Blackgang Chine


"A place much frequented by visitors, is about a mile to the westward. it derives its name from the blackness of the rocks on either side of the chine, "gang" representing a path or road, as applied to the movable bridge placed from pier to steamboat, "gangway." The probability is that this interpretation of the word will draw a smile to the lips of our friend, Mr. Dabell, of Blackgang Chine, whom we grant to know everything nautical, and certainly everything about Blackgang.  If we are wrong we stand corrected "in our next."  The whole of the surroundings of Blackgang are charming. There is plenty to entertain and instruct, and the air is bracing and exhilarating. As will be seen on other pages, excellent hotel accommodation is to be found in the neighbourhood. The Chine is majestic in its rugged grandeur, and no visitor to the Island should lose the chance of exploring it.

Blackgang village lies at the foot of St. Catherine’s Down, the western boundary of the Undercliff ridge. This hill is about 800 feet above the sea level, and on the summit is a small tower with top like a lantern. This is all that is left of a chapel built in the year 1323 by some Walter de Godyton. On this down is also a handsome column, 72 feet in height. It was erected in memory of the visit to England of the Russian Emperor, Alexander I., and can be seen from most parts of the Island. It bears the following explanatory inscription:

"In commemoration of the visit of his Imperial Majesty ALEXANDER I., Emperor of all the Russias, to Great Britain, in the year 1814, and in remembrance of many years’ happy residence in his dominions, this Pillar was erected by Michael Hoy."

From this eminence a grand dioramic series of spectacles are presented. In the north-west across the plain to Freshwater Downs and the Needles; in the east, away towards Wroxall and Shanklin Downs, the Culver Cliffs, and Sandown Bay; and in the south the broad expanse of the English Channel. A good telescope or pair of held glasses, with our map and guide book at hand, would enable the visitor to spend, with much pleasure and profit, many a pleasant hour at the summit of this hill. But we must descend, and we will find our way to the village at the foot of the down. " and so to Chale.

The Minerva Isle of Wight Pictorial and Guide - circa 1900