Why was Newport Quay so busy in 1900

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Last updated: November 10, 2019

In 1900 Newport Quay would’ve been really busy.

There were many warehouses which held a variety of things. There was a rope store, a brewery, beer storage, a bonded warehouse and general storage space. Everything was imported/ exported through Newport Quay which sits on the LBP (lowest bridging point) of the River Medina; everything was brought through here because it was a central location, with water access. This was vital as the easiest way to travel was by boat, so things could be taken to and brought in from the mainland from here; and because it’s central it was the easiest place for everyone to get to.It was only 13 miles to the point furthest away from it. This was good, because there were no cars, the main town needed to be in walking distance for everybody. Because it was central it was easy for everyone to get to the market which sold many island- produced and imported items; everything could easily be brought in by boat or wagon and sold.

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One of the main imports was tobacco, everyone smoked so this had a really high demand causing it to be one of the main imports to the island. Another import was fish; it was hard to catch good quality fish on the island so this was imported.Other imports include: furniture, material, processed food, rice and fruit. All of these were brought on to the island to be sold on; processed food was an amazing new invention so was extremely popular, it was the first time fruits like strawberries could be eaten out of season. The final main import was coal; this was bought onto the island for the main source of energy. Coal was used to heat homes; trains used it on the railways to power their engines.

It was used at the power station to provide electricity and at the gasworks to provide power and gas.It was the most essential import of the time. All of these were found in Newport as it was a central location. The island didn’t just import goods though, it also exported. Lambs and wool were often exported to the mainland, in 1818 a whopping 1000 lambs a week were sent off to London; then less than a century later it became the most important fat lamb supplier.

The Isle of Wight also made rather distasteful cheese that was sold at the market and many places on the mainland. It was the chief supplier of malt, salt, flour and biscuit for the navy; so was a well respected supplier.In the 19th century there was a large population increase, this was deeply down to the industrial revolution. There was a lower infant mortality, meaning more grew up, so people generally had bigger families; people could sustain these families because they were richer due to the industrial revolution. Also people had better diets due to an increase in agricultural quality, this added to the wealth. Finally there were better medicines and medical practices, the first vaccines were being tested and other medicines had been found.

So more people lived through disease and illness, giving a lower death rate; all this meant that by the start of the 20th century there was a much bigger population. It wasn’t just the agriculture that made more wealth, this large population all had jobs, so all brought income into the large family. This wealth attracted shops and businesses; they saw their opportunity so moved over.

These thrived as people had all this wealth so bought items in these shops; the successfulness of these shops looped back round to add more to the affluence, making it grow even more.All these businesses would need use of a warehouse for the import/ export business and to store goods in. This gave good work to the carrier companies, (like the Shepherd bros and Crouchers); they would run these goods around or store them in their warehouses. This meant more people were needed to work for these companies, again adding to the wealth. So, as all these businesses came over they needed people to work for them, they also needed use of a warehouse and the transportation of goods, so carrier companies also needed more people working for them; resulting in a much higher employment percentage and larger workforce.There were many pubs in Newport due to the market and need of a large workforce; pubs were often successful as it was safer to drink beer than water. Mew Langton’s brewery supplied most of these pubs as it was easier to produce alcoholic beverages locally, as beer was hard to move by wagon and went off when taken in barrels over long distances. Mew Langton’s was famous on the island for its good quality and its superior technology.

Newport was the centre for trade because it was a central location on the island, the IOW market was there, this sold the latest imports and many IOW “home-made” goods.It bought people from all over the island to do their shopping and bargain hunting. This made Newport ridiculously busy.

Above is an image of Mew Langton’s brewery, the biggest and most important brewery on the island. It was located centrally in Newport so it could ship its goods all over the island. In the 1900s breweries and pubs were much more important, more people chose to drink beer as it was a lot safer than drinking the water. There were many breweries as the transport wasn’t good enough; beer had to be made locally as it would go flat over long distances.The islands agriculture was good for all brewers as all ingredients were grown on the island this means they wouldn’t need to pay import prices on crops that they needed to brew. People who popped into the pub whilst at work weren’t shunned upon, it was considered normal, and so there was good income all day. Mew Langton’s owned a warehouse in the Newport Quay warehouses, this gave it both a railway and a water link this meant the goods could simply be transported all over.

.. this is one of the reasons for its prosperity.Also it had extremely advanced technology, they managed to use cans and screw top bottles to stop their Indian Pale Ale (IPA) from going flat; this meant it could be sent over long distances, so could be sold all over. Another key to their prosperous career is they supplied the whole the island, but also they were mainly situated in Newport_ the central and busiest location on the island_ this gave them huge income from the main town, especially on market days. The top floor of their warehouse was a bonded warehouse; this held the spirits and more valuable ales and beers.

This was mainly the goods waiting for export. The bottom floor held the beer to be sold locally and the less valuable goods. The Shephard Brothers owned a bunch of warehouse at the docks as well. They were “general carriers, furniture removers and warehousemen” they were the generally the best company in charge of many imports and exports. They carried goods around the island for civilians and sent stuff on one of their boats to be picked up at another harbour; they brought in furniture, materials and food for the markets or tailors.As tourism rose so did their business, people of royalty like Queen Victoria found this a good holiday destination; this meant more fancy materials were bought in.

Their warehouses were used to store these imports or exports until they were ready to be moved on. This meant their warehouses were full and often extremely busy; these items were essential for everyday life to provide energy, food, clothes, etc to the people. This lead to a prosperous career of transporting and storing goods for inhabitants or visitors to the island.Finally there was a rope store; this was used to store rope and other objects for boats.

These were used to anchor in the boats and supply them with any other needed supplies. These items were needed in the 1900s because there were so many boats coming up and down the river; many were freight ships, some carrying people. These went up and down the Medina dropping their cargo off in Newport, so by having a chandler’s store there they could sell or give supplies to the boatmen when they docked.

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