New book celebrates life of pioneer Samuel Ryder

AUTHOR and golf enthusiast Peter Fry signed copies of his new book focusing on local businessman Samuel Ryder in St Albans on Thursday.

His book Samuel Ryder, The Man Behind The Ryder Cup explores the life of the former Mayor of St Albans who founded the Ryder Cup golf championship which takes place biennially between professional golfers in Europe and the USA and tees off again next month.

Mr Fry said: “The ingenious Samuel Ryder influenced the horticultural world and the golfing world with world-wide consequences. What is often understated is his hugely significant contribution to the St Albans community.”

The book charts his time as a local councillor from 1903 until 1916 and his time as Mayor in 1905.

It also reveals the lesser known fact that Samuel Ryder originated the idea of selling garden seeds in penny packets through the post, making them widely available and affordable to the masses.


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He sought to dispatch all orders so that they would arrive in time for the weekend when many of his customers, who were working people, were able to plant their seeds. His seed business, Ryder and Sons, was located in St Albans.

Cllr Sheila Burton, the district council’s portfolio holder for culture and heritage, and a keen golfer, said: “Peter Fry has spent a large part of his life involved in golf. He is especially interested in the history of the Ryder Cup and its founder. His book, containing many copies of documents of the time, is a fascinating study of the history of the Cup and its connections with St Albans.”

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More information can be discovered about Samuel Ryder, through the Samuel Ryder Trail: An Introduction. The trail takes visitors around the city pointing out buildings with which Mr Ryder had connections. To obtain this guide visit the district council’s Tourist and Information Centre or call 01727 864511.

The St Albans Tour Guides also offer a Samuel Ryder Guided Trail: A Round With Sam Ryder. It is now a permanent feature of the St Albans Tour Guides Walk Programme. Tickets can be pre-booked via the Tourist and Information Centre or purchased from tour guides on the day.

For further information about this and future tours visit the website: http://www.stalbanstourguides.co.uk/St_Albans_-_Lets_Walk/St_Albans_City_Walks.html

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