100 Years Ago December 27, 1913
THE first ever motor-engine fire engine was introduced to the Island.
Shanklin fire brigade received the converted Mercedes motor-car, which could carry two officers and eight men.
It had a 40 horse power engine and carried a 1,500ft hose. It could also be used to draw the steam engines that were being used at that time.
Hospitals, prisons and the county asylum all transformed their normally bleak decor to Christmas colours.
Prisoners at Parkhurst were treated to roast beef and plum pudding.
At the many hospitals, gramophones were used and games played on the wards. Some nurses sang carols.
Members of Ventnor town council put their hands in their pockets to give the town’s workmen a small bonus.
The chairman said it gave him great pleasure to continue the good custom started by his predecessor.
He said he had known the workmen for a number of years and he could not remember a more steady and industrious body of men.
75 Years Ago December 24, 1938
Hot beer was used to entice cold workmen into a Newport pub.
The publican decided cold beer did not seem inviting during the winter weather and so capitalised on his new invention.
A gale prevented the Yarmouth to Lymington ferry from reaching the Island until 4pm one day.
It meant residents in the West Wight did not receive their mornings papers until teatime.
Distress rockets were fired into the air by a barge anchored just east of the pier at Yarmouth.
The small craft had been attempting to get to Weymouth but was caught in a gale.
The lifeboat crews were unable to tug the boat back into harbour but instead rescued the sailors and brought them back ashore.
Lifeboat crews said they were numbed with cold and the spray which crashed over the decks had immediately turned to ice.
Scouts were due to be trained by the coastguard on how to assist at time of national emergency.
The boys were to receive lessons on how to stand lookout and to save lives when ships were in distress.
50 Years Ago December 28, 1963
Laden with a cargo, which included turkey, chicken, ham, eggs and puddings, the Bembridge relief lifeboat successfully completed the annual mission of transporting Christmas food to the three keepers on the Nab Tower.
The gifts were contributed by hoteliers, tradesmen, and other organisations.
A carol service was held at the top of the 100ft-high tower.
Parkhurst prison saw fewer free association periods at Christmas, following its move from a preventative detention centre to a long-term prison.
But prisoners were still treated to a Christmas dinner and a showing of the Frank Sinatra and Gina Lollobrigida film Never So Few.
At Fairlee Hospital, the Red Cross Society put on a concert and volunteers from Wroxall Women’s Institute sang carols.
25 Years Ago December 22, 1988
Fire raged through the uppers floors of the King Charles I hotel, in Grove Road, Ventnor, destroying much of the interior and roof of the historic, Grade II listed building.
Sixty firemen and eight fire appliances were used to tackle the blaze at the 36-room hotel.
The effects of the fire could be seen next morning when it was possible to stand in the ground-floor hallway and look up through the ceiling to the open sky.
Controversial pedestrianisation plans for two Newport squares were due to be recommended for approval.
The plans include banning traffic from St Thomas’s Square and the eastern side of St James’s Square.
The independent inspector said it would restore dignity and peace to the parish church and the war memorial.
One major Island egg producer was facing the prospect of killing thousands of hens as a result of a national salmonella scare.
The farmer, who had 16,000 birds at Newchurch, also voiced fears over the jobs of three of his workers.
He said the scare had meant he was receiving 50 per cent less for each of his eggs than usual.
10 Years Ago December 24, 2003
The IW Council received a bumper Christmas present when it was awarded more than £13 million to spend on the Island’s roads.
The majority of the money was to be spent on Undercliff Drive, St Lawrence, with £12.1 million being set aside to secure the future of the road.
The remaining portion of the money was to go towards strengthening bridges and repairing potholes.
Supporters of Newport FC were doggedly fighting against the impending end of their beloved football club.
Players agreed to take to the field without receiving wages, although the team’s football manager stood down.
The receiver firm said that, despite a lot of publicity, no rescue bids had been mounted