A German industrial chemist Theodor Julius William Spindler decided to come to the Island for the benefit of his health in 1873. He stayed at Medina Cottage in Ventnor until, in 1882, he negotiated the purchase of an estate of 144 acres, in the Undercliff, known as Old Park.
Mr William Spindler was a most generous subscriber to many different charitable causes. Among the many other projects he created was the sea wall at Binnel Bay in St Lawrence, shown in the centre image below. Building the sea wall at Binnel Bay gave employment to many local people during the 1880’s. Spindler also managed to pump water to the village of Whitwell and was responsible for the installation of the ‘Red Boys’ water stands, still to be seen in the village, as photographed above.
He also instigated, with others, the building of the road between St. Lawrence Shute and Pine Point, Ventnor, and the road between Kemming Road and Niton.
Mr and Mrs Spindler presented to Whitwell Church a handsome turret clock and a peal of eight bells. Almost the first peal was for the marriage of his daughter, followed a few months later for his funeral. Mr Spindler’s health gave way 188, and he is buried in the south corner of the churchyard. The photograph below on the left shows the size of his memorial. Maybe you would like to go and take a look whilst exploring the Island’s hidden past.
Old Park Estate, in St. Lawrence, subsequently became Old Park Hotel, which was operated by members of the Thornton family (the current owners of Ford Farm House) for over fifty years. The hotel itself is currently owned by Mr & Mrs Kell as a child-friendly hotel.
Old Park Hotel is now in the process of being converted back into a house, meaning that as of 2019, Old Park Hotel is no longer trading and now a private residency called Old Park House.