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History Publications and Books

Gloster Sheridan's Guide to The Isle of Wight

REF NR: 2282
Gloster Sheridan's Guide to The Isle of Wight is a fabulous snapshot of the Island in and around 1832. It provides not only a historical and topographical review but a real feeling of presence when you begin reading through this enchanting record of local daily life.

As you progress through the publication, it is reinforced by several lovely engravings of various views of the island in and around 1832. Most of the engravings are thought to have been drawn by a G. Barclay. Not all are signed, however, so it’s difficult to attribute these at this stage.

Sheridan's Isle of Wight

As you read on, the author begins to take you on a journey travelling through each town and village on a clockwise route around the Isle, giving you an idea of what to expect, what to see and do and of course where to find the best places to eat and stay.
Ryde Circa 1830s
Primarily one of Sheridan’s objectives was to raise the profile of tourism and that of the various hotels along the way. This allowed him not only to gain a revenue stream from the landlords and business owners alike, but also acted as a very good method of profiling his own establishment of “Sheridan’s Boarding House” in Ryde.
The original boarding house in Union Street, whose space is now occupied by Ladbrokes betting shop, is thought to have been built in or around 1802 - just opposite that of Robert Yelf’s new enterprise who had himself just completed the building of Yelf’s hotel opposite in 1901. Sheridan’s boarding house was fairly extensive for the time and stretched all the way back to Union Road with splendid, if not slightly exaggerated views of the solent. 
The rather exploited advert on page 36 along with a pull out engraved image of the establishment,  demonstrates nicely the objective that Sheridan had when writing the “travel guide”.
“Sheridan’s Boarding House”


 Census and Population Count - 30th May 1831

Dotted throughout the publication are a number of interesting and fascinating jottings of interest. One of these is a pull out page (not in the Google PDF scan), that contains an account of the population as of 30th May 1831. The page defines not only the towns and villages polled but also how many people there are, their genders, their respective dwellings, certain age groups, as well as the types of occupation generalised between agricultural, trade, wholesale and in service.  From an analytical point of view, it makes a very interesting document showing what, where and how the 35,363 Islanders lived. One of the most interesting points here is that nearly 5% of the population, being 1500, were employed in service.
May 1831 Census Data
“The Sales Pitch”
“From the admirable situation of the house, it commands the most extensive and interesting view, comprising Anglesea, Stoke’s Bay, Portsmouth with its Harbour, Spithead, Chichester Cathedral, Hayling Island, Selsey Bill, &c.” 

At the end of the publication there is a lovely example of one of politest adverts I have ever read. “Those Tradesmen of Ryde, Cowes, Newport and Yarmouth who may wish to avail themselves of the opportunity afforded in the Edition for the next year, of inserting their Cards of Address, will communicate their intentions on or before the 1st March 1833."