LOOK BACK IN TIME: 9 June 1855

The editor of the Isle of Wight Observer published on the 9th June 1855 was not a happy chappy!

He complains about new plans the town council has put forward for Dover Street and also about a scheme for shops to stay open later. Complaining about the council is still a popular pastime, but we particularly enjoyed his description of shop assistants being “fried in gas” because they would be working under lights in the evenings.

RYDE.

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DOVER STREET IMPROVEMENT (?). – We had occasion a few weeks ago to laud what we then considered the great improvement the Commissioners were making in Dover-street, by reducing the hill and making the access to the Esplanade more easy. Since that time they have altogether altered their plan, and the pavement on the west side of the street is to remain nearly as high as it was before, and the road is to be approached by a flight of steps placed on the outside of the curb! A more dexterous scheme for endangering life and limb could not in our opinion have been conceived, and we should scarcely have supposed it possible to have found any persons wild enough to have adopted it. Setting aside all opinion as to the ugliness of the alteration, we simply protest against it as being dangerous; and would suggest, that if there must be a raised foot path, there should be an iron railing outside of it. We have heard more dissatisfaction expressed with regard to this affair, than upon any other local question for some time past, but we do not for one minute pretend to say to whom the honour of the innovation is due; whoever they are, they should be held responsible for all accidents accruing from it.

HOURS OF BUSINESS. – We are sorry to see another retrograde movement made in this town, in prolonging the hours of business by keeping shops open until nine o’clock in the evening. The plea for this absurdity is, that the streets look dull when the shops are closed, and it is not for a minute pretended that any more business will be done; so that there appears to be more self-abnegation in tradesman than they get credit for, and a very large class or assistants are to be fried in gas to enable the idle to have an extra hour’s extra gazing into shops.