Looking Back, Friday, March 9, 2012

By Matt White

Published on Friday, March 09, 2012 - 11:08


100 Years Ago - March 9, 1912

A STORM caused havoc across the Island, with Cowes and East Cowes badly hit by flooding.

Exceptionally high tides resulted in houses being flooded in Cowes and East Cowes, while vehicles were dragged along roads that became impassable.

More than 700 tons of earth fell from Shanklin Chine, bringing down a number of trees. Boats were damaged in Yarmouth and Freshwater harbours.


The first public socialist propaganda meeting was held on the IW.

The event, at East Cowes Town Hall, was organised by the local branch of the British Socialist Party.

Russell Smart spoke about what the party stood for and how socialism was not about destroying religion or upsetting family life.


A major landslip at Blackgang caused 30 yards of road to collapse.

Land above the Undercliff Road at Blackgang, near the coastguard station, slipped after a heavy rainfall, causing parts of the road to collapse by more than 3ft.

The road had to be closed to traffic and it was feared a new road would have to be built further back.

There was also a collapsed road in Yarmouth, which cut off access to a section of the town.

75 Years Ago - March 12, 1937

A search for a missing steamer continued off the Island.

Twelve days had passed since the 462-ton steamer, Stancret, carrying cargo of cement, vanished off the IW.

The vessel had been seen battling against a blizzard and high seas off St Catherine’s but an aeroplane search had proved in vain, despite the pilot covering 1,000 miles.


The poor conditions and treatment of inmates at Parkhurst Prison were discussed in the House of Lords.

The Earl of Kinnoull drew attention to a number of prisons and highlighted the deficiencies of Parkhurst in his report. He said he was appalled to hear wardens had told prisoners they had no rights and he condemned the prison’s out-of-date lighting and water services.

50 Years Ago - March 9, 1962

MP Mark Woodnutt wrote to the minister of transport to ask if the Island could manage its own transport system.

Mr Woodnutt wanted the IW to run the ferries, buses and trains after British Railways announced multi-million-pound cuts, which threatened the closure of the Ryde to Ventnor railway line.

The MP said he was convinced the IW’s transport system, if managed by one organisation, could run efficiently and economically within three years.


As the Ryde Town Hall clock struck one, magistrates returned to a packed courtroom and announced the "battle of the bells" was over.

Magistrates found the 90-year-old clock did not constitute a nuisance under the 1960 Noise Abatement Act, meaning the case against Ryde Town Council was dismissed.

The case had been brought by some residents, who thought the sound of the clock striking was too noisy.


More than 30 firemen from four brigades fought a serious blaze in the outbuildings at Loverstone Farm, Chillerton.

Two appliances from Newport, plus one each from Cowes, Sandown and Shanklin, attended the blaze, which was believed to have been started by a spark from a chimney igniting a thatched roof.

The timber store was worst hit by the fire after the roof caved in under the force of the flames.

25 Years Ago - March 12, 1987

Up to 500 jobs were to be created by three new leisure complexes at Warner holiday centres on the Island.

The first phase of the project, a £750,000 indoor bowls centre and swimming pool at Bembridge, was due for completion by the end of May.

Warner also planned a £2 million leisure pool and gymnasium at Puckpool and a £600,000 leisure facility at Yarmouth.

The developments were aimed at attracting tourists to the centres throughout the year.


A six-man team of National Trust workers were stranded on a sand spit in The Solent as darkness fell.

The team was carrying out sea defence work, when the receding tide left their 20ft motor barge high and dry on a shingle bank.

Rough seas meant they could not use a dinghy to take them in, so they had to wait until help arrived.

Lymington shore rescue service picked up the men, as Yarmouth Lifeboat was out of service.

10 Years Ago - March 15, 2002

A black cloud was left over the dance section of the IW Musical Competition Festival after a group was disqualified for breaking the rules — the first time it had happened in its 72-year history.

Hilary Hall, who taught nearly half of the Island competitors, entered a 12-year-old girl on pointe shoes, when national rules stated competitors had to be 13 or older to wear them.

In the row that followed, Mrs Hall withdrew her 40 dancers from the competition’s gala finale.


Recycled waste cooking oil from chip shops, restaurants and schools was being considered as fuel for Island buses.

The possibility of setting up a biodiesel production centre on the Island to process vegetable oil for use in diesel engines was raised at a renewable energy conference in Newport.

Southern Vectis managing director, Alan White, said it was open to fresh ideas about recycling natural resources.

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