Withies - a pre-eminent Island industry

Mr Cooke and his father and grandfather before him have carried on this industry for about 150 years, and it is still being maintained by his son Mr Herbert Cooke. The Cookes of Brook have won a wide reputation for their fish-pots, having for many years supplied the south coast of England and even Ireland.

The red withies used for making the pots are grown on a four acre plot of ground near the Military Road, which the family have rented from the Seely Estate for many years. Mr Cooke is seen in the accompanying photograph just commencing a pot.

In his younger days he made as many as six a day, but now is satisfied to make one. He is wonderfully active for his years and enjoys splendid health. He comes of a longlived stock of fisher folk. His father (William Cooke of Mottistone lived to 91) and he has two sisters residing in Brook, Mrs Hayter who is 87, and Mrs Johnson, 85. Mr Cooke has also a worthy record as a lifeboatman, having been a member of the Brook crew for 30 years.

Courtesy of the Isle of Wight County Press