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East Cowes

East and West Cowes Floating Bridge 1720—2010

A ferry of various types has been in existence between the two places since the early 1700 hundreds, initially the rights were granted to the Robertson who operated rowing boats. By the mid 1800 hundreds the family were using horses to winch flat bottom boats across the river This method was used until around 1860 when the operating licence was purchased by the Floating Bridge Company and the ferry became chain driven.

It is reported that the 1882 ferry could take two vehicles {horse drawn?] side by side, the vessel stayed in service until 1896. The next ferry built by J.S.Whites of Cowes costing £2,772 and the bows were modified to allow the easier disembarking of vehicles and people. This vessel was eventually sold in 1925 to Uffa Fox who used it as a houseboat and workshop.

In 1901 the ferry service was taken over by West and East Cowes Urban District Council and formed a committee whose was responsible was to oversee the operation. 1909 saw the introduction of a new steam ferry costing £3,200 built of steel, it used steam to raise and lower the disembarking ramps and had electric lighting installed.

1925 saw the arrival of the next and last steam ferry, which eventually was sold for use as a ferry at Sandbanks in Dorset. This was replaced by a diesel powered vessel costing £12,000 and was the first diesel-electric vessel in the country.

The next chain ferry was in operation from 1952 until 1975 when it was replaced by the current ferry built by Fairy Marine of Cowes and capable of accommodation 20 cars and foot passengers.

Source: Island Life

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:16:17

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