Looking Back, Friday, February 7, 2014

By Sara Bryce

Friday, February 7, 2014


100 Years Ago - February 7, 1914

BORING operations for The Solent tunnel were being carried out near Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

It was understood similar borings had already been made on the mainland shore.

It was said the work on both sides of The Solent had proved underlying strata was "eminently suitable" for the construction of a tunnel from the Island.


A Cowes man was among those stranded in rough seas on a steam yacht, off the coast of Colombia.

George Lee, of Victoria Road, was mess room steward on the yacht, when it became stuck and was at risk of breaking up as rescue attempts failed.

After the yacht issued an SOS, fellow steamer Frutera eventually managed to go to her aid and rescued the passengers on board, transferring them to another steamer, Almirante, bound for New York.


A waterplane was flown by Gordon England across The Solent in what was described as "a splendid" flight.

The plane, belonging to Messrs. J. S. White and Co. reached speeds of 75 miles per hour.

75 Years Ago - February 11, 1939

A rare avian visitor to Britain flocked to the Island.

A collared pratincole, usually found in warmer areas of Europe, south west Asia and Africa, was spotted in a garden in Totland.

There had only been around 20 recorded instances of the bird being seen in the UK.


Figures by the Meteorological Office of the Air Ministry showed two Island towns had been in the top seven of UK’s sunniest during the previous year.

Sandown and Ventnor had both recorded well over 1,800 hours of sunshine during 1938.


A 70ft of wall collapsed near the Royal York Hotel, in George Street, Ryde, after two men dug a trench in order to build a second wall to reinforce the old one.

The wall, which fell was 12 ft high and 2ft wide, and a building next to it was in danger of collapse and had to be supported.

50 Years Ago - February 8, 1964

The mystery of a Niton hole remained unsolved.

The Army Bomb Disposal Unit, from Horsham, had been investigating the mystery hole — two ft wide and 15 ft deep — after it opened in a cliff- top field, at Puckwell Farm.

It was thought to have been caused by the movement of an unexploded wartime bomb as a metal splinter was found deep within the hole.

As the hole grew deeper, it was agreed it could have been caused by natural movement of the ground.


The driest January since records began in 1918 was recorded on the Island.

Mr K. J. Hosking, of Binstead, said the Ryde area had recorded the lowest rainfall for 46 years.

Despite the dryness, January just escaped being the dullest ever recorded, with just 37.2 hours of sunshine.


Part of a human skull and several bones were unearthed when a sewer was being excavated at the junction of the Strand and Monkton Street, Ryde.

The bones were found in sandy gravel some six ft below the road surface.

They were thought to belong to a sailor who died in 1782, when HMS Royal George sank at Spithead, with the loss of Admiral Richard Kempenfelt and 600 men.

25 Years Ago - February 3, 1989

Dancers Paula Moody and Mary Searles had given up the sequinned costumes and high-kicking routines two years earlier to get married and start families.

But two years later, after they both became mums, they went back to work, relaunching their careers, with their own dance troupe.

They had stopped dancing after becoming fed up with travelling abroad but, later, they found they missed it too much.


Eighty-nine-year-old Cmdr William Rees Millington embarked on a whirlwind trip around the world in 28 days.

The retired naval officer and his travelling companion, Cicely Harvey, were due to leave Heathrow on a nine-hour flight to Delhi, India, followed by Hong Kong, Peking, Sydney, Auckland, Fiji, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Chicago and New York, before flying home by Concorde.


A leaflet with a tongue-in-cheek interpretation of the county council’s £200,000 computer-linked traffic light system at Coppins Bridge was being circulated.

The authors claimed the council was taking action to make innocent people in central Newport wait into the next century as they negotiated the new system, designed to speed up the flow of traffic through the Island’s busiest junction.

A hand-drawn map of the roundabout had a host of landmarks, including a "new post office as road tax may expire while on way to work" and "brick walls — to bang head against".

10 Years Ago - February 6, 2004

A 77-year-old grandmother, who went to tap dancing lessons every week, was determined to tap dance into her eighties.

Gwen Vanner, of Hamilton Road, Binstead, took to the stage as the oldest member of the Carolyn Dance School’s show and wowed the crowd with her energy.

She said: "I’m quite proud of the fact I am like I am and can still do all these things."

Gwen and her husband used to enjoy ballroom dancing but after his death in 1987 and missing their shared hobby, she took up dancing with Carolyn Hersey.


The Island was counting the cost after a violent storm, with winds gusting to 74 mph.

Trees, lamp-posts and road signs were uprooted, roads were blocked and sea defences battered but the Island escaped major incident and no injuries were reported.

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