Shanklin Town Brass Band

Rylstone Chalet, Popham Road, Shanklin, PO37 6RG

Registered Charity Number: 1172098



Rylstone Chalet

The Chalet

Rylstone Chalet, which can be found at the end of Popham Road and situated in the picturesque cliff top Rylstone Gardens, is the home of Shanklin Town Brass Band.  The Grade II listed building provides space not only for the band rehearsals but also the Saturday Morning Brass Academy.

The Band is very fortunate to have a historic Grade II listed building constructed in the style of a Swiss Cottage as its base in the beautiful Rylstone Gardens, which have been described as one of the most picturesque in the south of England.

A sign outside the chalet says:
"This building in the Swiss style is a good example of nineteenth century romantic architecture at the end of its period in fashion. Built at the same time as Rylstone Manor it was designed to complement a dramatic situation on the edge of rugged cliffs and a wild sea shore. The use of stone instead of wood is unusual but consistent in using a local material for an idealised peasant home."

The building is based on the design of a Swiss Cottage in the grounds of Osborne House in East Cowes, the former home of Queen Victoria. It has most recently been used by the Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeology Society. Prior to that it was used as a tea rooms and cafe, and pictures from the early 20th Century show bands playing outside the chalet whilst refreshments were served from the veranda. Some visitors have remarked that they remember having tea on the balcony as a child!!

Inside the chalet are a number of rooms, which allows the Band to have full rehearsals and provide individual tuition at the same time - it is an amazing resource.

The picture below shows how the chalet was looking early in 2020 - compare it to the one on the right (from 2008).

Restoration of the Chalet

The chalet is owned by the Isle of Wight Council, which has leased it to the Band - with STBB responsible for restoring the premises, which it has now completed, and its subsequent maintenance.

When we took the building over, it had been unused for sometime and was certainly in need of substantial repairs. This work was urgently needed to bring the state of the building to a reasonable level and was split into phases.

Phase 1 (Complete)
Central Heating installed

Phase 2 (Complete)
Disabled toilet and a Disabled Access Ramp were installed in 2009, although the ramp handrails in October 2020 did receive a 'facelift'.

Phase 3 (Complete)
With repairs to the chalet's exterior completed, all scaffolding was removed and the restoration was signed off by the IoW Council. The council have acknowledged that a lot of effort has been put into the restoration by the band and that the work has been carried out to a high standard.

Where possible, we strived to utilise the existing timber, however, in many cases we had no option but to replace those parts that have rotted and decayed.

Our (very) small band of volunteers achieved:

  • Installation of brand new guttering on the building.

  • Repair and repainting of the facia boards on all sides.

On the seaward facing side

  • Manufactured six new lower balcony posts ourselves and successfully installed

  • Manufactured new cross beams ourselves and they were successfully installed, connected to the new posts and the existing balcony supports

  • New balcony floor boards to replace the rotten ones have been installed.  Unfortunately, many of the existing boards were found to be suffering from both dry and wet rot.  The ones that could be saved though were treated and reinstalled.

  • Manufactured six new upper balcony posts ourselves, and installed.

  • Remedial work carried out on the floorboard joists and the corner supporting beam and new floorboards installed.

  • Skirting boards around the bottom of the new posts have been installed.

  • New balustrade rails, as well as new and repaired individual panels, have been installed.

  • Posts were painted with the top coat (twice), and the damage done to the paintwork by the scaffolding company was repaired.

Main entrance side of the building

  • Wood that had decayed or suffered from rot has been replaced.

  • Balcony floorboard joists have been replaced where required.

  • New posts (top & bottom) have been installed where needed.

  • New balustrade rails have been made and installed.

  • The scroll work was removed to receive remedial work and reinstalled.

  • When the scaffolding was removed from this side, the gaps in the floorboards caused by the scaffolding had to be filled in and any rotten boards replaced.

  • The few balustrade panels that could be reused were stripped back to bare wood, treated with wood preservative, primed, undercoated and painted with gloss paint.  They have been installed.

  • New balustrade panels were made, to replace those that we could not save and to replace the plywood panels that we removed.

  • Replacement floor boards have been installed where necessary.

Bandstand facing side

  • Replaced floorboards where necessary.

  • The existing balcony posts were sound and didn't need to be replaced, but they were removed and once stripped of many layers of paint, sanded down, treated with wood preservative and repainted, they were reinstalled.

  • The handrails and panels were removed for renovation.  They have since been reinstalled.

  • The last of the scaffolding was removed December 2019.

  • New carvings for the seaward facing side have been installed.

  • The needle at the top of the bandstand facing side is back. It was removed in 2019 for repairing/repainting.

  • The facia boards at the top of the bandstand facing side have been painted

  • Repaired other timbers that needed replacing near the roof.

Now comes the maintenance to keep it looking good.

(Photos taken in 2021)

Phase 4 (Ongoing)
Maintenance/decoration of the building.

Phase 5 (to be done)
Repairs to the veranda on the seaward facing side, which will need to be done professionally.

Any donations whether large or small towards the upkeep of the building will be gratefully received.

Rylstone Gardens

Rylstone Gardens sits on the south side of Shanklin Chine, a fissure in the cliff with plants and waterfalls that is a popular tourist attraction. The gardens are equally popular amongst Islanders and visitors alike, and have a number of exciting features - besides being the home of the Band!

With beautifully landscaped gardens overlooking Shanklin beach, Rylstone is a quiet corner of Shanklin easily accessible from the Old Village. Red squirrels, which only now exist in a few parts of Britain, can be found in the park. There is also a tribute to Elvis Presley in the north corner of the gardens, obviously continuing a musical theme in Rylstone!

The Senior Band in front of the Bandstand in 2017

Central to the gardens - and across the park from the chalet - is a bandstand. With the gardens clearing into an open-air space, surrounded by trees, it is ideal for band concerts and is easily the best venue on the Island for outside performances. STBB, along with other bands, regularly performs on the bandstand in the summer. The park is soon filled with chairs as a packed audience soak up the sound of the Band broadcasting across the gardens and beyond.

An audience listens to STBB play, with Rylstone Chalet in the background

The gardens are also home to a café (with a crazy golf course), and the Rylstone Manor Hotel - as well as a memorial to Elvis Presley.

Page last updated 26 October 2023

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