Looking back, Friday, March 14

By Matthew McKew

Friday, March 14, 2014



100 Years Ago - March 14, 1914

AN ACCIDENT resulted in the death of a crane driver from East Cowes.

The crane was being used at Clarence Yard, in Cowes, to lift heavy timber. The experienced driver was lifting a bulk of timber, when the crane toppled over and fell sideways.


A biplane-type seaplane built by Messrs. J. S. White and Co was modelled at an exhibition in London. The plane was fitted with a 200hp engine with a wing span of 63ft.

The Wolseley Tool and Motorcar Company, based in East Cowes, also exhibited models at the show.


Extraordinary flood scenes were witnessed in Station Road, Freshwater. The stream became swollen after heavy rain and burst its bank, causing a torrent of water to gush down the street. A 50-yard stretch of road was covered in places to a depth of over a foot.

75 Years Ago - March 18, 1939

The horrors of an air raid were vividly brought home to the residents of Ryde and the East Wight.

Around 500 people took part in the mock exercise. The arrangements were kept secret so each incident came as a surprise. A high explosive bomb was supposed to have hit Ryde Town Hall.

The roof was wreathed in smoke from the red flares, which had been lit to add a realistic touch. In the streets, yellow flares told onlookers more bombs had fallen, and the piercing shrieks of three women trapped on the town hall roof were heard.


Ventnor came fourth in a list of resorts that received the most sunshine in 1938. Jersey received 1,850 hours, Guernsey 1,845, Margate 1,831, Ventnor Park, 1,821, Ventnor Hospital 1,819, Sandown 1,819, Ryde, 1,768, and Totland Bay 1,719.

50 Years Ago - March 14, 1964

Members of Cowes Professional and Business Association expressed fears businesses would suffer should the Island’s railways close. Deliveries of perishable goods would be slowed down and the bus services would be unable to cope with the large influx of summer visitors to Cowes, it was claimed.


The need for later ferries from Cowes to Southampton on Sundays during the summer was stressed by a member of the Cowes Professional and Business Association.

He pointed out the last boat to the mainland left at 7pm and this was not fair to holidaymakers, who had to curtail their visits.


A revolutionary new 90hp gas turbine engine, specially designed for small boats, was demonstrated on the River Medina at Cowes.

The single-shaft engine cost £1,675 and consumed 15 gallons of diesel fuel or paraffin per hour at full power.

25 Years Ago - March 10, 1989

Controversial plans for an 18-hole golf course at Brading were approved at a South Wight planning committee meeting.

The plan for the international-standard course on 115 acres of redundant farmland between Brading and St Helens, fiercely criticised by conservationists, Brading Town Council and the county council, was given the go-ahead. Other Island golf courses had large waiting lists for new members.


Medina and South Wight borough councils took a step closer transferring almost £60 million worth of housing stock to independent housing associations. Members of the council approved the transfers of £30 million worth of housing stock in Medina and £28.6 million in South Wight.

Tenants were due to be balloted on their thoughts after public consultations.

10 Years Ago - March 12, 2004

Plans for up to 500 new homes on the outskirts of East Cowes were put to the IW Council. The principles behind the proposed development at Kingston, by home developer Barratt, were welcomed by the council, with one councillor saying it would help alleviate the homelessness problem and provide affordable housing.


A £2.1 million project began at the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. The work included building 17 en-suite rooms for patients, a relatives’ overnight suite and catering facility. It was the first phase of a development intended to make the hospice one of the most up-to-date in the country.


The tooth ferry looked set to come to town, when a councillor suggested dental tourism as a quick fix to a shortage of dentists. The plan was for IW residents to travel to Cherbourg for dental care. The proposal was due to be put forward to the IW Council, along with an alternative plan for a £100,000 cash injection to help the fledging service.

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