5,4,3,2,1, FIRE!




Now (2016)

Just in land from the Needles on the Isle of Wight at High Down was an important UK rocket test site, during the 1950s and 1960s. All the 22 Black Knight rockets that were fired and both stages of the 4 Black Arrow rockets were brought to the site for test firing before being dispatched to the Woomera range in Australia for launch. Concrete walkways with the foundations of 2 static testing sites remain on the headland today. To visit it’s a 20-minute uphill walk from the car park at Alum bay amusement park.


Old Lady on the Mud.



as she was found on google

The Paddle Steamer Ryde built for Southern Railways in 1937. Powered by Diagonal Triple Expansion she was the last Paddle Steamer on the Solent crossing from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight, when she was withdrawn in 1969. She had seen service in WW2 when the Royal Navy used her. For a while after finishing service she became an Island nightclub until she was damaged by fire.

ps ryePs rye 2

Now rotting on mud on the Medina. Several attempts have been made to restore this old lady of the sea to her former glory but she now looks passed saving at any cost. Today she is barley recognisable as a Paddle Steamer. A very different visit to a Paddle Steamer than my Waverley trip last year.

Below my Waverley link


That’s the way we do it.


The first Sandown Pier Isle of Wight  was started in 1876. The 360 foot pier opened in 1879, it was extended to 875 feet in 1895. The pier, complete with new pier-head pavilion, and re-opened in September that year. Paddle steamers stopped at the new landing stage.

sandown pier 1

The Council became the piers owner in 1918  a  1000 seat, beach end end pavilion was opened in 1934. The pier-head pavilion continued  as a ballroom.

The pier was divided during the Second World War for defence reasons and the condition of the landing stage deteriorated. A new concrete double-deck landing stage opened in 1950’s.sandown pier

In 1968, the council rebuilt the pier. Work started in 1971 and included replacing the old, fire-damaged pavilion. Developments included a new bar and cafe.  Reopening in 1973.

 fire caused £2 million of damage on August Bank Holiday 1989. The pier fully re-opened by June 1990 (although the beach end had re-opened within 30 hours of the blaze). The theatre finally closed in the 1990s to be replaced an amusement arcade.