Looking Back, Friday, February 1, 2013

By Sara Bryce

Published on Friday, February 01, 2013 - 11:08


100 Years Ago - February 1, 1913

AFTER a plague of wasps at the Wheatsheaf Inn, Ryde, part of the brick chimney in the kitchen was removed and an enormous wasp’s nest was found.

The nest had 12 tiers and was 46ins in circumference but weighed no more than a few ounces.

Experts aged it at around 30 years.


A Chilean warship, which was built by Mssrs John Samuel White and Co, in East Cowes, was launched into The Solent, bound for Chile.

The ship left the firm’s yard decked out in Chilean flags, with her departure watched by a large number of spectators.


Ryde Ratepayers Association agreed to allow shopkeepers to sell their wares on a Sunday.

The decision was taken in a special meeting, with 86 to 20 in favour.

The shopkeepers who voted against trading on a Sunday did not wish to open on that day or wanted to observe the Sabbath.

75 Years Ago - February 5, 1938

Serious subsidence on the Common, in Yarmouth, threatened the main road from Yarmouth to Newport.

A landslip affected the soil right up to the edge of the road and a small portion of the road sank slightly and needed railing off for safety.

A notice said the road was not safe for heavy traffic.


Bembridge Lifeboat was called out during the height of a gale at 6am one day, to aid a small coasting boat in distress off Horse Sands Fort and was out for more than nine hours.

The 128-ton vessel was bound for Portsmouth from Chatham with a steel cargo and a crew of eight, when it was seen burning distress flares during the 80mph winds.


After gale force winds drove oil discharged from ships inshore, sea birds suffered in the oil that collected among the seaweed.

Many birds, particularly around Blackgang, were covered and were only just able to flutter back to the water when disturbed.

Around 60 dead birds were counted on the beach at Watershoot Bay.

50 Years Ago - February 2, 1963

For five successive weekends, snow and ice curtailed most of the football fixtures on the Island.

Only 16 out of the 57 matches due to take place in the whole country were played, one of which was the only game played on the Island, between St Helens and Brading.


Power cuts affected South Wight, including the Cottage Hospital, Ventnor, and Ryde, after the insulators on the National Grid froze.

Everywhere else on the Island, there was a five per cent reduction in voltage.

The cuts to power were the fourth in the Island during a month of frozen weather.


Motorists suffered one of the worst traffic jams of the winter after a moderate fall of snow turned roads to sheets of ice.

In Wootton High Street, vehicle after vehicle slithered to a standstill and traffic stretched back in both directions.

At one point, there was a line of vehicles from the top of Wootton to Quarr Hill.

There was also chaos when the Fishbourne ferry arrived and passengers were unable to go anywhere.

25 Years Ago - February 5, 1988

A series of sponsored events at Partlands School, Ryde, enabled IW Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to buy and train a new guide dog.

Each class held its own events, ranging from sponsored walks and silences to selling cakes.

A total of £1,150 was raised towards a young puppy to train up to be a new guide dog.


More than 1,200 nurses did not support mainland colleagues on a strike for a better national pay deal.

They worked normally and their decision was praised by the chairman of the health authority.


A human skeleton, at least 50 years old, was found on the beach at Bouldnor, near the Maritime Heritage Project HQ.

The remains were taken to the mortuary at St Mary’s Hospital and an inquest was held at Yarmouth Police Station.

10 Years Ago - January 31, 2003

A cash boost from the NHS meant the King Edward VII Hospital, in Midhurst, could continue to treat Island patients.

The NHS had pledged almost £1 million to fund continued heart operations and general surgery at the Sussex facility until the end of the financial year, saving the unit from closure, for the time being.


A huge carcass of a juvenile minke whale — washed onto rocks at Shanklin — was recovered by an inshore rescue team and hauliers.

Sandown and Shanklin Inshore Rescue used brute force and resourcefulness to pull the one-tonne mammal from rocks at Dunnose Point in a three-hour operation.

The seven-strong team had to dislodge large rocks in front of the whale — believed to be two years old — before it could be harnessed, dragged from the rocks and towed ashore to Palestine Slipway on Shanklin seafront.

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