Environment & Neighbourhood Committee
Parish Council Members: Cllr R Poncia (Chair),Cllr M Groom, Cllr Chapman, Cllr L Mitchell, Cllr J Lake
Empress Queen Anchor
This anchor is from the wreck of the SS Empress Queen which was built in 1897 as an Isle of Man paddle steamer. When the vessel came into service it was one of the fastest and most powerful paddle steamers on the seas.
The Empress Queen was chartered by the Admiralty on the 6th February 1915, the ship was fitted out as a troop carrier within two weeks after which it travelled to Southampton to begin transporting troops to Le Havre. The ship enjoyed almost a year of highly reliable service until on 3 February 1916, while returning to Southampton from carrying 1300 troops to Le Havre, she ran ashore in a heavy gale on the Ring Rocks, off Foreland Ledge. The Ledge is visible from this point at low tide.
She was stuck fast in full view of the Coastguard Station and the lifeboat Queen Victoria 2 was quickly summoned by distress rockets and launched with difficulty in the poor weather conditions. Coxswain John Holbrook was in command but not with his usual full crew as they had been called up for wartime duties. Older fishermen, coastguards and other volunteers were called on and went to the rescue.
Getting close to the Empress Queen was extremely difficult due to the weather and the rocks. The skill of John Holbrook brought the lifeboat alongside, but he severely injured his hand. Despite this he made four trips to the ship, each time filling the lifeboat to safe capacity. By now the lifeboat was damaged and waterlogged, but on the last trip the remainder of the crew including the ship’s dog and cat were brought safely ashore. Altogether 110 men were saved with Coxswain John Holbrook receiving the RNLI Silver Medal for a very gallant rescue. The wreck broke up and her remains can still be seen at low water.
Local fishermen, brothers Walter and Frederick Attrill, also helped with the rescue, taking 30 men to shore. They received letters of thanks from the owners.
Villagers turned out to help, as Ivy Clarke recalled.
‘The lifeboat crew brought men ashore until they were exhausted. The tide had gone out and after dark it was difficult for the lifeboat to see her way due to the blackout and weather conditions. Some local women, including my two sisters, stood candles in lanterns each side of the gully between the third ledge and the rocks, so that the coxswain could bring the lifeboat in and anchor her. My sisters, Maisie (14 years) and Gertie (19 years) Clarke from Woodclose, had been standing up to their waists in freezing water. Meanwhile, the other women were lighting the fire in the little committee room at the lifeboat-house, using their own coal. They filled jugs and cans with hot cocoa and tea, whatever could be spared from the rations. On this rescue the Coxswain was awarded a special RNLI commendation, but would not accept it unless my two sisters were recognised for their part in the rescue. They were later awarded certificates for what they had done.’
The Empress Queen’s anchor was located and brought ashore by Martin Woodward MBE, former Bembridge Lifeboat Coxswain and professional diver and is now situated at the Coastguard Green, Beachfield Road, Bembridge.
Bembridge Christmas Star Competition 2020
Some of this year’s Stars
Dragons Den 2020
Dragons Den Winners
This year’s Dragon’s Den could not have an Event, but the Dragons met up remotely to argue over the applications!!
Windmills Pre-School were awarded £510 towards new play equipment in their garden.
Friends of Holy Trinity Church were awarded £380 towards building upgrades on The Cloisters
Bembridge Heritage Society were awarded £230 for a new cordless vacuum to keep their new home tidy.
Bembridge Scouts were awarded £430 for shelving which helps with the improvements that are ongoing at the Hut during lockdown.
Bembridge Community Gardeners were awarded £450 towards plants that will benefit the Village for residents and visitors.
Well done to all those who pitched against the Dragons and won!
K1 Restoration Project
Bembridge in Bloom 2019
Wave Sculpture Unveiling 18th March 2019
Bembridge Village Partnership was successful in being awarded nearly £4,000 towards the Bembridge Wave Sculpture at Fishermans Walk, from Down to the Coast, which celebrates coastal arts. The Sculptor Kenneth Prust positioned the Wave in such a way that the lifeboat station can be viewed through the wave. Interestingly the material used for the sculpture began its life as part of the water main beneath the ground of Bembridge and was secured from Southern water by the artist.
A Time Capsule was buried underneath, which includes contents from Bembridge Heritage Centre, Bembridge Parish Council, a copy of the Parish News and a photo catalogue ‘A moment in time’.
As part of the project, a competition took place for local artists to paint a mural on unattractive walls facing out to sea, beside the Lifeboat station, that encapsulates the wave theme to celebrate coastal arts. John Keyworth, Operations Manager and Guy Willing, Coxswain Bembridge RNLI judged the entries and it was a difficult decision from some very inspirational entries. Verena Sparrow, a local Bembridge artist, won the competition and throughout the summer has brought the design to life.
Bembridge Primary School children were taught about the art of sculpture with sessions making their own sculpture creations with Kenneth.
The Coastal Gardener has planted up the area with appropriate plants
Many thanks go to Ken Prust, Bembridge Primary School, Verena Sparrow, Bembridge Green Towns, Men in Sheds, Bembridge RNLI, Parish Lengthsmen, Greg from Weavers, the Coastal Gardener, Brewers and East Wight Landscape Partnership Down to the Coast.
Wave Sculpture Update
We are delighted that the Wave Sculpture, made by local sculptor Ken Prust, is now sitting proudly at Lane End, thanks to the hard work of the Village Partnership and the Parish Council. This project has been made possible thanks to funding from Heritage Lottery Fund and the Isle of Wight Council ‘Down to the Coast’ Project. We still have a few finishing touches to complete, including an interpretation and information to put, but a grand unveiling and dedication event is in the pipeline.
BEMBRIDGE WAVE MURAL
Bembridge Village Partnership has been successful in being awarded nearly £4,000 towards the Bembridge Wave Sculpture project from Down to Coast.
As part of the project a competition took place for local artists to paint a mural on currently unattractive walls facing out to sea, beside the Lifeboat station, that encapsulates the wave theme to celebrate coastal arts.
John Keyworth Operations Manager and Guy Willing Coxswain Bembridge RNLI judged the entries and it was a difficult decision from some very inspirational entries.
Verena Sparrow, a local Bembridge artist, won the competition and throughout the summer has brought the design to life. During the challenge many passers-by were interested in the mural taking shape with local children contributing by painting the eyes of the fish and some of the shells; a memory we hope they remember. The competition will take place bi-annually so if you missed it this year be sure to enter next time.
Many thanks to Cllr Sheila Weedall for co-ordinating the project and Brewers for providing the paint at trade price.
The next phase of the project is the installation of the wave sculpture that will be installed at Fisherman’s Walk to celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the local landscape.
A time capsule, buried by Bembridge Primary School, will include contents from Bembridge Heritage Centre and Bembridge Parish Council with a photo catalogue ‘A moment in time’. The Sculptor, Kenneth Prust has taught a class of Bembridge school children all about the art of sculpture with sessions on the beach to make their own creations.
Introduction of a new interpretive sign board. Associated planting from the Coastal Gardener with the assistance of the local Beavers.
Grand unveiling of the sculpture and burying of the time capsule to be arranged in the autumn.