Looking Back for May 2

By Matthew McKew

Friday, May 2, 2014



100 years ago | 75 years ago | 50 years ago | 25 years ago | 10 years ago

100 Years Ago - May 2, 1914

FIREFIGHTERS, who were attending a church service, were forced to abandon their plans in order to attend a stable fire in Newport.

The alarm was sounded by a telephone call to the police. A mariner attempted to rescue a trapped horse but the beast fell exhausted by the doorway.

An estimated £150 worth of damage was caused, with two vans, tools, hay, five bicycles, one motor-bike and a bath chair all being destroyed.


A crowd was drawn in by the sound of a fire-hooter when a boot shop was discovered ablaze in Newport.

Ten firemen responded to the emergency along with some police constables, although most officers were at Ashey races. The proximity of the buildings made it difficult for the seat of the fire to be located but it was eventually put out without causing too much damage.


A military monoplane was seen flying over Ryde seafront at a moderate elevation and travelling at a high speed.

75 Years Ago - May 6, 1939

A fur cold storage plant was opened in Ryde. Described at the time as the most modern of its kind, the idea was to prevent damage from moths, dampness and summer heat.

The plant created an artificial environment during the summer to keep the furs safe.


A meeting was held in Ryde to discuss civil defence. The committee discussed provision of public shelters, supplies of sandbags, food supplies, organisation and personnel.


A wild duck’s nest containing 12 eggs was discovered in the thatched roof of Tower Cottage, Shanklin. The ducklings were taken to the Manor Pond.

50 Years Ago - May 2, 1964

A strawberry grower from the IW featured on a BBC programme, due to his success in producing his crop in April. Cyril Hawes had a three-acre nursery, of which a quarter of an acre was under glass.

His success at producing strawberries so early in the season meant he could sell them for a shilling or more apiece.


Southern Vectis revealed it had no plans to build a bus station at Ryde unless the train station closed.

However, the traffic manager for the bus company told the Ryde Professional and Businessmen’s Association meeting that, despite the lack of plans, he believed buses were vital to Ryde Esplanade.

He said several hundred thousand passengers were transported to and from the Esplanade each year.


Confidence in Island boat building skills and craftsmanship was demonstrated when the Italian government placed an order for a lifeboat.

The 52ft Barnett-type lifeboat — the largest to operate in Britain at the time — was selected for its hardy build against the adverse weather found in the Corsican Channel and Tyrrhenian Sea.

25 Years Ago - April 28, 1989

Teams from the Home Office inspected the Albany and Camp Hill prisons to see if additional inmates could be housed. Plans were being drawn up to help alleviate overcrowding in jails.

Although no final decision had been made, outline planning applications aimed to add another 100 inmates.


A new factory site was given planning permission despite breaching rules.

The move by Medina Borough Council was in order to stop the Island’s biggest independent employer of the time, Island Pine, from moving to the mainland.

Some members of the planning committee complained the firm, which employed 182 workers, was holding a gun to the members’ heads. The new factory was designed to cover 80,000 sq ft.

10 Years Ago - April 30, 2004

A powerful campaign was launched to install a mayor at County Hall. The group advocating a move towards a mayor-run council needed to convince 4,000 people to sign a petition, which would force the council to hold a referendum.


Island bars and restaurants were facing the prospect of a smoking ban, similar to that in Ireland. The IW was set to be the first place in Britain to adopt the measure. The planned ban extended to public buildings.

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