The Roadshow team were very excited about visiting the Age UK Social Club at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. We heard some lovely stories about what it was like to live on the island in days gone by.
Emma gave a demonstration of the Heritage100 website, during which she showed a couple of the very popular film clips from the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. As always, people were amused by the advice given to female motorists by the early accomplished motorist Dorothy Levitt that a lady should use her hand bag mirror for looking to see what was behind her and should always carry clean gloves, hairpins and a revolver for self-defence!
The Model paddle Steamer at the Cowes Maritime Museum started people reminiscing about the time in the 1970’s when there had been an out of service ferry called the Ryde Queen, which was used as a floating disco. (NB: This ship is now an unsalvageable wreck on the banks of the Medina)
Only two people in the group had been born on the island (Nancy and John) but most of the others had lived there for many years and had memories of times when the island had been much less populated than it was now.
Many people who had moved to the Island used to come over on holidays with their families when young.
One woman told how in 1969 her son used to sit and log all the big ships that sailed past going into Southampton docks. He would go out at midnight to the cliff tops to watch the ships, whilst sitting alongside an old man who could name them all. Nancy told how when she was young her aunt came over to the island to stay and they went to Southampton docks to meet her and they saw the Mauritania.
People could remember how years ago people travelled all over the island by train and you could flag the train down to stop at a Halt. Joan’s son went to school by train every day and it used to stop all along the route to pick up the milk churns that were left out by the farmers. Nancy said that people on the island used to tell the time by the steam trains.
Joan recalled how before the war tourists hadn’t come to the island very much at all in the way that they do now, but some wealthy people did have a second home on the island and so would come over to stay. Joan’s family had been one of those that did come over on holiday and they had stayed in a guest house but there was no entertainment and nothing to do, except enjoy the scenery.
When Emma passed around the set of silver cutlery from the pop up museum Joan remembered that her son had a beautifully printed menu from one of the dining rooms on the Queen Mary.
Some of the guests had a go with using the iPads to look at items on the Website and John, who was born on the island, told his story of living on the island all his life and Suzi, our Camera Op, helped him add it to the comments section.
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