Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Not So Jolly at the Folly

Bad News for fbb's Former Territory?
The Folly Inn stands on the east bank of the river Medina (Isle of Wight), about half way between Cowes and Newport (under the "A" of A3021).
It is said the Folly originated around 1783 as an old 60ft smugglers barge which was moored at the side of the river and was used to sell liquor to passing sailors! In 1792 the barge was apparently washed up on the beach here after it broke from it’s moorings. Captain Thomas Burnett who owned several trading craft and had the rights to several oyster beds on the river, decided to build an inn over the remains of the vessel as a half way house along the Medina where barges would wait at Folly reach between tides and the bargemen could partake in refreshment at the remote inn which did a roaring trade from it's 'captive' customers!

On land nearby, Saunders Roe developed its engineering works which were put to good use during the Second World War.
Most of the buildings have lain unused and unloved for many years ...
More modern development of the area is the Medina Park mobile (i.e. very un-mobile) homes site.
During the war and post war there were bus services to Folly Works and the residients of Medina Park campaigned successfully for a modern day replacement. This came in the form of Wight Bus (i.e. Isle of Wight Council Transport) service 29.
Service 29 was welcomed by many elderly and permanent residents of the unmobile hereditaments. But, realistically, there weren't many of them!

Development of the Saunders Way estate (posh name, Hawthorn Meadows : off Beatrice Avenue East Cowes) ...
... brought a bag of shiny pennies from the developers (a "Section 106" grant) which funded a replacement route 25.
This service mopped up several unremunerative bits of bus service including Medina Park and Folly Inn.
Once again, note the heavy loading!

When this money ran out, a deal was struck to include the Folly etc. in the Wootton Bridge "Heron Line" Community bus service started in 2011 and later modified to include Whippingham
From January this year the former all-week service was drastically reduced "due to the difficulty of recruiting and training volunteer drivers".
By now, Medina Park residents had to change buses at Whippingham (for Newport) or Wootton (for Ryde); but on two days at least they could shop in East Cowes. Waitrose is very nice but a bit pricey.
But from Monday of this week, amidst anguish and anger, the last link to the Folly is withdrawn.


The Isle of Wight Council has simply cancelled the last three years of a seven year contract with Southern Vectis. Or so it seems.

More on this tomorrow. Meanwhile the blue bus on service 25 (above) has an intriguing history. It started its life with Oxford Citybus, later to join the GoAhead "family" ...
It was sent to Solent Blue Line having lost its centre doors and gained BlueStar branding ...
... which it lost on emigrating to the Isle of Wight. After general use in plain blue ...
... it was converted into a sliding roof, partially open-sided "chara" as the Shanklin Steamer.
It now resides in the relocated Isle of Wight bus museum where it provides additional seating for the tea shop!
But now the bus service has gone, new housing is announced on the Saunders Roe site at The Folly.
Will they have to walk as well?

 Next bus blog : Wednesday 9th September 


  1. The registration K125 BUD may have been new to Oxford Bus Co, but the vehicle was new as K8 KLL to London General: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45726467@N02/14081289373/

  2. Like the floating letters on the Medina. If only all rivers and oceans were so labelled.