Please click thumbnails for larger picture.
Old postcards are sometimes poorly produced and grainy, I've done my best to scan them. Dates are from the card or my estimate (where possible). The producer of the Card is shown when possible.
A rather romantic card of the Needles, probably about 1910
The Needles are the western most point of the Isle of Wight and are a series of chalk stacks which protrude into the see at the end of which is a lighthouse. Nearby is Alum Bay, which is home of the famous coloured sand but is has a rather commercialised 'pleasure park'. The is a chairlift from the top of the cliff to the beach. The sea around the Needles was notorious for shipwrecks. The first lighthouse was built in 1785 on top of the downs, the current one during from the 1850's. A helicopter pad was added in the 1990's and the lighthouse subsequently became automated and unmanned.
Black's guide of 1880 describes them:
The celebrated Needles are
five "isolated masses of the extreme west point of the middle range of
Downs, which have been produced by the decomposition and wearing away of the rock
in the direction of the joints or fissures with which the strata are traversed
The angular or wedge-shaped form of these rocks has resulted from the
highly-inclined northward dip of the beds of which they are composed." The
appellation Needles has been traced by some to the German niecler fels, or
" nether cliff;" but, more probably, was suggested by the numerous
pinnacles starting up from each rugged mass, or by the lofty conical rock, 120
feet high, known as " Lot's Wife: which fell into the sea, in 1764, with a
clash and a roar audible at Portsmouth harbour.
The channel between the Needles and the Dorsetshire coast is called The
Race. There is something imposing
wrote Mr. Rush, the American ambassador, in 1817, "in entering England by this access". " I
afterwards" he continued,
" entered at Dover in a packet from Calais--my eye fixed upon the sentinels
as they slowly paced the heights. But those cliffs, bold as they are, and
immortalized by Shakespeare, did not equal the passage through the Needles"
All pictures on this page are from my own collection.
Freshwater | Totland | Alum Bay and the Needles | Yarmouth | Shalfleet | Newtown | Calbourne | Carisbrooke Castle | Carisbrooke | Newport | Cowes and Gurnard | Osborne House | Wootton & Fishbourne | Quarr & Binstead | Ryde | Seaview | Bembridge | Brading | Sandown | Shanklin | Godshill | Arreton Valley | Ventnor | St Lawrence and the Undercliff | St Catherine's Lighthouse's | Niton | Blackgang Chine | Blackgang and Chale | Brighstone and Shorwell | Mottistone to Compton
28 July 2010