Royal Squadron, formerly the Royal Kent Hotel
Prior to 1780 Ryde
town was divided into two separate settlements, upper
and lower Ryde, In lower Ryde were the huts of the longshoremen families, largely engaged in ferrying passengers and goods, and piloting ships.
At the top of the steep rise was an agricultural community.
The two settlements were connected by a track
which roughly followed the route of the present
day St Thomas Street.
Union Street was created in 1780 to join the two villages
together. The width of the street (Originally
two way) is reputed to have derived from the
need to turn a horse and cart around in one single
turn. The Royal Squadron building is situated at 70
Union Street, Ryde.
The Royal Squadron was formerly known as the Kent
Hotel (Built in 1835),
and is reputed to be where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
stayed whilst making plans for Osborne House, they
also held court on the first floor whilst Osborne
House was being built.
The Queen and many other Royal visitors
visited the town and stayed in the hotel on
several occasions but although popular with the
Royals, Union Street was not always the privilege
of the rich and famous and in the Summer of 1837 the
'Ryde Riots' took place outside the hotel.
proprietor was a Mr Alexander Stephens who boasted
that the newly built hotel was....
in the principal street of the town, distant
but a minute’s walk from the Pier,
commanding most extensive and beautiful sea
views, has been erected within the last two
years, and fitted up in a style of elegance
and comfort, including baths and every
convenience fit for the accommodation of
Aristocracy and Gentry, visiting the Island
for the season, or on a tour."
capacious cellars had been stocked, "at an expense of several thousand
pounds", with a vast choice of Wines,
Spirits, Liqueurs and Champagnes. Dinner and Strong Ales
were also brewed on the Premises.
In 1903 the hotel
had a brief spell of being know as "Lorimer's
Royal Hotel" when Alexander Lorimer took over
The Royal Squadron Hotel
70 Union Street, Ryde PO33 2LN
Listed: 24 October 1950
Isle of Wight
Heritage Building ID: 417031
Grid Reference: SZ5924292846
Grid Coordinates: 459242,
Large early C19 building with an elaborate front. Four storeys. Five
windows on the top floor. Stuccoed, ground floor rusticated. Continuous
iron balcony on first floor. Plain pilasters flanking the whole front
above the ground floor and carried up above the parapet.
Three pairs of
coupled and fluted Corinthian pilasters not projecting as far as these
and from first to second floor only. Between them on first and second
floors two large four-light bay windows containing French windows, with
individual iron balconies on second floor. Cornice above the bays, which
is continued along the front and supported by the Corinthian pilasters.
Modillion cornice above this.
Five windows on the third floor flanked
by plain pilasters, with frieze above and long recessed panel surmounted
by dentilled cornice and crested parapet. Glazing bars
intact. Entrance to yard through the ground floor at the South end.
floor is now occupied by 'Coburgs' bar and music venue.
The name is derived from Queen Victoria's German
The Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld was one of the Saxon Duchies held by the Ernestine line of the Wettin Dynasty. Established in the 17th century, the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield line lasted until the reshuffle of Ernestine territories that occurred following the extinction of the Saxe-Gotha line in 1825, in which the Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld line received Gotha, but lost Saalfeld to Saxe-Meiningen.
Queen Victoria was raised under close supervision by her German-born mother - Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. She inherited the throne at the age of 18 after her father's three elder brothers died without surviving legitimate issue. She married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg.
Albert died at the early age of 42, plunging the Queen into a deep mourning which lasted for the rest of her life. Whilst in this long, drawn out period she would often seek solice at the Kent Hotel in
Ryde, reminded of happier memories with her husband. Upon Queen Victoria's death in 1901, their son, Edward VII, succeeded as the first monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and
So this is where the venues name comes from, the royal (and largely unknown) second name of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert - in memory of a building they held very dear to their hearts.