to Isle of Wight History Centre Archive of Monthly News Items
As previously featured in the History Centre

October - December 2001

October 2001
A recently published book is set to become the major source for future enquiries into the history of the Island's photographic trade. The work is based on extensive original research and seeks to consolidate information that was widely scattered, or has never appeared in print before.
   Isle of Wight Photographers 1840-1940 is the result of ten year's work by author Raymond V. Turley and is published by Southampton University. It is mainly concerned with professional photographers who conducted their business on the Isle of Wight before 1940 and is intended for use largely as a reference work and source book. For this reason sources have been allowed to speak for themselves, with minimal intervention on the author's part. Many passages represent direct quotations, and often attempt to reproduce, if not the precise typography and layout of the original, then at least something of its flavour. .
   The heart of the book is a historical directory of Island photographers. It brings together an assortment of (mainly) biographical data concerning 40 Island photographers, including the very first commercial photographers and notables such as Julia Margaret Cameron, through to familiar high street names like Beken. One section covers early photography at Ryde based on material drawn from the pages of the Isle of Wight Observer newspaper, published from 1852 - the year in which the Island's first established photographer began trading. The work also includes a survey of 19th century exhibitions containing Island work, both here and abroad, and reproduces many photographic articles from the same period. The book concludes with the reproduction of 100 photographes..
  A copy of the book is held in the reference section of Newport Library. It can be purchased from Southampton University.

November 2001
Excavations for an extension to Lake Middle School gave archaeologists the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of past cultures in the district
  Lake and its environs have previously been a rich source for prehistoric sites. Over the years there have been a number of finds, in particular worked flint of the Neolithic and Bronze age periods and evidence of Iron Age occupation. Some evidence of prehistoric activity on the school site emerged in 1970 when it was built. During alterations in 1994 a small quantity Late Iron Age pottery was located. The likelihood of the school being on a prehistoric settlement prompted archaeologists to carry out a watching brief on the recent building work.
   These excavations provided a more substantial collection of finds and features. Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age occupation was suggested by worked flints in a gully, possibly a boundary drain, the upper fill of which contained a large sherd of Bronze Age pottery. The site also yielded Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age ceramics.
  Whereas previous evidence pointed to the occupation ceasing at the end of the Iron Age, there now emerged evidence of Roman activity. A series of small pits, possibly domestic rubbish pits, contained a range of pottery sherds covering a 200 year period from Late Iron Age through to early Roman. The Roman examples ranged from utility pottery to a piece of Samian. Elsewhere later activity was suggested with a single piece of Early Saxon and some Saxo-Norman and medieval ware.
  It seems probable this site saw continuous settlement from Neolithic times through to the Roman period, perhaps extending to medieval. It is another example of the everlasting attraction for settlements beside the waterways and marshlands that once spread inland from Brading.
Site location map

December 2001
The recent Time Team excavations at Yaverland produced an enormous number of pottery finds plus Roman metalwork and coins. Yet among the most prized possessions of the Island Archaeology Unit is this small glass bead measuring just 25mm x 8 mm, found amongst Iron Age domestic rubbish
  The bead is moulded glass and has a irregular and discontinuous band of opaque yellow glass (or vitreous paste) around the inner side, applied in such a way that it glows through the colourless glass. This type of bead is a northern French import and dates from second century BC to first century AD, dying out with the Roman conquest. Very few have ever been found in Britain. Glass beads became much more common after the Romans introduced the industrial method of cutting beads from a drawn tube.
   Beads have been part of every culture throughout history. They have been made from many different materials such as seeds, berries, shell, gold, stone, silver and glass. Typically necklaces would be hung on a leather thong and could range from featuring a few identical beads to being heavily adorned with many different items.
  The Yaverland bead was found in a Late Iron Age gully which was probably a foundation for a building within a settlement. It was amongst general domestic rubbish within the gully which also included local Iron Age Vectis Ware pottery.