Looking Back, Friday, January 17, 2014

By Matthew McKew

Friday, January 17, 2014


100 Years Ago - January 17, 1914

A MAN who returned a cheque for £25 he had found near the Duke of York Inn, Cowes, was rewarded for his honesty with two pence.


For the second time in two months, the carrier’s office by the floating bridge was broken into.

An unsuccessful attempt was made with a steel instrument to force open the safe. A few days later, it was reported a robbery of several pounds had taken place at the adjoining premises. There was no trace of the latter premises being forcibly entered.


St Helens CE School accepted a recommendation from the schools’ board to no longer accept girls. The school manager agreed on the understanding that boys would be transferred to the school from St Helens Council and Nettlestone schools on attaining the age of seven.

75 Years Ago - January 21, 1939

Cowes District Council decided not to entertain the suggestion the council should provide covered dustbins and charge the cost to owners of property.

The recommendation that house refuse at East Cowes should be collected every fourth day (excluding Sundays) was referred back to the committee after members spoke of the likely confusion over which day the collection would be made.


The first dinner of the year at the Whitecroft branch of the Mental Hospital Institution of Workers’ Union was held at the Metropolitan Hall, Newport.

A toast was made to the progress of the hospital, from a period where all doors were locked on entering and leaving each room to a near total 'open-door’ policy.


A meeting of the Sandown and Shanklin hoteliers noted car ferries to the Island carried police notices, warning visiting motorists of the narrow Island roads, which were dangerous for driving and asking people to drive slowly.

But one member said it was unfair because insurance policies were 15 per cent lower on the Island than in any other part of the UK.

50 Years Ago - January 18, 1964

Almost 700 people in Ryde were affected by rising council house rent.

The increases varied from 1s 6d to 3s 3d. This meant people living in three-bedroom houses could pay as much as £2 3s a week.

Ryde Council also discussed the government proposal for 100 per cent mortgages to allow people to buy their council house. The scheme intended to raise money for further social housing to be built. The council rejected the idea.


An Island-built 18ft 6ins Caprice yacht completed a 2,700-mile crossing of the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Barbados. Its German owner, an actor, achieved 80 nautical miles a day.


The War Department arranged for a daylight patrol at Cliff End Fort, Freshwater, where a schoolboy was seriously injured in a fall from one of the derelict buildings.


Six inches of snow disrupted traffic in Ventnor. The poor weather left some hills too treacherous to drive on.

25 Years Ago - January 13, 1989

An Islander, who flew with 617 Squadron during the daring Dambuster raids, was due to sell his medal at Christie’s in London.

The former RAF sergeant was selling his Distinguished Flying Medal to provide extra capital for his photographic business.

The veteran explained he had no children to leave the medal to and so it seemed the sensible thing to do.


Island mental health services, once among the best in the country, were falling further behind target because of a cash crisis.

The opening of the Freshwater Mental Health Centre was delayed and doubts were being raised over the future of a 48-bed acute unit at St Mary’s Hospital.

The situation was threatening to hamstring moves to bring patients from institutional care into the community. Staff shortages were also an issue.


Island survivors of the Japanese prisoner-of-war camps expressed outrage and disgust at the news the Duke of Edinburgh would attend the funeral of Emperor Hirohito of Japan.

One man said he was still being haunted by the horrific experience, 40 years on.


A remand prisoner was on the run for 11 hours after escaping from a toilet window at St Mary’s Hospital.

He had been taken to the hospital with suspected appendicitis.


South Wight Borough Council complained it did not have enough money to implement the new poll tax.

10 Years Ago - January 16, 2004

The reluctance of some holidaymakers to go abroad in the shadow of the war on terror appeared to help the number of cross-Solent journeys during 2003.

An extra 30,000 cars and 7,000 passengers made the journey.


Strong winds sent a 100ft-high tree crashing through a couple’s house.

The experience also proved an eye-opener for their slumbering pet tortoise, Harry, who had been enjoying a peaceful hibernation in a box in the loft.

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