‘It Used to be Like This’

It Used To Be Like This is a classic memoir of life in Niton Undercliff in the early 1900s, written by George Roland Haynes (1906-1984). In his words: Already the lifestyle of my childhood is beyond the grasp of the young people of today . . . so I have written all that I thought should be recorded before it is completely forgotten, about things that are now totally gone.

He depicts a community where most employment came from the big houses of the Undercliff, while describing in detail the craft and skills involved in fishing and farming, which were almost unchanged since the 1800s. With quiet good humour he remembers the ordinary events as well as the excitements: home life with the weekly drudgery of washday, a childhood spent roaming the Undercliff, and the many shipwrecks off that dangerous coast with strange cargos washed up on the shore and valiant efforts to save the lives of those in peril. Our new and expanded edition of his book, published April 2022, includes more than 40 photographs.

Available in the Ventnor Heritage Centre, or in our online shop Visit the shop.