SANDOWN, "BEYOND DUFFS' COTTAGE"
"This town is situated a couple of miles south-west of Brading, six from Ryde, six northward of Ventnor, and nine eastward of the capital of the Island, Newport. The town lies along the shores of Sandown Bay, a magnificent crescent stretch from Dunnose, south-east of the town of Shanklin, to the Culver Cliffs, eastward of Sandown. It has deservedly acquired great fame as a seaside resort for people with young families, as the shore is almost flat for a great distance under water when the tide is in, making boating and bathing safe and delightful operations, and leaving a beautiful plane of soft sands from three-quarter to low tide. The town is built in a natural hollow between the cliffs which stretch out to and through Shanklin on the one hand, and on the other rise again in the direction of the Culvers. The houses have been built in this beautiful valley, and are therefore within easy approach from the sea, a great advantage to people visiting chiefly for the sake of sea-bathing, boat, and beach pleasures, particularly to the aged and young children. The Isle of Wight Railway Company has its central station here, with the offices of the company, and it is also the eastern terminus of the Sandown, Newport, Cowes, and Freshwater railway systems. The town is governed by a Local Board of 15 members, with a population in 1891 of 3582, Like Bembridge, Lake, and part of Shanklin, it is embraced in the far-reaching civil parish of Brading.
Two little Esplanades existed here until the years 1891 and 1892, when they were united by the abolition of an intervening dwelling house, Swiss Cottage. Further extension of the Esplanade from the King’s Head slipway to the Sandown Hotel slipway has completed one of the very finest Esplanades on the south coast. If the authorities of Sandown and Shanklin could only be induced to unite and join hands with their Esplanades they would both be able to boast of one of the grandest marine drives and parades to be found on the face of the globe. We fear this union of action is not likely to come about for a long time to come, though in the meantime both are losing a chance which they would do well to consider in these days of severe seaside competition.
The visitor should not miss a walk past the Granite Fort to the Culver Cliffs, which forms so pretty a background to the landscape.
We give a picture of the cliff as seen from close quarters and a small head view at the opening of this chapter gives a fairly good representation of it as seen from a distance, while it is also to be seen on several other illustrations of this beautiful town and bay. The Culver derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon word “culfre,” which means a pigeon, and to this day it is a famous haunt of such birds. In Queen Elizabeth’s time a valuable breed of hawks were obtainable there. The hermit’s hole is to be found in the face of the cliff, about 40 feet from the summit, and approached by a dangerous footpath. Round the point is Whitecliff Bay, before referred to.
In 1874, at the close of the Franco-Prussian war, the Crown Prince of Germany, afterwards Emperor Frederick II., with his consort, our Princess Royal, and their children, visited Sandown. They stayed in the town several months, and the Imperial Prince and Princess took part in several public functions in various parts of the Island during their residence at Sandown. This happy circumstance gave Sandown a new start in public favour, for it became a recognised fact that the Imperial visitors greatly profited by their sojourn in this delightful place.
The Parish Church (Christ Church) is a spacious building of stone on an eminence at the western end of the town. It was built in 1843 in the Early English and Geometrical Decorated Styles, containing chancel and nave, with continuous aisles to both. The tower is on the south side, with octagonal broach spire, the entrance being beneath the tower. One of the memorial windows is to the memory of Lieut Boxer, R.N., who perished in H.MS. Captain, and another is to the memory of the Rev. W. Thomas, the vicar from 1847 to 1862, and founder of the church. There are other stained-glass memorial windows and several objects of interest in the church. The edifice was enlarged in 1863 and 1873, and now provides accommodation for 650 worshippers.
St. John’s Church, in Lower Sandown, was erected in 1880-1. It is in the Early English style, and built of local stone. It contains nave of five bays and shallow chancel, under open-timbered roof; there are aisles, vestry, and south porch. It is built to accommodate 600 worshippers.
The Congregational Church in Leed street was erected in 1873 in Early English style, the material being local stone. It has a low square tower, with octagonal turret and spire. A handsome geometric window adorns the front gable, with entrance porch beneath. The building can accommodate 400 people. The church, with manse and schoolroom adjoining, cost about £5,000.
The Wesleyan Society has a chapel in Pell street, erected in 1865 on the site of a former place of worship, the Wesleyans, we believe, claiming to be the oldest Protestant communion in Sandown. The building is of stone, and in the Early English style. On the west front are two open turrets, lighted at the end by a large window with handsome tracery. It contains 300 sittings. A new house for the minister was erected lower down in 1891, and the schools are at the back of the chapel.
The Baptist Chapel is in the same street lower down. It was erected in 1882, to accommodate 320 worshippers.
The Bible Christian Chapel, York road, was erected in 1882, though the society was founded in 1828. It is capable of accommodating 400 worshippers.
The Primitive Methodist Chapel, in Avenue road and at the end of Fort Street, was erected in 1866, to seat 120 worshippers.
The Salvation Army has two officers stationed at Sandown, but they hold their indoor meetings in hired rooms.
The Town Hall, is a noble brick building, erected in 1869. It consists of a fine public hall capable of seating 520 persons, a small gallery, dressing rooms, and offices. In 1888 offices for the use of the town officials and the meetings of the Local Board were erected as a wing to the larger building.
In Sandown also are several barracks and batteries, and here the Isle of Wight Militia assemble in the month of May for the month’s drill. The Freemasons and Oddfellows have halls in the town, and there are several splendid hotels, amongst them being the Sandown Hotel, charmingly situated for sea and land prospects. The visitor can find ample private accommodation in the high, medium, or lower parts of the district, according to taste and requirement. The local bank is a branch of the Capital and Counties Bank. Local newspapers: The Island Standard (eight pages, 1d.), published Friday evening for Saturday, containing a large open view of Sandown and Bay on the front page, with a number of pictures inside, lists of residents and visitors, and the local and general news (no charge being made for the insertion of visitors’ names) - office, Melville street; and the Isle of Wight Chronicle published on Thursday. The following information as to the postal arrangements may be useful;
|Dispatches to London direct, &c., and Ventnor direct||9.20 a.m.|
|Ryde and Newport (including the Island generally)||10.20 a.m.|
|All parts (extra stamp till 1.5 pm)||1.0 p.m.|
|All parts||4.5 p.m.|
|Ryde direct and Island generally, Portsmouth, London, and West of England (extra stamp 8.25)||8.10 p.m.|
|Deliveries (Including Letters and Parcels) commence at 7.0 a.m., 11.20 a.m., and 6.20 p.m.|
|CLEARANCES OF WALL BOXES||SUNDAYS.|
|Lake Post Office,||7.20 p.m.||5.10 p.m.|
|Lake Wall Box,||7.15 p.m.||5.5 p.m.|
|Barracks Wall Box,||8.30 a.m., 7.25 p.m.||5 20 p.m.|
|Railway Station Wall Box,||8.40 a.m., 12.20, and 7.35 p.m.||5.35 p.m.|
|Broadway Pillar Box,||8.45 a.m., 12.25, and 7.40 p.m.||5.35 p.m.|
|Sandown Hotel Pillar Box,||9.0 a.m., 12.40, and 7.55 p.m.||5.50 p.m.|
The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900