The Hooter problem – 1872
Isle of Wight Times March 28 1872
To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Times and Hampshire Gazette Dear Sir, In your editorial capacity you seem to be the only one to whom persons troubled like myself can make known our complaints. A wise Providence has certainly put a commanding sceptre into your hands, and I know you will use it for the public good. In the nineteenth century all parties have to recognise the “power of the press” and therefore, it is that I naturally avail myself of your valuable aid in trying to stop the continuance of a noise which has developed into an intolerable nuisance. About three weeks ago, the inhabitants of this town first became aware that a “hooter” had been imported. Day after day our ears have been dinned with its indescribable and unearthly hoot. Some of us set ourselves to inquire after the origin of the noise, to seek the quarter whence it came, and we found that it is caused by a rusty-throated whistle used at the engineer department at the railway station, to call the men to work and to blow them home again.
I dare say you yourself have been lately suddenly startled out of your profound sleep at early morning, and when you sought the cause of the disturbance your ears were greeted with this horrible yell. Now, Sir, this is the secret of your morning restlessness for the past three weeks. In the morning before six o’clock, then at six o’clock, then a few minutes past eight, then a few minutes before nine, then at nine, again at one, then a few minutes before two, then again at the hour, and again when it is time for the men to throw down their tools; in fact, nine times a day this abominable “hooter” is blown by steam until the whole town echoes with the brain-distracting hoot. Here in Monckton-street it sets every soul quivering with a nervous fear lest there is some approaching danger to the trains. Let me ask why there has been this departure from the musical bell to this savage scream? Cannot something be done to induce the railway authorities to use the “blessed bell” for the men instead of arousing the whole town and terrifying the inhabitants with the noise of this uncivilised “hooter”? The best thanks of all the inhabitants, and their heartfelt gratitude will be heaped upon you, Sir, if, through the medium of your paper, this unbearable nuisance can be stopped. I enclose my card, and remain, yours very truly,
Monckton-street, Ryde, March 25 W J H
Isle of Wight Times April 11 1872
THE “HOOTER” NUISANCE
Tho’ others have sung and changes rung,
On our new persecutor;
And have done their best to get rid of the pest,
We are still opprest by the hooter.
So I would fain throw in a strain,
And hazard the name of looter,
To have a fling at that noisy thing,
The late imported hooter.
For who can be silent on sounds so vi’lent,
Who, I ask, can be neuter?
Who would desire to check his ire,
At the blasts of the hated hooter?
Are we to be dumb, are the sick to succumb,
To the shrieks of a great steam shooter,
Because some board cannot afford
To rid us of the hooter.
Great guns may roar from shore to shore,
Quick as a shot from a mad freebooter,
But never a bore struck so to the core
Like this unconcerned hooter.
The pig may squeak, the ass may speak,
With the raven as coadjutor;
The owl may wreak with competitive beak,
How he’s beat by our island hooter!
Each house “to let” will remain, I bet;
A disappointed suitor;
Each landlady may fall in debt
Around the horrid hooter.
Must Ryde not, rankling, just because Shanklin
May have a howling tooter,
And the highland with the back of the island
May like an incontinent hooter.
When stunned at six, my thoughts I fix
On comfort’s great uprooter,
Grieving sore: ten minutes before
Woke by that same vile hooter.
Good people all both great and small,
I’m sure you are astuter
Than to let Ryde longer abide,
With this loud, deafening hooter.
For if you do, I now tell you,
That Ryde will in the future,
Both lose in fame and gain the name
Of the town with the nasty hooter. ANON