Looking Back, Friday, December 6, 2013

By Sara Bryce

Friday, December 6, 2013


100 Years Ago - December 6, 1913

THE steamer, Scotsdyke, which had recently caught fire off Ventnor and was beached for some days at Calshot Spit, was towed to Sunderland to be repaired.

The following day, while on its journey, the fire broke out again while the vessel was off Aldeburgh.

Help was once again called and the steamer flooded to extinguish the fire.


A little dog, which was rescued from the burning steamer, Scotsdyke, had become well loved by officers and men of HMS Iron Duke, which had gone to the aid of the stricken vessel.

The dog, named Spot, was presented to his rescuers by Capt Grigor of the Scotsdyke.


A porpoise was found among a catch of 3,000 herring bought by a fishmonger.

Messrs Smith and Son bought the catch from Sandown fishermen and made the discovery.

The porpoise was put on display at the shop in Pyle Street, Newport.

75 Years Ago - December 3, 1938

A haystack of about 20 tonnes, belonging to Mr R. Fish, of Brighstone Mill near Military Road, Brighstone, was destroyed in a fire.

As there was no water available and the burning stack did not endanger any nearby buildings, it was allowed to burn out naturally.

The fire was thought to have been started by a carelessly thrown away cigarette end.


The West Wight had enjoyed periods of brilliant winter sunshine despite the terrific gales which had struck the south coast.

Sheltered spots, including Compton and Freshwater bays, were veritable sun traps and visitors had enjoyed warm sun and views of the dramatic rolling waves out at sea.

Several hardy young men were said to have been swimming and sunbathing.


A Ryde girl’s bravery was recognised by the Salvation Army.

Eight-year-old Pearl Gardner, of Alfred Street, was presented with the Army’s Life Saving Bronze Medallion after she saved her three-year-old cousin, David Jones, from downing at Ryde when he fell over the breakwater into deep water and she jumped into the sea and held him until assistance arrived.

50 Years Ago - December 7, 1963

The 'sleeping’ Princess flying boats, which cost nearly £11 million to build in the early 1950s and were never used, were offered for sale on the open market.

Expected only to reach scrap metal prices, a dozen buyers were shown around one of the planes in Cowes. Many prospective buyers had creative plans for the planes, which were 147ft long with a 220ft wing span and weighed in at 140 tonnes.

Plans included setting the plane in a 'sea’ of concrete and converting it into a restaurant. Pop group The Bachelors were interested in making one into a floating jazz club and coffee bar moored off Brighton beach.


Island residents ate more frozen food than anywhere else in Britain it was revealed.

Due to the huge demand for quick frozen produce, a new store selling exclusively frozen goods was opened in Gunville.


County council plans for an extension to County Hall were rejected for the second time. A £186,000 design was sent back to the drawing board with calls for a less 'grandiose’ design as it was said the proposal was not in the best interests of rate payers.

25 Years Ago - December 2, 1988

Burt’s of Ventnor, the Island’s only brewery, was to remain an independent family business following a £1.8 million buy-out by 34-year-old brewer Alastair Phillips.

Mr Phillips, whose family had run the brewery for more than 80 years, had bought the business from a trust set up by his grandfather, William, in 1938.


Parkhurst prison officers welcomed the report of the chief inspector of prisons as vindicating their long-standing claims the prison was seriously understaffed.

The report stated complaints seemed to justify an examination of staffing levels and the Home Office confirmed the Parkhurst officer complement of just under 300 people would be increased by 24 before the following March.


Fewer Islanders had to travel to Portsmouth for blood dialysis following the opening of a £41,000 kidney patients’ unit at St Mary’s Hospital.

The self-care unit was paid for by the IW Kidney Patients’ Association, which had collected the money through three years of intensive fundraising and donations.

10 Years Ago - December 4, 2003

David Bowie was confirmed as the first headliner of next year’s IW Rock Festival.

The music legend was considered a huge cultural coup for the Island and the announcement was expected to have implications on the rest of the bill.

Promoter John Giddings said: "David Bowie is cool and plenty of other bands will want to play alongside him. Getting David is a massive boost for the Island and the event itself."


When a McDonald’s delivery lorry got stuck under a pub sign in the centre of Newport it caused a McFlurry of activity that would have brought blushes to the already rosy cheeks of the fast food giant’s clown Ronald McDonald.

The driver got the 44ft lorry jammed under a picture of King George outside the George Inn after reversing to get closer to the restaurant. It soon became clear the lorry could not move without bringing down the £700 pub sign.

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