THE Island has changed a lot since the ‘70s, but whether all those changes have been good ones is a matter of opinion.

Some changes were due to the infinite wisdom of our illustrious leaders in County Hall, while others were due to mother nature.

In the latter category is the ‘Thimble’ at Brook Bay.

Over a century old, it collapsed in February, 2014, during heavy storms.

It was allegedly built as a forward gun sight for the artillery crews of Fort Redoubt at Freshwater Bay, whose practice shells sometimes fell on Chale Bay and St Catherine’s Point.

Firing to the seaward side of the obelisk brought the practice to an end.

The Crown Estate ­— modern-day owners of the Thimble ­— say they have no plans to rebuild it.

The ferry boat service between St Helens Duver and Bembridge was a part of Island life well into the 1980s.

On the sand dunes a few yards from the St Helens end was the Ferry Boat Inn.

While the kids paddled and built sandcastles, mum and dad could keep watch and have a pint at the same time.

The precise place where Harry Matthews stood to photograph the Sea Street warehouses in 1971 is now lost under Medina Way, where it meets with the Coppins Bridge roundabout.

The river that once wound its way through the town with pretty grass banks either side was diverted here, and now makes its way through Newport, hidden from view in attractive concrete riverbanks.

The cherubs’ heads at 41 South Street were prised off the wall shortly after this photograph was taken in 1974 and were never seen again.

Where are they today?

The final photo is a once-in-a-lifetime view of St Thomas Square from South Street ­— a sight available for just a few weeks in 1979 during demolition work in South Street and Pyle Street.

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