Looking back, March 21, 2014

By Sara Bryce

Friday, March 21, 2014

 

LOOKING BACK

100 Years Ago - March 21, 1914

THREE painters, who were decorating the side of a torpedo destroyer on a slipway in Cowes, received an impromptu bath.

The men were working on the boat from a suspended platform when a rope at one end came untied and they were launched into the water.

By good fortune the tide was in and the slipway submerged so the men hit the water not the concrete.

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Heavy gales ravaged the Island during a spate of wet and stormy weather.

A steamer heading to Constantinople from North Shields was driven ashore close to Yaverland Fort.

The crew of nine were rescued through the surf of the rough seas by being thrown lifelines by Sandown coastguards.

The crew had awoken in the early hours to find the boat driving hard before the wind and in the darkness could not see which direction it had travelled.

A three-masted ship foundered off The Needles and one of the obsolete warships off Ryde broke adrift.

75 Years Ago - March 25, 1939

Following the discovery of the fossilised skull and horns of an ancient ox between Thorness and Newtown, a tusk from a mastodon or prehistoric elephant was found at the same spot.

Capt J. S. Cottrell ,of Wayside, Bouldnor, made his second discovery of the 3ft tusk, which was about 4ins in diameter, during a fossil hunt.

The tusk, which appeared to have fractured and healed, was thought to be around 100,000 years old.

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The County Press hosted a survey to garner Islanders’ opinions on compulsory national service.

A story said: "While this country would hesitate to strike a blow at the civilians of another country we know that Germany believed that the instrument of war should be applied ruthlessly and without mercy.

"Ignorance and apathy delay the completion of our services by voluntary means and the value of a man now depends on his training and efficiency."

Readers were invited to cut out a coupon and submit whether they were in favour of national service or not. The result was reported to the Island’s MP.

50 Years Ago - March 21, 1964

Speed restrictions were to be enforced on all vessels using Cowes harbour. The limit, described as 'reasonable speed’ was put in place following complaints concerning the wash from speeding vessels causing damage to smaller ones, especially those on moorings.

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A private premiere of a film made on the Island was screened in Ventnor. The film The Forgotten, made by a group of enthusiastic amateurs, was filmed on Rew Down and at Blackgang and was about an Island which was cut off from radio activity and being watched by the outside world.

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A dredger, being used to demolish wartime sea defences at Seaview, dragged her anchor during gale force winds and drifted for more than a mile.

It was feared that the dredger would crash into Ryde Pier, as the anchor was unable to grip the soft sand, but when the vessel was less than half a mile away, opposite Sandy Slip, the anchor finally took hold.

25 Years Ago - March 17, 1989

Southern Water ambitions to include Gatcombe in its all-Island pilot metering scheme, sank after a long campaign.

A delighted parish council heard at its annual meeting, that villagers had won the hard-fought battle.

For years, the standard response in the hamlet when water bills arrived was to toss them into the bin due to a turn-of-the-century agreement for the village to get free mains water, in return for the then water authority Sandown-Shanklin UDC, being allowed access to the Seely Estate.

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Island drivers were left confused after a new one-way traffic system on Coppins Bridge was unveiled.

Temporary one-way systems had been put in place while key elements of the new traffic light and signal scheme on the roundabout was installed. Mr Chris Sane, the county’s project engineer said: "We anticipated teething troubles and that turned out to be the case. However, after a couple of days drivers seem to have got the hang of it."

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Smoke could be seen for miles around Newport when a fire devastated a sawmill at Morey’s Trafalgar Road timber yard, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

The blaze, the worst on the site for 50 years, took 45 firemen and six fire engines over an hour to control.

10 Years Ago - March 19, 2004

A three-day music and arts festival by at top radio DJ and event organiser was planned for the Island. The application for the event at Robin Hill, which became the award-winning Bestival, was submitted by Rob da Bank and John Hughes to the IW Council.

Mr Hughes said at the time: "This is not competition for the rock festival, it is a totally different event."

Alongside with music, the Bestival was set to feature art installations, spoken word, comedy, yoga, pilates and moonlight walks.

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The plan was unveiled for an £80 million new village at Pan, incorporating the biggest housing development ever built on the Island.

The scheme, which incorporated a large proportion of affordable housing, was being shown to local people to gather opinion. The plan for the Pan urban extension — known as Pan Village — outlined how 800 houses and flats could be built on 20 hectares of land to the east of Pan.

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A special award — that had not been presented at the previous year’s IW Musical Competition Festival — was given to a festival stalwart.

The Mark Radford Award for the vocalist considered to have the most promising future was presented to 17-year-old Kirsten Barker, pictured,by festival chairman John Lea.

Kirsten, of Whitwell, went on to help set up the East London Opera Company.

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