OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 24, 2016.
Webpage updated: March 22, 2016

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WHO WAS WHO IN OLD DEVONPORT

JOHN WILLIAM WALTERS RYDER (1809-1904)

John William Walters Ryder, from whom Ryder Road takes its name, was born to John and Honor Ryder in the parish of Stoke Damerel on September 25th 1809 and baptised at the Parish Church exactly one month later.

Later in his life he used to take great glory in telling how he remembered being taken out into the Sound in a small boat to view Napoleon aboard HMS "Bellerophon" while deliberations were going on about his place of banishment.  It left such an impression in his mind that he even recalled that he had cherry pie with his dinner that day.

At the age of 18, in 1827, he was elected on to the Board of Commissioners which ran the affairs of the Town until it was incorporated in 1837.  Mr Ryder later claimed that they thought he was over 21 at the time.  When he reached the age of 21 he joined in an unrelenting crusade against the Church rate being imposed and he later recalled how the public vote was about to go against him and his colleagues when he stood up and spoke for over six hours to enable the working men from the Royal Dockyard to finish work and join the meeting to bolster the vote against the proposal. 

In 1838 he married Miss Eliza Puleston Clarke at Saint German's in Cornwall in 1838.

He served as a Councillor from 1837 until 1847, when he was elevated to Alderman in gratitude for his assistance in obtaining the Charter of Incorporation in 1837.  He was apprenticed to a watchmaker and jeweller and in 1844 set up in business as jeweller and pawnbroker with his brother in William Street.  In 1848 he became a Commissioner for the Poor and later one of the Board of Guardians.  He retired from business in 1860 and was promptly chosen as was Mayor of Devonport for the terms 1860-61 and 1861-62.  He was elected the chairman of the first Devonport School Board.  He served as Mayor of Devonport for five more terms, 1876-7, 1877-78, 1878-79, 1886-87 and 1887-88, and on July 25th 1899 was granted the Freedom of the Borough under the Honorary Freedom of Boroughs Act 1885, alongside Doctor Joseph May and Sir William White.  During his lifetime he founded the Plymouth, Devonport and Stonehouse Pawnbrokers' Protection Association.

Mr Ryder was a Liberal in politics and a great supporter of the library movement.  When his eyesight failed him he enjoyed nothing better than being read to.  After his wife died in 1882 her sister, Miss Ann Maria Clarke, looked after him.  After succumbing to a chill, Doctor F Everard Row was summoned  but being 95 years of age the result was inevitable.  Mr John William Walters Ryder passed away on Sunday November 13th 1904 just as the strains of the band accompanying the Mayor and Corporation could be heard passing by on their procession to Belmont Wesleyan Methodist Chapel for the Mayor-Sunday service.

The funeral took place at the Plymouth Cemetery, Ford Park, on Thursday November 17th 1904, his body being interred in the Puleston family vault with is late wife.  As they had no children, the nearest relative in attendance was his nephew, Mr Sydney Ryder.