Looking Back for April 25

By Matthew McKew

Friday, April 25, 2014



100 Years Ago - April 25, 1914

THE latest development in the humane treatment of habitual criminals was the erection of a number of bungalows for prisoners with good behaviour certificates.

The two-room bungalows would be built out of sight of the main prison blocks and be surrounded by an insurmountable concrete wall.

They would to be situated among the garden allotments, being provided for the better behaved prisoners to cultivate for their own profit.


The entertainment provided by the Picture Palace, at Victoria Hall, in Cowes, maintained its high reputation and popularity.

A colour film, 6,000ft long, entitled The Wastrel was shown. It was described as a powerful drama depicting the downfall of a man of high position.

Also being shown was Iron Man and the news pictures.


The War Office enforced a restricted flying zone around the IW.

75 Years Ago - April 29, 1939

A realistic, large scale air-raid precaution exercise took place in Newport and the surrounding areas.

It was found impractical to have a blackout but in every other way, conditions were as near as possible to those likely to be encountered in war time.

Approximately 400 air-raid workers, drivers, decontamination squads and repair gangs took part.

Police, special constables, wardens, rescue squads, ambulance attendants and firemen wore protective clothing, steel hats and gas masks.


Around 2,000 men turned out for a National Service review in Newport.

The parade saw regular forces, the three Island territorial units and volunteers of the civil defence services turn out for inspection.

Captain P. D. MacDonald, MP, said: "The chosen date, St George’s Day, was most appropriate, as the day on which the epic of Zeebrugge will ever be remembered, symbolising as it did with other glorious episodes in our history, the readiness of Britain’s sons to give their all in resisting arrogant threats to the freedom and security of the Motherland."

50 Years Ago - April 25, 1964

The first pre-school playgroup on the Island was due to open at Queen’s Road, Ryde, a week after Whitsun.

The playgroup, catering for two to five year olds, would be run on a not-for-profit basis.


A UK first took place on the IW when a new chest unit at St Mary’s Hospital opened with the "racecourse system" design.

The £80,000 unit had 28 beds laid out around the sides of the building.

At the centre was the nurses’ station, where a switchboard connected to each bed received calls from patients requiring attention.


History repeated itself when an Australian flag was presented to All Saints’ CE Primary School by a school in Australia.

It followed a similar gift given 50 years ago to the children of Freshwater IW Council School.

The latter school had been absorbed into the West Wight County Secondary School and so All Saints was chosen as a replacement.

It was hoped a new circle of pen friends would be created between the schools.

25 Years Ago - April 21, 1989

The IW could have been wiped off the tourist map if an oil spillage at Shanklin had developed further, warned Island MP Barry Field.

Thousands of crude oil globules were washed along a mile stretch of the Hope and Appley beaches in the town.

The oil was thought to have been flushed out of the tanks or bilges of a tanker passing through The English Channel.

Eric Hibberd, of the IW Joint Tourism Committee, met the local government minister.

He said: "I put it to him irresponsible tanker captains could totally ruin the economy of the Island by their thoughtless actions."


Staff at Island schools were bracing themselves to the possible loss of more than 150 job losses.

The education committee sounded the warning there was a gap between government grants and Island needs.

10 Years Ago - April 23, 2004

The front of the Co-op store in Elmfield was ripped off when a delivery lorry clipped the side of the building.

A one-metre wide section of the felted roof came away from the main wall of the building, and the bright green sign was bent and twisted.

The incident occurred at 8.40am, when customers were using the shop.


A firearms unit was called after police sealed off several roads during a siege at a house in Lake, during the early hours of the morning.

The mainland unit was backed by dog handlers and a helicopter after a reports a man had threatened a woman with a knife.

The woman managed to flee her house but left her baby behind.

A 36-year-old man was taken into police custody and arrested after the six-hour siege.

The baby was found safe, well and asleep.


An Island soldier was airlifted back to the UK after sustaining injuries on the frontline in Iraq.

The man was in the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, which was caught in a fierce fire-fight.

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