Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Ryde, Donald McGill and the Postcard Police

Those of us who reserve a place in our hearts for the traditional English seaside will be familiar with the cheeky postcard, an ever-present which is every bit as much of our coastline culture as the one-armed bandit, sticks of rock and the lido. Large oppressive women, their diminutive henpecked husbands and the obligatory double entendre bring to life the bawdy, sometimes corny but always saucy message that amuses us from the wobbly spinning rack outside the gift shop alongside the bundles of small paper flags and the brightly coloured buckets and spades.

But the innocent Carry On-esque ribaldry of the busty blonde with acute angina has not forever been a welcome feature of our coastal resorts. Indeed in 1953-4 the government embarked upon a moral crusade which saw vendors of such items up and down the country raided by police and their wicked wares confiscated.

Along the seafront in Ryde stands a monument to this sudden draconian outpouring of Churchillian virtue. A
small shop bearing the name of Thomas Skinner stands unoccupied, though prominently displayed in its window are the contents of a letter of protest bemoaning the removal of its stock of postcards by marauding plods.

The graphic artist whose name had become synonymous with the saucy seaside postcard was Donald McGill. For whatever reason Ryde was targeted with particular vigour by the morality police, seeing some 5,000 of the offending items removed from several of its small shops. Of these 1,087 belonged to Thomas Skinner. Although nearly 80 years of age at the time, McGill was hauled before the beak in Lincoln on 15th July 1954 and found guilty of violating the Obscene Publications Act 1857. He was fined £50 and ordered to pay £25 in costs.

Perhaps for this reason Ryde today hosts the Donald McGill Museum, in the Royal Victoria Arcade, where a large collection of his work can be seen. Supplies are also available by mail order for collectors and traders.

In these days of instant access to every imaginable form of written, spoken, sung and televisual gratification it is perhaps difficult to conceive of a society in which the humble saucy postcard could have been the cause of so much righteous tumult amongst the higher echelons. Even on the Isle of Wight.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Island MP Criticised for Stance on Referendum Voting Age

The Isle of Wight's Member of Parliament Andrew Turner has been criticised by Deputy Youth MP Will Matthews for refusing to back a move to lower the voting age to 16 for the forthcoming European Union referendum.

Conservative MP Mr. Turner voted with his party in the Commons last Thursday to keep the voting age at 18, saying he didn't see a case for the rules to be different for the referendum to what they had been for the recent general election.

But Mr. Matthews tweeted that he had been "super disappointed" by the move, and that Mr. Turner had "let the Island's young people down".

The Labour amendment to lower the voting age for the poll was defeated by 310 votes to 265.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Last Minute Offers from Rookley Country Park

The following late offers are available at Rookley Country Park on the Isle of Wight from Island View Holidays:

19th – 22nd June
Medina Caravan 3 bedroom £89
Solent Caravan 3 bedroom £99
Wight Cottage 2 bedroom £129

22nd – 26th June
Medina Caravan 3 bedroom £89
Solent Caravan 3 bedroom £99
Wight Cottage 2 bedroom £129

Centrally located and set in 23 acres of beautiful parkland, Rookley Country Park is ideal for active families and a great base for exploring the Isle of Wight.

Rookley Country Park offers:

Indoor & outdoor heated pools
Bar & restaurant
Well stocked fishing lakes

Reproduced with acknowledgements to The Holiday Zone 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Awards for Isle of Wight Volunteers

By Richard Wright

Four top volunteering awards were announced this week for members of Isle of Wight organisations.

Historic Ryde Society, Friends of Brading Roman Villa and Green Towns Shanklin each won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

There was also good news for Pam Ash, the woman behind Cafe Scientifique, which meets in Shanklin and explores the latest ideas in science and technology.

During Volunteers’ Week it was announced that Mrs Ash — who founded the group with her husband John — from the British Science Association’s Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch, won the Sir Walter Bodmer Award.

For more on this story, please see the Isle of Wight County Press on Friday, June 5.

Reproduced with acknowledgements to Isle of Wight County Press

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Isle of Wight Walks (Part Four) - Brading

The Brading walk embraces town and country over a distance of just under three and a quarter miles (5.2 kms), taking in scenic hills and farmland as well as the charming, if traffic-laden main street. It starts at the car park at the top end of town, just past the Bugle Inn.

1. Exiting from the car park, turn right onto the main road and then cross over. Take the next left at the junction into Coach Lane and continue into West Lane past the East Lodge of Nunwell House.

2. Once past the East Lodge, exit the street immediately into a narrow Footpath B23 and follow this across an open field towards a stile at the opposite fence. After climbing the stile follow the path across a second field, bearing right and over another stile into a smaller field, descending before finally emerging onto a small road just north of Nunwell Farm. Turn left and follow the road past the farm until you reach the West Lodge of Nunwell House on your left.

3. Immediately opposite Nunwell House is Bridleway B59. Follow this around the edge of the Rookery, then bear left into Kelly's Copse. Take up this path until it forks, with the left fork continuing along and the right being Bridleway B23 (unmarked). At this point one has the option either of remaining on the existing path or of taking a scenic detour up to a point where a panoramic view of Sandown Bay can be observed. If taking this diversion bear right onto the Downs at the top of B23 and cross the field to the main Downs road. Cross over the road to see Sandown Bay. Then retrace your steps to the junction with Bridleway B39.

4. If not taking the scenic diversion, just continue along the lower bridleway and look out for a yellow footpath arrow indicating a narrow track rising into the denser wooded area (this is Footpath B60 but this fact is no longer indicated on the sign). Follow this raised track, taking great care as it overlooks a steep drop on the left hand side. When this meets Bridleway B39 (again not indicated, but obvious), turn left and follow until emerging from the woodland and descending along the northern periphery of Nunwell Down, past Little Jane's Cottage and left into Mall Road.

5. Continue along the street as far as the Bullring, then continue up the High Street past the Bugle Inn. The car park will shortly come into view on your right.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Isle of Wight Walks (Part Three) - Yarmouth and Freshwater

For a relaxing walk inland and away from the pollution and activity of the busier population centres, this 4 mile (6.3 kilometer) route is one of the more interesting, embracing an outward stroll beside the River Yar and a return journey taking in a historic church, a farm and some woodland, with an abundance and wide variety of wildlife almost throughout the walk.

1. Starting at the large car park by the roundabout on the Yarmouth seafront by the Wightlink terminal, head inline beside the Yar and join Footpath Y1 passing the Old Tidal Mill. After a short walk along the path with the river to your right, pass through a gate to join Footpath Y19. Bear right and follow this path all the way until reaching Freshwater Causeway Bridge – the first and only inland bridge that you will encounter. Please note that wheelchair users will need to turn at this point and complete the route by heading back alongs Footpath Y19 and Y1, as the remainder of the walk is unsuitable.

2. Once across the bridge, climb the hill and pass the church, stopping before reaching the Red Lion pub (unless the call of the aforementioned hostelry is too great, in which case by all means stop to refuel). Take Footpath F1 which runs immediately beside the wall of the church and then continues as a fenced path between two fields (if you're lucky you may see some pheasants!). Pass through a gate and continue along the line, with a row of houses to your left. Immediately before the farm turn left through a gate, and then bear right into and across the field towards a belt of woodland, where Footpath F1 is again indicated.

3. The path soon leaves the woodland into more open terrain and a dedicated track, passing over a small hill before reaching a tiny footbridge into the woods, out onto a field, through another gate and then another field, with an improvised track and a small continuous fence immediately to your right. This leads you into Saltern Wood, which is entered keeping the wood to your left.

4. Soon a narrow access road is reached at which one should turn left, continuing along to the main road. From here you will see the car park to your right, which can be reached by crossing Yarmouth Bridge. Then either continue into Yarmouth town to conclude your walk with a well-earned drink or cuppa, or simply return to the car park by the roundabout.

Isle of Wight Walks (Part Two) - Gurnard and Cowes

This walk begins at the Woodvale Hotel in Gurnard, on the Island’s north coast, and is disabled-friendly as it uses a flat paved surface throughout. At 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) it should take most walkers less than an hour, although being linear rather than circular there is the small matter of getting back to the starting point if you have travelled there by car!

1. From the Woodvale simply walk down to Princes Esplanade and follow along to Egypt Point and continue along the Esplanade. This path continues along the seafront into Cowes, around the Royal Yacht Squadron and then along The Parade, where the coastal walk concludes and forces a right turn into Watch House Lane. From there turn left and follow the High Street through the pedestrianised area.

2. Opposite the entrance to the Red Funnel foot passenger terminal is The Pier View public house, passing which the walk continues along the High Street to The Anchor on your right.

That’s it, basically, but energetic walkers seeking a little more can simply double up with a pleasant walk back along the coast to Gurnard and the Woodvale, where one can enjoy a rewarding pint or walk down to the coast opposite to the seaside cafĂ© which offers delicious local ice creams as well as teas, coffees and light snacks.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Isle of Wight Lottery to Launch Scratchcards

The Isle of Wight Lottery will launch its first scratchcards this April.

All monies raised from the £1 cards will be used to support the Island's economy. As with the main island lottery the project will be managed by the Isle of Wight Chamber.

Scratchcards will be stocked all across the Isle of Wight, including every Spar store and additional locations to be announced.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Petition to Save IOW Ice Rink

The ice rink in Ryde is due to close on March 25th unless new management can be found after Planet Ice announced its withdrawal.

Planet Ice has lost money on the rink for the last seven years and feels it is no longer financially viable. Users are hoping for another operator to come in with the funds and means to manage the rink.

The Ryde Ice Rink and Arena provides several jobs as well as playing host to ice hockey players, figure skating coaches and social users. It is an integral feature of the beachfront scene in Ryde and will be a sad loss to the town and to the Island.

Campaigners have set up a Facebook group called Save Our Isle of Wight Ice Rink and a petition has been launched at which all readers are invited to sign.

Please take a moment to register your support for the campaign.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Enter the Den to Help Isle of Wight YMCA

By Thomas Seal

The YMCA is inviting young budding entrepreneurs to apply for its new Isle of Wight's version of BBC Dragons’ Den before February 15.

Isle of Wight YMCA Futures is offering £1,000 seed money to groups of four or more who have a good idea for a social enterprise.

Group members must all be aged between 11 and 19 and their business idea must benefit an Island charity.

Quizzing the teams will be 'dragons’ including Isle of Wight County Press editor Alan Marriott, Betapak general manager Jon Carter, tourism consultant Simon Dabell, Island businessman David Edwards and area director for the YMCA Emma Corina.

Successful teams will each be appointed one of the dragons as a business mentor, who will help them put their ideas into practice.


They will then have six months to raise money for their chosen charity, as well as trying to pay back the £1,000 seed cash — which is being provided by the Isle of Wight Council.

After the application deadline at midnight, February 14, the competition will launch on February 19 and the first Dragons’ Den event will happen a week later, on February 26.

Teams whose first pitches are unsuccessful will have two more chances to pitch later in the year.

Find suggestions for fundraising ideas and further information on the YMCA Futures website:

Reproduced with acknowledgements to the Isle of Wight County Press.