Up until the late 1970s, perhaps early 80s, the Isle of Wight County Press was filled with little one or two line articles, sometimes under the banner ‘The Week’s News’, sometimes in ‘Town and County Notes.’

They were odd, quirky and always of interest. This month we revive a few from the early 1960s.

Scroll through the gallery of pictures above to see some interesting images from this era...

First, some good eco-news from July 1960:

‘Salmon are known to be fastidious fish, choosing the freshest rivers for spawning and keeping away from any form of pollution but one was stranded by the tide and seen struggling in shallow water in Newport Harbour on Wednesday morning. When captured it weighed 10 lb., and was worth about £5!’

Isle of Wight County Press: Newport Quay was still a busy working quay in the early 1960s with no Medina Way and no Bargeman's Rest. Photo © Alan Stroud/County Press.Newport Quay was still a busy working quay in the early 1960s with no Medina Way and no Bargeman's Rest. Photo © Alan Stroud/County Press.

Two months later it was Freshwater’s turn to make the piscatorial headlines:

‘An octopus with a tentacle span of nearly five feet was captured alive in a lobster pot at Freshwater Bay on Tuesday by Mr Newbury, of The Star Inn, and Mr Legg, of The Red Lion, Freshwater.

‘Crowds gathered on the beach to examine the unusual capture, which was brought ashore in a large bucket of seawater and later exhibited to their interested customers by the two licensees. Mr. Newbury said that during the time the octopus was trapped in the pot it had eaten the whole of the head and most of the tail of a lobster.

‘As the octopus was easily the largest caught for several years, the landlords offered it to Sandown Zoo, but the zoo authorities were not in a position to accept such a specimen.’

Now before we go any further with this cutting, a fair warning — if you don’t want to know the result, look away now...

‘....so the octopus was killed, cut up, and used as lobster bait.’

Is honesty always the best policy? Reports like this, from September 1961, make you wonder:

‘A Cowes schoolboy, Roger Gallagher, aged ten, a pupil of Denmark Road School, who found a handbag containing cash and securities worth £1,000 in the street, received a reward for his honesty from the grateful owner of £2! He took the bag to show his mother who immediately went to Cowes Police Station and while the contents were being checked the owner, a woman visitor, from Chiswick, came in. After the bag had been handed to her, with its contents intact, she gave the boy £2 reward.’

Next, moving the troops. The Isle of Wight had been home to thousands of troops for the best part of a century or more in camps, forts and bases all across the Island. Newport in particular was described as ‘a sea of khaki'. In February 1962 came the announcement that everyone had been expecting:

‘The troops which have been stationed at Golden Hill Fort, Freshwater, and Fort Victoria, Yarmouth, for the last 16 years, said goodbye to the West Wight with a ceremonial parade on Thursday. When the last troops depart next month, the Island will be left without a regular military garrison for the first time in nearly 300 years.’

Someone not going anywhere that month was an inmate at Parkhurst Prison:

‘A prisoner at Parkhurst won a £5 prize on ITV’s Take a Letter programme on Wednesday. A spokesman at the prison said afterwards: “Prisoners are allowed to go in for competitions with small prizes and they are allowed to keep up to £10. Naturally, they cannot go in for competitions where the prize is a short tour of Italy, or something like that.”’

Proving that nothing got past the eye of the CP editor is this one-liner from ‘The Week’s News’ in summer 1962:

‘A bulge the size of a cricket ball which developed in the two-inch thick surface of tarmacadam in Weston Road, Totland Bay, on Friday week was caused by a growing mushroom which finally forced its way through on Monday.’

Finally, in early 1963 a Cowes boy lost the tips of two fingers when his home-made bomb exploded prematurely. Helpfully, the CP not only reported the story but also informed would-be bomb-makers which chemicals to use!

‘On Friday week a 13-year-old Cowes schoolboy received severe burns and injuries to his right hand. The boy and his friend, aged 14, both of Cowes, were playing in Northwood Park when the accident occurred. It is understood that they were packing a mixture of (Editor's note: chemicals which it’s probably not wise to repeat in this day and age) into a metal tube when it exploded.’

Like reading stories about the Isle of Wight in bygone times? Click here to visit our Looking Back section and read more nostalgic tales.