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
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
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 - with STBB responsible for restoring the
premises, which it has now completed, and its
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
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 (Ongoing)
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 (Complete)
Repairs to the chalet's exterior is complete, all scaffolding
removed and has been 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:
On the seaward facing side
Manufactured new cross beams ourselves and they
were successfully installed, connected to the new posts and the existing
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.
around the bottom of the new posts have been installed.
New balustrade rails, as well as new and
repaired individual panels,
Posts were painted with the top coat (twice), and the damage done to
the paintwork by the scaffolding company was repaired.
of the building
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
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.
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
The handrails and panels were removed for renovation.
They have since been reinstalled.
The last of the scaffolding was removed
New carvings for the seaward facing side have
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 5 (to be done)
Repairs to the veranda on the seaward
facing side, which will need to be done
donations whether large or small towards the upkeep of the building will
be gratefully received.
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.
listens to STBB play, with
Rylstone Chalet in the background
gardens are also home to a
café (with a crazy golf course),
and the Rylstone
Manor Hotel - as well as a memorial to Elvis
Page last updated
25 November 2021