Looking Back, Friday, January 3, 1914

By Jon Moreno

Friday, January 3, 2014


100 Years Ago - January 3, 1914

WITH a rubbish tip at Shamblers filling up fast since it opened in January 1913, Cowes District Council was warned to find an alternative tip site or provide a destructor machine by councillors.

At its latest district council meeting, Alderman Fellows suggested land at Point, which he described as an ideal refuse site that would meet the town’s requirements for at least two years. He said there was no reason the land could not be reclaimed to fill with town refuse.


A large crowd gathered on Christmas Eve night to see the blaze of a boot warehouse in Cowes.

The 'very old’ building of Messrs H. Joliffe and Sons, on Shooters Hill, was completely gutted by fire, despite fruitless attempts to extinguish it by the fire brigade and, before their arrival, local people.

The fire brigade arrived at 9.15pm — 45 minutes after the fire started.


The pressure of postal work in the West Wight was greater than ever over the festive season, with special mail trains brought into service from Newport on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

Extra staff were drafted in to work at the postal offices in Freshwater, Yarmouth and Totland Bay, with breakfast provided for them at the Royal Mail’s expense. Deliveries on Christmas Day were completed by noon.

75 Years Ago - January 1, 1939

A colour film which showed the beauty of the Island, entitled Isle of Dreams, was given its first screening at the Medina Cinema, Newport.

The film was released to coincide with a new tourism campaign, a series of advertisements produced by the All-Island Advertising Committee, in conjunction with local councils and other bodies keen to promote the Island as a health and pleasure resort.


A former Newportonian, then a farmer in Drakensberg Monulams, South Africa, wrote to the County Press fearing an outbreak of war with Germany.

He wrote: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the folk in the dear old homeland during these days of crisis where it seems the world will once again be plunged into the madness of warfare. What has happened in Germany to the unhappy Jews revives the fear that where such terrible injustice is openly done, there can be but the slenderest hopes that peace agreements will be honoured.

"Perhaps we Britishers 6,000 miles away are over anxious but the ties with the old country are very strong and we feel steps should be taken to provide adequate defence forces."

50 Years Ago - January 4, 1964

The skill and enterprise of Island firms featured at the ten-day International Boat Show at Earl’s Court — the largest of its kind in the world.

Among the 500 exhibitors were old-established Cowes sailmakers Ratsey and Lapthorn, Spriggs Radio (Marine) Ltd, which specialised in marine radio and electronic aids, and W. A. Souter and Son, which displayed the biggest sailing boat at the show — the 48ft ocean racer, Outlaw.


The New Year’s Honours List brought a rare distinction to an Island family.

Freshwater-born George Drudge received the MBE and was the third of five brothers, all distinguished military men, to receive the award. The other MBE recipients were Capt Herbert Drudge, of Cowes, and Sqn Ldr Ernest Drudge, of Fareham, who were both also born in Freshwater.

George Drudge was honoured for his role as the sheriff of the borough of Poole, Dorset.

Like his brother, Ernest, he was a founder member of the former Royal Flying Corps before the First World War.


A Newport woman and her daughter, the wife of a serviceman stationed in Cyprus, were besieged in a flat in Nicosia when gunfire broke out between Greeks and Turks.

Mrs J. Montgomery, of Caesar’s Road, the wife of a monotype caster operator at the County Press, was in Cyprus for a visit, staying in the Turkish quarter of the city. Her daughter, Heather, was married to Cpl Brian Fuller, of Trafalgar Road, Newport, stationed at an RAF base on the island.

When gunfire broke out, it was reported many British families living in the area were unable to leave their flats.

25 Years Ago - December 30, 1988

Anti-hunt supporters, who threatened to sabotage the traditional Boxing Day meet of the IW Hunt, failed to turn up.

Around 3,000 people, which included the police, descended on Carisbrooke Castle for the start of the day-long meet — but there was not one hunt saboteur among them.

Susan Payne, joint master of the hunt, said: "Not a peep nor a squeak did we hear from them this year. It’s only when we get them over from the New Forest we get any sort of trouble."


The hunt for the six-legged Island Boggit was set to continue following a fruitless search for the legendary but elusive creature.

Members of Ryde Rowing Club took in 15 pubs in their search by bicycle for the Boggit, which was said to have lived on a diet of hops.

Despite the disappointment, they did manage to collect almost £100 in aid of St John Ambulance.


Gambling among young people on the Island was believed to have been far worse than in other parts of the country, a senior county probation officer claimed.

Conrad Piper said: "The Island has had gaming machines at seaside resorts for much longer than other places and gradually they have been moving more into town centres."

He added at least half of the youngsters involved in criminal behaviour had been involved in some way with gaming machines.

10 Years Ago - January 2, 2004

As Islanders flocked to buy Nokia IW Festival tickets, those living near the planned site expressed concern about the scale of the event.

Crowds of up to 20,000 a day were predicted to converge on Seaclose Park, Newport, for June’s festival, headlined by The Who and David Bowie.

However, there were objections from Fairlee residents to the event, which promoters Solo had hoped to get a licence extending it to three days from two in 2003.


The Island suffered floods, fallen trees and mudslides over Christmas after more than three inches of rain fell during a 48-hour period.

Torrential rain turned roads into rivers, with many routes closed for several hours in the south and west of the Island. The worst hit areas were Morton Common, Sandown, Whitcombe Road, between Carisbrooke and Whitecroft, Town Lane at Chale Green, Avenue Road, Freshwater, and Norton Green.


Residents were invited to come up with a new name for Nettlestone and Seaview Parish Council after its members decided to de-ward from two separate wards to a united one.

Councillors decided that de-warding would break down the barriers that existed between the wards of Seaview and Nettlestone.

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