The Island’s many changing and lost industries remembered PHOTOS

·3-min read
Some of the many Isle of Wight sights which have changed over the years.
Some of the many Isle of Wight sights which have changed over the years.

Time and tide waits for no man, so the saying goes. Perhaps it applies more to industries than than anything else, and even here on the Isle of Wight we have our fair share of these changes

It can be quite interesting looking at some of these changes that have taken place. So here are just a few of the many.

Scroll through the gallery of pictures above to see more...

The Isle of Wight had a few gasworks, this being the time when gas was produced from coal, all of these were easily recognisable by the “gasometers” these were circular gas storage tanks.

The old photograph here shows the gasworks at Ryde, now long gone. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to have listed one of these type of gasometers for future generations as once they were part of our industrial landscape.

Isle of Wight County Press: The gasworks at Ryde. Photo: David White.
Isle of Wight County Press: The gasworks at Ryde. Photo: David White.

The gasworks at Ryde. Photo: David White.

Sighted on the banks of the river Medina was the large factory of Saro products — Saro being a shortening for the name Saunders Roe.

This huge works next to the Folly Inn came into being in the 1930s and during that period were producing a unique form of wood laminate, given the name “corsuta”.

During that period and up to the late 1940s they were producing 40 per cent of all the wood used for UK aircraft.

However in the 1960s with changes in industrial practices, the factory moved into the production of laminated plastic products.

But due to financial changes in industry they finally closed the doors in 1990s, leaving a huge derelict site which is now under re-development, for more houses.

South Street in Newport, once hosted an eclectic collection of small buildings. These were rapidly demolished during the 1970s to make way for the Isle of Wight’s first large supermarket, Mainstop. This building project also involved the demolition of property in Pyle Street.

Upon its completion, crowds flocked to this new large shopping experience, which also had a rooftop car park. Eventually it morphed into Co-op, to be followed today as the outlet for TK Maxx.

Although not a building, nevertheless an important industry for transporting people across The Solent must rate highly on the scale.

Again the changes that have taken place with the boats used have been considerable. Through the era of paddle boats, diesel boats, to the high-speed boats of today.

Among these paddle boats is PS Ryde, which saw action during D-Day and has lain sadly rusting on the banks of the Medina for many years. Again it’s something that could have been saved for future posterity, but is probably now lost forever.

Camp Hill prison, pictured (in gallery) during the 1930s period, was built under the period of Winston Churchill’s appointment as home secretary.

Very colonial and spacious in style it was a model prison of the period due to its design.

During the past few years it had housed the lower category risk prisoners. But due to changes in the prison system it was considered superfluous to needs, and again looks like being the subject of more housing. One can only hope that some of the prison's unique architecture will be retained.

Other countries would have perhaps found the money to turn it into a museum. But again the powers that be only think of today.

Seaside piers were once a fashionable attraction, and a huge seaside industry in themselves.

But during the past few years the Isle of Wight has lost some of its piers and the small industries that operated on them. Shanklin Pier was destroyed in a storm and Ventnor was demolished.

However we still have Sandown, Ryde, Yarmouth — and also undergoing restoration, Totland.

One of the more ornate piers lost to a storm was Seaview. Today there is practically no evidence of this very popular pier’s existence.

How will industries change in the future? Well that going to be the unanswerable question.

Do you like reading stories about the Isle of Wight in bygone years? Click here to visit our Looking Back section for more interesting tales.

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