Isle of Wight Nostalgia Site: News & Comment

This page contains a selection of news and interest stories connected with themes contained in the Isle of Wight nostalgia website. It is no longer updated but some of the items are hopefully still interesting.

The end of the road?
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Council seeks planning permission to re-build Blackgang Road near Niton - June 2002: The road from Ventnor to Niton has been damaged since early 2001. There are now plans to re-build the road although it is likely that there will be restrictions on usage. The Council has requested permission to attempt to re-build - I understand a bridge construction will be employed. The road is currently in a sorry state while a solution to the local landsliding is being sought!
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Island Line award - March 2002: The Island's electric railway has won yet another award for customer service - a prestigious Charter Mark. The railway had previously received a Charter Mark in 1998 which was valid for three years.
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Channel 4 Time Team discovery? - October 2001: The popular TV series Time Team has uncovered Roman artifacts at Yaverland. Finds include bronze Roman bracelets, coins and pottery. It is possible that a new Roman Villa will be uncovered despite difficulties ranging from heavy rain to poor maps! You will have to watch the programme to find out the truth.
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Construction on fixed link could begin in two years? - September 2001: Construction work on controversial plans to build a tunnel between the Island and the mainland could begin within two years. That is according to Phil Murray, Director of Operations of Linkland, the company behind the idea. The new plans involve the possibility of a railway line instead of the original plan to build a road tunnel. The cost would be much lower and it would not impact the amount of traffic on the Island's roads. Mr. Murray on local radio says he can't see why the project shouldn't go ahead because it all makes sense. Mr. Murray was heavily defeated in the general election when he stood on a platform of building a fixed link. The Isle of Wight Nostalgia website notes that the idea of a railway tunnel is not new - it was mooted several times at the beginning of the last century. Maybe this might be the answer ... ?"
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Island line record earns reward - July 2001: I must have missed this news earlier in the year. Island Line, the Island's railway system is officially the country's best performing railway yet again! Between October 2000 and January 2001 the line had a 95.4% punctuality rate. The five year franchise to Stagecoach has been extended for a further two years by the Strategic Rail Authority. The Island's railway system will be reviewed during this period. Well done to everyone who works so hard on the railway - the best in Britain!!!
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Island gives massive thumbs down to fixed link - June 2001: Philip Murray and the Isle of Wight political Party has the support of little over 1% of the electorate and only 1.8% of the voters in the General Election on 8th June 2001. Philip had made the issue of a fixed link his theme for the election and the Island made it absolutely clear that they were totally against it. Two other independents and the Green Party all polled higher. Philip had been an active campaigner and had attended many meetings and had competently defended himself in local radio interviews. Elsewhere in the country a single local issue candidate Richard Taylor, had taken on and beaten the two main parties proving that local issues can determine a seat even in a general election if the voters are behind the issue. The size of the defeat must surely put to rest once and for all the desirability of a fixed link to the mainland. Rex cinema no more
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Rex cinema building, Ventnor demolished - May 2001: The old Rex red-brick cinema building has been a landmark in the town for many years. It stood in a commanding position above the town and was highly visible from many directions. In the late 1980's it was turned into a childrens indoor attraction. The foyer has long housed a small amusement arcade. The building was partly destroyed by fire and has now been demolished as can be seen in the photo to the right. To those that know the town, the missing building is even more visible than the actual building once was!
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New Wight in Bloom award - April 2001: Following the sad death of Jane Trzebska who played such a key role in developing the gardens at Morton manor, her family have donated a new trophy for the Wight in Bloom competition. The new trophy will be awarded for a new category of garden, the 'cottage style front garden'. Jane had come to Britain from Poland in 1934 and married an RAF pilot. Her son Jan now runs the garden, and having personally visited last month, I can vouch that it is as excellent as ever.
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Landslip near St Lawrence Landslip between Niton & St. Lawrence - April 2001: The road along the Undercliff has been closed as massive landslips affect the area. Boreholes are being dug to see if firm ground can be established for a road to be built on - so far they have not reached anything solid. Homes are at risk and the Council could be faced with a repair bill in excess of £1 million even assuming the anything can be done. Further along this road in 1928 there were landslides that destroyed the road to Blackgang - the road was never rebuilt and a new road had to be established. The undercliff road is important for local tourism so let's hope a solution can be found. The road will not be reopened until at least April 2002.
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Cliff fall at Shanklin - March 2001: Four people were hurt when part of the cliff at Shanklin fell behind the Shanklin Beach Hotel on 21st March. Thankfully the injuries were not serios despite some 6,000 tonnes of earth falling after a period of very heavy rain. The part of the cliff affected had not previously been considered especially unsafe. Half a dozen cars were also written off in the incident.
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Energy competition hits Island - February 2001: Nowhere is safe in England & Wales from the advance of the Energy companies. Changes in competition laws means that Islanders can benefit from increased competition and lower electricity and gas bills. A number of companies are targeting Island householders with cheap offers, not least Seeboard whose home territory can be seen on a clear day across the Solent!
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100 years of wireless - January 2001: At 16.30 GMT 23rd January 1901, the Knowles Farm radio station (Call sign "NI") exchanged signals with the new Marconi Lizard Radio station (Call sign "LD") 196 miles away. At the time this was the furthest known distance that radio waves had travelled. The Lizard station at Bass Point was an experimental site, built in preparation for Marconi's attempt to bridge the Atlantic. Initially it was a receiving station installed to test the transmitters from the massive station being built at Poldhu in Cornwall.
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New Island political party formed - January 2001: Phil Murray is to stand at the next general election representing the "Isle of Wight Political Party". The manifesto of the party will be to build a fixed link to the mainland in the form of a bridge. Polls carried out by this site have revealed this is not popular with many readers of this internet site however a General Election will have a larger turnout and be entirely more valid! The result will be eagerly awaited. See the fixed link section for more details.
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Serious floods affect the Island - October 2000: The Isle of Wight suffered badly on Monday 9th October as 41mm of rain fell in a single day, more than half the Island's total October average rainfall. Worst hit was the town of Wroxall, where 56.6mm of rain fell, the highest reading in the south. The floods also stopped the islands trains as the tunnel in Ryde flooded again. The Island shared in the devastation that hit large parts of Sussex and Kent on the mainland, nearly 13 years from the anniversary of the Great Storm. The rainfall continued through the week causing yet more flooding across the Island.
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Island ranked 26th by Ordnance Survey - June 2000: The Ordnance Survey carry out annual sales analyses to see which of their maps are the most popular. The 1999/2000 survey ranked the Landranger 196 map, Solent & the Isle of Wight in position 26, two higher than the previous year's ranking.
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Farewell to the 'DL' - April 2000: Island vehicles have been registered with DL as part of their number plate from early in the century. However a plan to completely change the registration system means that the Island will lose this identification to Shrewsbury from September this year! But all is not lost. A local delegation has won a compromise - instead of sharing the new 'HK' to 'HY' with the rest of Hampshire, the Island has been offered the unique compromise of keeping 'HW' to itself. What a shame the officials could not have been just that little bit more flexible - I'm sure Shrewsbury would not have objected.
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Train on Ryde Pier with Dinosaur liveryMore dinosaurs found on Island! - 21 March 2000: Several dinosaurs have been sighted between Ryde & Shanklin. It is understood something similar to Jurassic Park has occurred in Ryde engine shed. The Island trains are being re-painted with colourful dinosaurs on the bodywork - and one will be painted in the original London Transport red that would have been used when the train was new in 1938!
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Hovercraft drama - 8 February 2000: There was drama at sea when a hovercraft, the Idun Viking broke down following a technical failure. Twenty passengers were rescued by another hovercraft while the Bembridge lifeboat was close at hand in case of emergency. The lifeboat then helped to steady the hovercraft while technicians re-started it. Hovercraft are generally very reliable and this was the first incident in the Solent. Nobody was believed to be in any real danger. All hovercraft are being checked after the incident.
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Christmas flooding - December 1999: There was severe flooding on 24th December on the Island. The storm caused flooding over much of southern England on Christmas Eve after hours of continuous heavy rainfall. Damage to the railway was severe - railway staff had to be called out late on Christmas Eve.
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Tunnel to the mainland - December 1999: The 'Against Fixed Link Action Group' is raising £10,000 for a study into the impact of a fixed link to the mainland. For details see the tunnel section of this site, where you can also vote on the issue.
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Island tiger dies - December 1999: Shere Khan, the famous tiger from Sandown Zoo has died aged 23. The tiger (with his mate Tamyra) hold the world record for fathering 30 cubs while in captivity. Shere Khan was estimated to be 90 in human terms and had his last cubs only seven years ago. Perhaps he should have been named Charlie Chaplin?
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Niton to fall into the sea? - December 1999: Niton residents are concerned at the lack of a 'cliff stabilisation' scheme at the nearby 'Castlehaven Cliffs'. In reality only a few homes are seriously at risk - but that is little consolation for the owners. The Ministry of Agriculture had planned to fund this £3million project. However 'English Nature' are concerned that the habitat of several rare species will be endangered by the scheme. The problem will be made worse by a wet winter.
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Survey makes Island number one! - October 1999: The consumer magazine Which? has carried out a survey which makes the Isle of Wight the favourite resort for adults in the south of England. Did we need a survey to find that out?
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Transport in the news - September 1999: A new bus & coach museum was officially opened by retired Island driver Wally Edwards on 22nd September. Like most museums of its kind, it was set up, and will live or die by the efforts of the army of volunteers who give their time to restore and show the exhibits. So make sure you put the Newport Quay attraction on your itinerary when you next have a space in your diary!
And still on the theme of transport, the council has embarked on a major consultation exercise. Islanders are being asked to contribute to a questionnaire on the subject. If things go on as they are, the Island is expected to see an increase in road traffic of over 40% in twenty years (and thatís without a fixed link to the mainland). The plan is available at libraries or for sale for £15.
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Seaview coastal scheme - August 1999: A massive scheme costing nearly £1 million is set to go ahead this September. The scheme will involve the reconstruction of the sea wall at Seaview. Construction will continue through most of the winter.
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IW Tornado advice - July 1999: It will come as a surprise to some Americans (as well as some IW residents) parts of the UK record more tornadoes per square mile than the USA. Thankfully they are relatively weak affairs and cover only a small area. In spite of this the Island's emergency office have produced a fact sheet for local residents based on information provided by the United States emergency authorities. A tornado recently caused a deal of damage on the mainland near to the Island. Patrick Moore, the famous astronomer's house was in the path of the storm!
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Island Railways are the best - February 1999: The Island's railway system way awarded an 'A' by the railway regulator for punctuality - the only railway company in Britain to achieve this. The Isle of Wight Nostalgia site congratulates the railway on this achievement! And with most trains being 'boat trains' it's just as well! Other railway companies promise a better service once their trains are modernized. Someone ought to tell them all you need are a few 1938 'boneshakers'!



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