Looking Back for May 16

By Matthew McKew

Friday, May 16, 2014



100 Years Ago - May 16, 1914

A RECORD was set by a 20-year-old waiter for a round-the-Island walk.

The Sandringham Private Hotel employee set out from the Jubilee Memorial Fountain, opposite Sandown Free Library, at 1am. He returned at 7.56pm that evening. The walker declared he could do it again in 17 hours.


A motorcyclist travelling home from Cowes, where he had been for his early morning swim in the sea, had an alarming accident while overtaking a gravel cart.

The driver of the cart turned at a right angle just as the motorcyclist was overtaking. The bike struck the shaft of the cart, grazed the horse, which bolted, and threw the biker off. Fortunately, the worst injury was a swollen knee.


The South Western and IW Junction Railway Bill, which sought to revive the powers of compulsory purchase for the completion of railway piers and other works, and to empower the undertakers to raise additional capital for other purposes, was brought before the unopposed bill committee of the House of Lords.

The bill, which would pave the way for a Solent tunnel, was approved for a third reading.

75 Years Ago - May 20, 1939

A subsidy of £2 an acre towards ploughing previously pastured land was extended to October. It was part of the of the government’s effort to increase food production.


A restaurant in Newport displayed an acrostic advert using the word Hitler.

The initials outlined the sentence, Here Is The Least Expensive Restaurant, with an apt slogan below saying walk right through.


Cowes District Council renewed its effort to increase the popularity of the public slipper baths.


Three lamps would be installed along Newport Road between the Horseshoe and Somerton to light Northwood at night.

50 Years Ago - May 16, 1964

One of the most modern police stations in the country was opened in Newport. The divisional police headquarters, in the High Street, was opened by the Duke of Wellington.

The previous headquarters in Fairlee Road were built in 1879 and had cost £2,700. The police station cost £68,350.


An Islander set a new record when he won the annual London to Brighton stroll for medical and dental students. The 22 year old set out from the Tower of London at 6.30pm and completed the 50-mile walk by 3.39am.


The Sandown-Shanklin Council was set to introduce a pilot one-way system. The idea was to introduce a new road system between Beachfield Road and the High Street, and the Broadway and Albert Road.

25 Years Ago - May 12, 1989

Two elderly guests were rescued from a hotel fire after a blaze broke out at a newly refurbished hotel in Shanklin. A 70 year old and a 77 year old were taken to hospital.

The fire destroyed a 20-metre section of the roof. At the height of the fire, 30 firefighters were at the scene.


Three water meter workers turned firefighters when a blaze broke out at a house in Bembridge.

The trio had been working at a nearby house when they downed tools and rushed to extinguish the fire. They used buckets and a watering can to douse the kitchen fire before the fire brigade could get there.

10 Years Ago - May 14, 2004

A supermarket in Cowes was accused of bully-boy tactics as a long-running right-of-way argument took an unexpected twist. The store erected an iron cage across a metre strip of land outside the shop and a man’s house, limiting the resident’s access.


The Royal Mail admitted it was mystified when a postcard was delivered to a Ventnor hotel, almost 100 years after it was first posted.

The postcard arrived at the Royal Hotel bearing a half penny stamp issued during the reign of Edward VII, who died in 1910.

It depicted an Oxford University college and was posted in Oxford by a German.

The hotel manager showed the card to some German guests who confirmed the style of German had slipped out of use after the First World War.


Around 2,300 people signed up to Walk the Wight, meaning it was set to be the biggest ever.

Reporter: matthewm@iwcpmail.co.uk

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