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 as the home of 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. STBB is responsible for maintaining and restoring the premises, and is looking into a number of funding avenues to ensure this happens.

When took the building over, it had been unused for sometime and was 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 (Nearly complete)
Decoration of the building internally - this has commenced and most of the downstairs areas, two main rooms upstairs, the upstairs landing and the stairway have now been redecorated. This leaves some of the smaller rooms to be done but all this is on hold as we tackle the restoration of the outside of the building which is much more important.

Phase 4 (underway)
Repairs to the chalet's exterior is currently
underway.  Where possible, we are striving to utilise the existing timber, however, in many cases we have had no option but to replace those parts that have rotted and decayed.

So far our (very) small band of volunteers have achieved:

  • Installation of brand new guttering on the building.

  • Repair and repainting of the facia boards on three sides: seaward, main entrance and the one facing the Leonard Cheshire Home.

On the seaward facing side

  • Manufactured six new lower balcony posts ourselves and they were treated, primed, undercoated (twice) and successfully installed

  • Manufactured new cross beams ourselves and they were treated, primed and undercoated (twice). They too have been 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, painted and reinstalled.

  • Manufactured six new upper balcony posts ourselves, and they were treated, primed, undercoated (twice) 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.

  • The scaffolding on that side was removed.

  • 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 and painted.

  • New balustrade rails have been made and installed.

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

  • The scaffolding was removed from this side, meaning that the gaps in the floorboards caused by the scaffolding have been 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.  They were treated, primed, undercoated and painted with gloss paint.

  • Replacement floor boards have been installed where necessary.

Bandstand facing side

  • Started replacing 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.

  • Removed the handrails and panels for renovation.  They have since been reinstalled.

  • The last of the scaffolding was removed December2019.

To be done

  • Making and installing new carvings for the main entrance side and seaward facing side.

  • Painting the facia boards at the top of the bandstand facing side, as well as repairing other timbers that need replacing.

  • Putting the needle at the top of the bandstand facing side back. It was removed last year and repaired/repainted.

We're getting there (slowly!!)

Phase 5 (to be done)
Repairs to the roof of the building, which will need to be done professionally.

If you are interested in helping us to make the full restoration of the chalet a reality, and give Shanklin a valuable community resource, all donations whether large or small 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

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. There are (several) steps down to Shanklin beach in the corner of the gardens, near the Leonard Cheshire home.

Page last updated 23 October 2020

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