The Black Hut


There was a black hut on the green opposite All Saints School which had been previously used by the Freshwater Scout Group. The owner, Mr Ninnis, who ran and owned the local ‘proper’ sweet shop (now the village bakery) with his wife and daughter, Betty, very kindly allowed us to use the hut for a newspaper collection.

It really was very surprising and gratifying the support we received from different areas of the community, bearing in mind our newspaper collection was started in the 1970s long before recycling came into fashion. Barbara Richardson, always conscious of having to raise an awful lot of money, contacted a waste paper firm in Southampton, who agreed to come over to us once a month to collect a full lorry load of newspaper.



As you can imagine, a lorry load of newspaper took a huge amount of collecting. The Black Hut was opened every Saturday morning, every season. Oh dear, the winters! In point of fact SPLASH was providing a much-needed amenity for the area, not just Freshwater (see John & Ann Cook’s memories). The ubiquitous rota was formed of very hard working (and slightly mad) volunteers to collect and tie up the paper, baling twine being provided by a farmer sympathetic to the cause.

It was vandalised, children got in through the roof, which we hastily repaired, and once it was set on fire. Eventually the bottom dropped out of the waste paper market and our collection ended, much to the relief of the hardy souls who turned out in all weathers. It was a dirty job but again raised much needed cash for our swimming pool, which was proving to be a bottomless pit! (Please forgive the pun.)

Eventually the Black Hut was demolished and all that remains now is a small, nicely mown, green with a large stone with a plaque on the side of the stone inscribed BLACK HUT GREEN.

Newcomers to the area must wonder why a Black Hut deserves to be commemorated – now you know, it is part of the history of the West Wight Swimming Pool. I must add that the newspaper collection was a facility much appreciated by the local community who, let’s face it, hated throwing anything away, even in those days.