was wrecked on 19 March 1790.
Mosman Council New South Wales, Australia,
commissioned three identical bas-reliefs of
Hms Sirius from the sculptor, Alex Kolozsy, to commemorate
the 200th anniversary of the coming of Europeans to Mosman.
The Mosman Community presented this bas-relief to the
residents of the Borough of Medina. The other bas reliefs
are sited at Mosman Bay and Norfolk Island.
The Mayor of Mosman, Alderman P. C. Clive, together with
Aldermen B. S. J. O'Keefe, A.M., Q.C and D. C. Brockhoff
and the town clerk, Mr V. H. R. May, travelled from Australia
for the unveiling ceremony

Ryde was one of the first places in England to have a pier,
and now it has one of the most remarkable of all piers,
three in one, running out for half a mile for trains, for trams,
and for those who walk. All its churches are new.
All Saints has a pulpit with saints and martyrs carved in
alabaster, and a tall pinnacled tower tempting climbers
with its magnificent view from the top;
it is one of Sir Gilbert Scott's best works.
The Roman Catholic St Mary's was designed by the
designer of the hansom cab.
Its pillars are painted; its blue chancel roof is picked out
with golden stars; it has a tablet to Lady Hamilton, for 55 years
a worshipper here; and a brass portrait of a lady kneeling near
the pew in which she died kneeling in 1861. Over the altar
is an excellent copy of the Crucifixion
that hangs in the Sistine Chapel at Rome.


Text courtesy of: Southern Life (UK)

The theatre at Ryde is interesting because
it stands on the site of an old theatre in which the
famous Mrs Jordan appeared for the last time in
England and Ellen Terry for the first time on the stage.
Fielding the novelist stayed here to gain strength for
that famous voyage to Lisbon in 1754 which he
described in the last work he wrote
In one of the climbing streets is a charming white house
(now a hotel) which entertained an empress unawares.
In the small hours of a September morning in 1870 a yacht
stole up and anchored off the pier, and Mr Sadler of the
York Hotel was awakened by urgent knocking at his door.
He found two ladies and two gentlemen there, asking for
the best suite of rooms he had. They left that night, and
not till then did Mr Sadler know that he had sheltered the
Empress Eugenie, who had escaped from France in Sir John Burgoyne's yacht.

That exciting journey had begun on the night the news of the
catastrophe of Sedan reached Paris. The mob was crying for
a Republic outside the Tuileries, and the empress was alone
except for two foreign ambassadors,
her attendant Madame le Breton, and the famous
M. de Lesseps. There was only one hope of escape, by
way of the Louvre, with which there was continuous
communication. Even so there was half a mile of corridors
and picture galleries to pass; and on reaching the door to
the Louvre the empress found it locked, and the key gone.
The mob was hurling itself against the Tuilerics and all
seemed lost till, with a stroke of genius, de Lesseps flung
open the main doors and let the crowd stream in and through the building, and so out into the Place du Carrousel beyond.

In the meantime the missing key had been found and Eugenie and Madame le Breton reached the street and called a cab. As they did so an urchin cried, "Look, the Empress!" but his cry passed unnoticed and the cab drove off. Before they had gone far the ladies found that they had only half-a-crown between them, so, not daring to risk an altercation with their driver, they got out, gave him all their money, and continued on foot through the raging city.

Not one of the many doors at which they knocked was opened to them until they reached the house of Dr Evans, an American dentist. He sheltered them for the night and afterwards drove them, disguised, to Deauville, Eugenie pretending to be insane and on her way to an asylum. At Deauville they went aboard the yacht of Sir John Burgoyne and crossed in a terrible storm to the Isle of Wight. Arriving at Ryde in the middle of the night, the poor storm-tossed women looked so sadly disreputable that the proprietor of the York Hotel, called from his bed, hesitated about receiving them. Their stay was not long, for after a brief rest they passed on to Hastings to meet the Prince Imperial, just arrived after his own sensational escape

Text courtesy of: Southern Life (UK)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:You can spend your whole life here and always find new places to visit
  • Cons:The winters make you wonder why you want to spend another year here!
  • In a nutshell:When you have been to the Island your ready to see the world!
  • Last visit to Isle of Wight: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Feb 3, 2007
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Reviews (68)

Comments (22)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Jun 15, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    I had no idea the history of the forts and the castles nearby. It looks like you got to know that oooh noooh lady pretty good and the festival. You did a nice job of describing the sites and the pictures are good

  • King_Golo's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Nice Isle of Wight tips!

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Jun 10, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    It was good to learn about local customs and the history of the Isle of Wight. Interesting story about your time spent there. Your father owned a publishing house... I work in the same field, it's great to work surrounded by the heaps of books :)

  • nyperose's Profile Photo
    May 27, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Hi:-) Great page about the Isle of Wight - it must have been wonderful growing up there... I love the southern coast of England with the craggy cliffs and wild sea. We don't see such landscapes by the lake of Geneva...hej da

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2009 at 5:05 AM

    Hello, Tim! ><>< Thanks for your great story and pictures! ><><><

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 10, 2009 at 3:24 PM

    Hi Tim, thanks for your New Year's wishes! I'm fascinated by your Isle of Wight memories because my daughter spent two years at the Bembridge School (which no longer exists; perhaps fell into the sea?) and did her A-levels there. All the best for 2009!

  • zuriga's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2007 at 5:23 AM

    I didn't realize before that this was 'home' for you! I'm sure we'll go back - it reminded me of seashore times back when I was young. One of my favorite Minghella works is 'Truly, Madly, Deeply.' And the ice cream really is terrific. :-)

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2007 at 4:46 AM

    i had forgotten how much 'stuff' is there. Ta for your congrats, by the way

  • sanibelblueyezz's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2007 at 2:30 PM

    Very interesting. Love the photo of The Needles and the lighthouse. Have a friend visiting there now and was just curious about the Isle of Wight. Nice writings from you about your life and visits back there.

  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2007 at 3:35 PM

    Interesting history on the forts and villages comprising the Isle of Wight--I particularly liked the story about Godshill and the quaint little village associated with that area...

budapest8 Used To Live Here!


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