As we publish our 100th edition we thought readers would find it interesting to look back each week at historical Island news.
The original Isle of Wight Observer was based in Union Street in Ryde and published 3,327 editions between 1852 and 1922. This week’s article is from November 27, 1869 and demonstrates that the condition of our roads is a matter of perennial interest. Is this the forerunner to the Island Roads PFI?
BRADING – Great credit is due to Mr. Coker, the road contractor, for his management of the roads in this neighbourhood. They were never known to be in better condition, and since they have been in his hands a greater quantity of materials have been carted for repairs than at any previous time. Even Doctor’s Lane (so called as leading to the residence of Dr. Pedder, who 50 or 60 years ago lived here, and to whom the people of Ryde had recourse in cases of emergency and sickness, as no doctor then lived there) has had some gravel laid upon it, and the oldest inhabitant cannot recollect the like application. Every impartial observer must acknowledge that the present contractor has greatly improved the highways about here, and we believe that if the Commissioners of Highways can agree with Mr. Coker for a renewal of his contract for another three years, he will put the roads in such a state that a 4d rate would suffice to keep them in substantial permanent repair, and we hope such an arrangement will be made.