Council officials on the Isle of Wight are set to end a minute’s silence that began on 19 June 1897, after it emerged that Town Mayor Elijah Crood, the only man on the island to own a pocket watch, had fallen asleep before the end.
The silence was called in honour of the island’s tortoise mascot Boris, whose life was tragically cut short when he fell into a bowl of freshly made jelly. According to Arnold Lawrence, a recently retired gas-lamp lighter from Ventnor, Boris had made a lasting impression on residents, filling them with a drive and enthusiasm that can still be seen today.
Mourners came from all over the island to pay their respects as Boris lay in an open shoe box. ‘At the time those queues went all around the church.’ said local historian Clive Morgan, ‘and with a bit of luck the last of them should be trooping by any minute now.’