Ryde - Seaview tramway proposal 1899
In 1899 a proposal was made by a Mr. E. I. Bax of Weybridge and a Mr. Ellis of Portsmouth to build a light electric tramway from Ryde to Seaview.
The route outlined at a public meeting in Seaview in June 1899 was, starting at George Street slipway, Ryde, along the Esplanade, around the outside of the Canoe Lake, thence acquiring a roadway through Apley wood, through the grounds of St. Clare Castle, behind the battery (Puckpool Park), along Springvale Road and along the Duver, before turning south across the marsh, through the orchard of Red Cross and across the fields entering Seaview by Ryde Road. The route would then have taken a portion of the church grounds, along Mediera Road, crossing the High Street and continued down Pier Street (Pier Road) to a proposed terminus at the pier. At the same time, the promoters agreed to provide land for a 40 ft marine drive wherever possible along the route to the local authorities. The company initially estimated the capital required, including compensation to land owners was slightly over £13,000 (about £1.7m in 2020 terms). The general feeling expressed by locals at the meeting was to object to the plan.
Ryde Town Council supported the proposal, as apparently did a number of the landowners along the route. The St. Helen’s Local Board also supported the scheme, although apparently not the members representing Seaview. However, if the scheme had been approved, the company would have had compulsory purchase powers to purchase any required properties along the route.
The proposal had to be approved by the Light Railway Commissioners using their powers under the Light Railway Act and a public inquiry chaired by the Earl of Jersey took place at Ryde Town Hall on 30th October 1899 to decide the matter. Although some property owners in Seaview supported the scheme, most of the support came from landowners along the route and people with outside interests. The opponents were basically Seaview people, either residents or those with second homes there, the major opponent was probably William Glynn, owner of Seagrove estate and trustee of the Fairy Hill estate. At the inquiry William Glynn was reported as saying that “he did not think there could be a place where people were so against a thing as the people of Sea View were against this.” Before all the witnesses opposing the scheme had been called, the Earl of Jersey stated that the Commissioners were not prepared to over-ride the wishes of Sea View. The evidence showed them that the railway was entirely for the benefit of Ryde and the application for the Order was refused.