With thanks to local historian and author of “Men of Chale”, Derek Sprake.
- Chale first got electricity in 1966.
- Chale C.E. School has been around for 165 years but schooling has been provided for the children of Chale for possibly 400 years. Unfortunately, inspite of the efforts of the Save Chale campaign, the school is now preparing to close its door this summer. Local children will have to be driven by bus, taxi or car to schools in nearby parishes.
- Some people claim that Blackgang Chine is the oldest Theme Park in the world but whatever the truth of that, the family run business has been open to the public since 1843 and is situated on the cliffs south of Niton. It's location on the cliffs makes it particularly attractive to adults; its attraction for kids has never been in doubt! One of the points of interest and sometimes sadness is the geology of the area. The cliffs hereabouts sit on a layer of Gault (known locally as Blue Slipper). The cliffs are literally slipping into the ocean. In fact the cliff is disappearing at about 3.5 metres per year although the process is not gradual. It tends to come in stages after periods of heavy rain. The three most recent and destructive cliff falls were in 1928, 1961 & 1994. This means that Blackgang Chine is always having to re-locate attractions or demolish buildings. However, in recent years global warming has actually benefitted the park as the water table has fallen dramatically. In 2010, a new way for adults to visit Blackgang has been opened with a new admission area to The Disappearing Village. A large screen cinema as well as a brand new Exhibition called BBC COAST based on the popular TV series.
- The Chantry on St Catherines (also known as the Pepper Box or the Pepper Pot) is the oldest lighthouse in the country. It was built in the 12th Century as a penance imposed on the Lord of Manor after he plundered wine en route to French nunnery!
- The Hoy monument, also known as the Obelisk, was built in 1812 to commemorate the visit of a Russian tzar…somewhat strangely the other side commemorates victory over Russia in the Crimean War!
- In the past, Chale and its residents have prospered from the hidden income which the ‘honourable’ trade of smuggling brought to its shores. In fact without the benefits that smuggling brought to local people, many simply wouldn’t have been able to survive. The arrival of a wrecked ship in the Bay was (and perhaps still is) viewed as providence from God (once the lives of the hapless sailors had been saved of course!), bringing work, supplies, and reward to the whole population.
- Chale attracted people from all over the island to sample good old beer brewed in the village by Sprake’s Brewery. Whilst the brewing ended there in 1933, and the public house – the Star Inn – closed in the 1980s, the buildings remain to this day. Thankfully the Wight Mouse Inn is still helping to quench thirst in Chale!
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