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History of The Depozitory

Back in November 1738, Two british brothers in their Thirties, John and Charles Wesley, who had travelled on an evangelical mission to Georgia USA were returning home. They set foot on the Isle of Wight when their ship had to take shelter in St. Helen's Bay during a storm.

Later in the year 1753 preacher John Welsey who had by now started the Methodist movement, returned for a visit, preaching at Newport. Those were the years when the people of the Isle of Wight were under the influence of the evangelicals. Whilst the colonists in America were dumping tea in Boston Harbour, the Wesleyan Methodist Society was formed in Godshill and by 1790 the society had grown so big, they decided to build their own chapel. Land donated by Thomas Bull and timbers from wrecks scattered around the island were used for the construction of the first chapel. This was the "Weatherboard Chapel" at Godshill. By the time that John Wesleyan died in 1791, the Methodist society membership had grown to 58,000.

By 1811 numbers were up to 145,000 and in 1831 the membership stood at 249,000. By the middle of 19th century the Wesleyan followers officially took on the name "Methodists". Growth in numbers necessitated a more permanent chapel, and during Queen Victoria's Coronation of 1837 the current chapel at Godshill was built on a different piece of land that was donated by the Earl of Yarborough, a Church of England member.

As membership kept growing, more Wesleyan chapels were opened around the island. Our own Ryde Wesleyan Chapel (Depozitory) was built around 1832 on a piece of land donated by Henry Phene who died twenty-six years later in 1858.

By 1840, approximately 21 chapels had been built all over the island from Newport to Cowes and in 1864, the chapel in Ventor was added.

During the 19th Century, the Wesleyan society, having established their Sunday Schools which proved very popular nationwide, boasted a membership of 325,000 (in 1862).

The Sunday School at Godshill was added on during the 1890's, with the main subject taught being the history of the Wesleyan people and their lives.

During 1841-42 several preachers were at Ryde Wesleyan Chapel (Depozitory). Among them were Thompson, Leach, Trueman, Jackman, Smith, Jeffries, Pinkhorn, Dawkins, Alderslade, Brown, Bull and Chambers.

By 1861 the Island was divided into two circuits, Ryde Circuit and Godshill Circuit. The records at our circuit in Ryde show John Shipman, J. Jeffrey, E.K. Winter (Chapel secretary), J. Withers (treasurer), J Goodall, G. Kelywosh and J.D. Thomas, as having taken part in church activities.

Regrettably, after the First World War, Samuel Chadwick, President of the Methodists' based in Manchester, announced on 21st May 1919 to the Reverand Robert Rogers of Ryde Wesleyan chapel, that the building was no longer needed for Methodist trust purposes. A buyer for the chapel, Curtiss & Sons was found who then converted the chapel into a warehouse by erecting a suspended floor in the chapel in the early 1920's. Curtiss sold the property to Whitport Ltd in 1974, who then sold it on to Hayter's of Ryde sometime in 1976.Between 1976 and 2000 the property was used as the Depository Warehouse.

By the time we purchased the property in the new millennium (May 2000), it was showing signs of the ten years of neglect during which time the building was being used as a storage depot of furniture. However, the basic structure and the roof trusses were still sound even after 170 years.

We therefore decided to embark on a major renovation programme to bring the building back to its former glory. The renovation gallery depicts the works that were carried out over a period of 3 years from 2000 to 2003. Several years later a major refurbishment was carried out in 2016 to ensure that the building can handed over to the next generation.

The building is now managed by Shademakers Group for Arts displays and exhibitions and further extensive use for the community.