Victoria Street in the 1870s had no buildings on its west side, the ground sloping steeply away to a large area of land that, for many years, was known locally as ‘The Swamp’, and today is mostly just a car park.
It was in the 1880s that it gained notoriety as a wet and muddy place and a disgrace to the town’s sanitary provisions. By that time, a slaughterhouse had been erected there, but there was no paving or proper drainage. This situation was very different from how one elderly inhabitant, Henry Hadfield, remembered the area from fifty years earlier, when it had been a green meadow, dotted with bush and briar and incorporating a spring of pure water.
The later 1880s saw the west side of Victoria Street being developed with shops and chapels, while on the Albert Street boundary a long housing terrace soon appeared. In 1910, the Council at last acted to level, pave, metal, kerb and light the track through ‘The Swamp’ to form a continuation of Pound Lane.
NB. Amended post publication in South Wight Chronicle 30th June 2022
Read PDF version here: ‘The Swamp’ – one of Ventnor’s stranger localities