05 August 2016
Hoare might have a point about the poor educational standards and high unemployment etc, but his comments on inbreeding are based on ignorance and lazy stereotyping.
Over the past couple of centuries many groups of people have left their genetic imprint on the Island; indeed, the Island gene-pool has probably undergone far more mixing than most areas, for reasons that include the following:
1. Before the advent of decent road systems, coastal communities, such as the Island's, moving about by sail, were often far wider travelled than inland communities.
2. Unlike vast swathes of Britain up to the late 1700s, the open field method of farming, whereby agricultural workers were tied to the same strip of land for generations, was largely obsolete on the Island; instead, the agricultural labouring classes were forced to travel to wherever they could find work. Also, agricultural workers from the mainland often had to be brought over to the Island to help bring in the harvest.
3. Due to its strategic location, the Island, for many generations, had a large permanent garrison of troops, and for many years served as the recruiting depót for the Militia/Army as well as the East India Company. For instance, in the Napoleonic Wars, when the population of the Island was little more than 20,000, there was a constant influx and outgoing of several thousand British and foreign troops.
4. The Island became a tourist destination for the monied and landed classes from the late 1700s onwards. Over the centuries this evolved into the mass-market tourist industry that exists today.
5. Since the first rotting prison hulks were moored off Cowes in the early 1800s to house poor souls awaiting transportation to Australia, the Island has been home to several prisons with their associated prison officer population; the latter almost exclusively recruited from the mainland.
6. From c1830 to c1950 the Island, due to its climate, was considered the best place in Britain for convalescing TB patients, who arrived from all over Britain and abroad, along with their servants etc; not to mention all those employed to care for them.
7. There were several German Prisoner of War Camps on the Island during and after WWII.
8. From 1968 the Island has played host to various music festivals. Estimates of up to 500,000 loved-up hippies attended the 1970 one.
All of these groups of people have helped to mix the local gene pool.
I could go on; but, it being Friday night, it's high time for me to take some drugs, commit a crime and call in at my sister's.
Not necessarily in that order.