OPENING OF THE NEW RYDE PIER PAVILION
Those who are acquainted with the energy which the directors of the Ryde Pier Company have of late shown will not be surprised at this their latest grand addition to the promenade pier. The building, which reflects great credit on the architect (Mr. R. St. G. Moore) is situated in the open angle at the junction of the railway and promenade piers at the water end. It is octagonal in shape, with reading-rooms, club- rooms and refreshment bars adjoining, the main approach being from the west side immediately adjoining the electric railway platform. After passing the pay-box on the right is a wide staircase leading to the promenade galleries, one inside and another outside, from which one of the finest panorama scenes imaginable is to be seen, embracing as it does the whole Solent, with Southampton Water, Portsmouth Harbour, forts, and the racing course of the Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Victoria Yacht Club. On the left of the vestibule are refreshment rooms and bars, in the care of Messrs. Bradford. The pavilion proper has a hall 65ft. across, and capable of seating 600 persons with a promenade round the seats, a pretty stage partly standing out into the hall with dressing-rooms on either side, while running round the entire building is the inner promenade gallery, estimated to accommodate as many as 500 promenaders, making a total capacity of 1,100 persons. The lighting, which is admirable, is amply done by elegant suspended brass chandeliers fitted with incandescent lights, while in the centre is a large sun light. The structure, with its dome roof, is entirely of steel and iron framework, completed with wood, colours being ivory white and gold, panelling’s of terra-cotta. Messrs. Roe and Grace are the contractors, and to them great praise is due, Mr. Grace superintending the work, the total cost of which will be about £6,000. The Opening ceremony took place on Thursday, and was performed by the popular member for the island, Sir Richard Webster. A luncheon was given by the directors, at which over 200 were present. Dr. A. G. Davey, chairman of the company, received Sir Richard and conducted him to the platform, where also were the Mayors of Ryde, Newport, Portsmouth, and Southampton, the sheriffs of Portsmouth and Southampton, and General the Hon. J. G. Somerset Calthorpe (chairman of the County Council), while in the body of the hall were representatives of all the Island public bodies. Sir Richard, in a few well-chosen words of congratulation, declared the Pavilion open. Dr. Davey then thanked him for coming, claiming it as being an extremely important event, not only to Ryde, but to the island generally. After lunch Sir Richard proposed the toast of the day, “Prosperity to the Ryde Pier Company.” During the luncheon Madame Hirsch’s Anglo – Viennese Ladies’ Orchestra performed. The company have leased the Pavilion on certain nights for six weeks to Messrs. J. Bannister Howard and Eric Scott, while at other times military bands and vocalists will be in attendance. The opening programme in the evening provided by the lessees, and witnessed by a crowded audience, was very good and certainly pleased the public. The most successful was undoubtedly Madame Hirsch’s Ladies’ Orchestra, who, attired in fancy dresses, played selections with infinite care and finish. The Bertinis had several encores for their clever musical entertainment. Mr. William Hillier, who has a fine tenor voice, was in good form, and was heard to advantage in all parts of the building. Miss Rose Swinerd also sang. The charges for admission to entitle one to a seat at a seaside hall, 2s. and Is., struck us as rather high (although a full house assembled on the opening night) whether the public will be drawn at such prices the management have to prove, and is extremely doubtful. The charges on ordinary band nights are to be 6d. and 3d., these being much more in accordance with other seaside resorts. On Sundays the sacred entertainments will be free.