Looking Back for April 11, 2014

By Sara Bryce

Friday, April 11, 2014



100 Years Ago - April 11, 1914

DESPITE unsettled weather, huge numbers of visitors headed to the Island for the Easter holidays.

At Shanklin, many of the hotels and boarding houses were fully booked and due to large influx of visitors to the West Wight, an extra late-night ferry crossing was put on between Yarmouth and Lymington. The majority of the Island’s visitors came from London.


A Cowes-built seaplane had a successful maiden flight over the town.

The large plane, built by Messrs J. S. White and Co. for the Admiralty was piloted by well-known aviator Gordon England and designer Howard Wright joined him as a passenger.

The plane was towed out of the harbour by a motor launch in a stiff breeze and choppy seas where it was tested on the water, before lifting gracefully into the air. The plane was an exact replica of one inspected by the king at a show at Olympia.


After a ten-year-old boy fell off Pickford’s Wharf at Cowes, a plucky rescue was carried out by a fitter at the gas works.

The boy, named as Jones, was at risk of drowning as the water was running with a strong current until Jack West jumped overboard to his aid.

75 Years Ago - April 15, 1939

Gloriously sunny weather over the Easter weekend made it the finest for years on the Island.

Unsettled weather had been forecast from Good Friday but it took a different course and missed the Island entirely leaving bright sun and temperatures ten degrees above April averages.

An estimated 1,000 cars visited the Island from the mainland for the holidays, plus pedestrians and huge parties of cyclists.


The flying of a large Union flag from the top of Messrs J. S. White’s crane revealed the Cowes shipbuilders had received orders to build ten new escort vessels for the Admiralty.

The ships were due to be an entirely new type, speedier than the last model and with 4ins-high-angle guns, suited to deal with attack from the air and by submarine.


The most serious fire at Cowes since Compton’s boat-building yard was destroyed nearly two years before occurred when a garage, three motor coaches and a Daimler car were destroyed.

The garage, on the corner of Weston Road and Park Road, belonged to taxi and coach company owner Bernard Groves, who provided cars for royal visits to Osborne House.

50 Years Ago - April 17, 1964

A group of Cowes businessmen and yachting enthusiasts were seeking permission to build a yacht haven in Cowes Harbour.

The planned inner harbour — almost 450 square feet — would provide sheltered moorings for more than 200 craft, up to about 35ft in length.


A new line in headwear for men of the Hampshire and IW Police Force was introduced. The cork helmet, which was discarded in 1958 for the wool-felt type, was to be brought back.

Chief constable Douglas Osmond said the cork helmet was much more satisfactory and afforded greater protection to a crack on the head.


Four Cowes Secondary School schoolgirls made a novel addition to the fight to preserve the Island’s railway.

The four girls — Jane Welburn, Denise Preston, Pat Weslotorn and Sheila Hardy — who had competed in a public speaking contest at Ventnor, had impressed the chairman of the IW Railway Retention Association, who asked them to repeat their speeches at the association’s meeting.

The girls’ speeches had touched on points that affected the fight for the railway, including saving the Island’s footpaths.

25 Years Ago - April 7, 1989

A Shanklin man who, discovered an unexploded bomb in his garden, had to wait five days for the bomb squad to remove it.

Michael Moss, of Landguard Manor Road, found the mortar under a clump of ivy while cleaning his garden. Seeing the aluminium cap, he dug up the 14ins-long shell, which he noticed had six fins on either side, and immediately called police.

He was told to keep well away from it until bomb disposal teams arrived five days later.


A 92-year-old Brighstone woman left the Royal British Legion her home — and three elderly donkeys.

Dorothy Lloyd, a staunch supporter of the legion, left her estate, valued at around £650,000, to the charity. Her wish was for her former guesthouse home to be used as a home for the elderly and for her donkeys — Jenny, a 35-year-old former seaside donkey, Rosie and her daughter, Beth — to be looked after.

The donkeys were kept at the house in their own paddock and stable, and their future was to be decided in the following months.


One of the Island’s biggest fundraising campaigns got underway with the launch of the County Press Riversiders.

The aim was to help furnish and equip the Riverside Centre, the multi-purpose unit for disabled and able-bodied people, at The Quay, Newport. The County Press backed the Island-wide appeal with a donation of £1,000 and had a target of £100,000 over the year.

10 Years Ago - April 8, 2004

"Tomorrow night 13-year-old Emily McGregor is Belinda Carlisle!"

Emily appeared on ITV’s Stars In Their Eyes: Kids, singing the hit Heaven is a Place on Earth, made famous by the former Go-Gos singer.

Medina High School pupil Emily met presenter Cat Deeley and said she was treated like a real star for the day, complete with her own dressing room with her name on it.

She said: "It was the highlight of my life. I had a wonderful time."


A group of motorcyclists played Easter bunny to deliver chocolate eggs to the children’s ward at St Mary’s Hospital and nursing homes around the Island.

Around 100 bikers from the IW Honda Owners’ Club took part in the annual Easter Egg Ride, which began at Coppins Bridge and took in stops around the Island before finishing at the hospital.

The club collected 200 eggs from Island companies.

Reporter: sarab@iwcpmail.co.uk

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