Isle of Wight Observer January 6 1883
To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Observer Sir, – I noticed the following among other objects lying about the pier to-day, and I wondered why the directors of what aims to be a pleasure promenade should let them stay there. There were three tramcars in various stages of decay; rusted as to their wheels, scorbutic as to their “bodies”, and dowdy indeed as to their blue hangings. I saw a hideous luggage van and a couple of trollies, stagnant, and clearly past work. Then I counted quite five-and-twenty old logs, most defunct piles, only fit to boil some poor man’s pot, but laid out along the tramway as though they were objects of beauty. Close by was a small wilderness of old iron, chiefly worn out tram rails so far as I could see; highly oxidised of course; a very mournful sight. Farther on I found a part of a staircase, four or five large notice boards carelessly strewn about, portions of a pile driving machine, and other “marine stores”. In a glass house, piled higgledy-piggledly, were chairs innumerable. Very likely these inelegant articles could not be altogether got rid of; but why in a house of glass? Then I found the skeleton of a large booth, which in summer gave shelter to the band, but in the winter forms a truly depressing object, denuded of Mr Cantelo’s canvass; it is about as cheerful as the framework which comes into view on the morning after a display of fireworks. As I walked back to the town I was smothered in a cloud from the Pier Company’s own tram engine, which as it went by made the pier tremble like a jelly, and must sooner or later do the fabric serious injury. I passed about a quarter of a mile of advertisements mostly mouldy, and even if in perfect condition, not the sort of thing to attract visitors, who, having come to the sea for rest and change, are pestered with these too familiar placards in their hours of ease. I made three efforts to get ashore; twice did I charge the wrong turnstile. The official in command seemed pleased that these old-fashioned little machines stood the strain so well. At the third effort I succeeded, and as I recovered my wind, slightly damaged by these blows below the belt, I studied the various “ons” and “offs” displayed at the barrier, but am still the victim of doubts, partly from the complicated nature of the little placards which are supposed to guide the traveller, and partly from the fact that they seemed to require supplemental verbal information from the collector of tolls. One word more – the collector appears to keep the cash of the company in an old cigar box! Shade of Dr Lind, what must you think if you revisit the scene of your earthly happiness? You were not extravagant, but I think you would have enforced better discipline in this and other matters. But then in your time the company paid a dividend.
Dec 30th, 1882