ISN'T National Geographic on the telly?

Yes, it is ­— but it started life in America in 1888 as a magazine.

In 1934 they sent a journalist, JR Hildebrand, to the Isle of Wight, to show the folks back home how a “sturdy Island race” lived.

JR was accompanied by a photographer equipped with a rarity ­— rolls of one of the first true colour films, the new 'Natural Color'.

The result was a 33 page article, with 36 photographs, 13 of them in colour.

JR landed at Cowes, and said: "We walked into High Street, the narrow road, every bit as clean as the sidewalk.

"Quaint, ancient houses and every few doors tea rooms offered scones and crumpets and there were miniature branches of famous shops of Regent Street and Piccadilly."

JR then made his way to East Cowes on the floating bridge.

It seems hard to believe now, but back in the 1930s, the floating bridge was a slow, noisy, clanking contraption which crossed the river by pulling itself along chains.

Thank heavens we’ve moved on since those days.

Apparently, the 1930s Islanders got through a lot of cabbage.

JR said: "Anyone who has eaten in English inns or on English trains must wonder about the source of all the cabbage served at nearly every meal."

Full of the stuff, JR and photographer then set off for Godshill.

"Can you have tea there?" JR and his crew asked.

"Just wait and see!" exclaimed their driver.

"As we drove through the streets, practically every cottage in the village was a tea shop," said JR.

"A favourite postcard on sale there proclaims such natural wonders as 'Cowes where there are no cattle; downs that are up, and Freshwater that is salt', and an advertising billboard along the roadside reads, ‘You can whip our cream, but you can't beat our milk'."

So there we are. We're quaint and we live on cabbage.

The photos are accompanied by their original, sometimes plain odd, titles and captions.