Mason's Guide (1876) - Ryde
"A pleasant and cheerful countenance is a great recommendation to a town, especially if that town depend for its existence upon the patronage of those in pursuit of health and pleasure. All who have written descriptions of the town of Ryde, and the hundreds of thousands who have visited it during the last forty years, are unanimous in the opinion that for beauty and atractiveness Ryde stands without a rival. Within the memory of men and women now living the site on which this popular watering-place now stands was occupied by two insignificant villages, the inhabitants of which were mostly fishermen. In 1795, the united populations of Upper and Lower Ryde, as these villages were then termed, did not amount to more than 600, nor did the place advance much till 1813, when the first pier was erected. That Ryde possesses something more than a pleasant and attractive appearance must be evident from the fact that from that period to the present it has yearly increased, and that its population at the present time, inclusive of the suburbs is 13,000. This large increase, it should be remembered, cannot be attributed in any degree to the absence of rivals; for on all sides watering-places have sprung up, both in and out of the island. We think therefore, it may be fairly inferred that, the very large amount of favour bestowed upon this town is attributable to the fact that within it are to be found more comfort and freedom, as well as greater varieties of enjoyment, than can be had elsewhere."
[Description(s) from Mason's Guide to the Isle of Wight (1876)]