The Telephone 1900
How times have changed.
It would appear that the telephone is now a thing that we cannot do without; people are using mobile phones in their cars, on the buses, trains, boat and walking in the street. However what was it like 100 years ago.
The "Vectis" Alphabetical list of Island Telephone Subscribers for March 1900 listed the following: Around 280 subscribers for the whole Island, with the main centres being Ryde with 60+ numbers, Newport 50+, Cowes 37, Ventnor 34 and Shanklin with 28.
There were 22 public call offices across the whole Island, 4 police stations located in Ryde, Newport, Cowes and Freshwater. However no fire stations are listed.
There were a total of 23 doctors, Ryde 8, Cowes 5, Ventnor 3, Sandown 2, Shanklin 2, Freshwater 2 but Newport only 1. None in Wootton.
Two hospitals are listed these being, Isle of Wight Infirmary at Ryde and the National Chest Hospital at Ventnor.
A few names have been listed we recognise today:
Ryde, Pitts, Osborne & Son, Tailors [closed 2006], Royal Esplanade Hotel, Gibbs & Gurnell Chemist
Newport, Morey & Sons, Eldridge Solicitors, Wheeler & Hurst Ironmongers
Cowes, Atkey & Son Ironmonger, G & E Watts Painters, Gloster/Globe Hotels
So what did Wootton have, only 6 telephones, and nothing else:
- Telephone No. 1. N.T.Co. The High Street, [a public telephone]
- Telephone No. 2. Post office business only.
- Telephone No. 3. Countess Cowley, [Bodwen]
- Telephone No. 5. W. Langton.
- Telephone No. 6. Lady Cochrane, [Quarr Abbey House]
- Telephone No. 7. A. J. Mew [pork butcher]