Archive for the ‘Isle of Wight history’ Category


Titanic Telegram

Arthur Claude Orchard or “Curly”, as he was affectingly known set out on foot as usual on this cold morning of the 17th April 1912 towards Bembridge. The Marconi telegram he was carrying was sealed and thus he had no understanding that the momentous contents would enlighten the family of the managing director of the Wight Star Line of the disaster that had beheld the Titanic and the fact that their son Bruce Ismay was alive and a survivor.

Ismay the writer of the telegram – who was later dubbed the Coward of the Titanic – had to be treated with opiates to help him cope with the shock of the sinking.
Ismay was the managing director of White Star Line and he was depicted in the 1997 Kate Winslett movie Titanic encouraging the liner’s captain to go faster.

He later told the official enquiry into the disaster that he had to turn and look away in the lifeboat at the moment the Titanic sunk at 2.20am on April 15.
On the 17th April 2012, Nigel Bennett will be re-enacting his grandfather’s walk from the Marconi Radio Station (Culver Haven) at the top of Culver Down, Brading to that of Graylands, being the home of the Ismay family in Bembridge on the 17th April 1912.

Nigel’s mother remembers her telling him that there was great consternation as ‘Curly’ waited for a reply. The exact telegram delivered has been lost, however only recently has a very similar one as seen below, been auctioned for several thousand pounds in New York.

Interesting further reading

Oct 2010: a very interesting account of the last minutes prior to the Titanic hitting the iceberg has recently been published by Lady Louise Patten , the truth about the sinking.

Telegraph Article –

Island Eye Page & Video –


The Isle of Wight Museums

There are many interesting places in the United Kingdom that really deserve your attention. However the Isle of Wight is considered to be the destination that can provide you at once with all possible pleasures: pure air, picturesque nature, swanky hotels and exclusive service. It is also the place where you can be entertained, have time to relax, and enjoy even some extreme sports. Moreover it is reach in many other attractions and one of such is a variety of museums. This very attraction is a wealth of educational resources. So if you want to have memorable holidays and are looking to expand your horizons the Isle of Wight with deepest pride and greatest pleasure proudly presents some of the museums that you do not want to miss.

Osborne House

Osborne Housephoto by amandabhslater

Osborne House is a delightful estate museum. Can you imagine that centuries later you can cross the threshold of a favourite home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert? Visitors can see round the royal apartments and Victoria’s private rooms. Photographs, sculpture and paintings together with personal possessions of the royal pair are on display. A walled garden and small cottage where the children used to play add charm for the visitors.

Swiss Chalet. Osborne Housephoto by amandabhslater

Brighstone Village Museum

Brighstone Village Museum© NTPL / A F Kersting

The Brightstone Village Museum is a charming thatch-roofed cottage. In spite of the fact that the museum is small it can tell you much about the village lifestyle helping you to experience local culture and history. There is a stunning exhibit about village life in the 19th century that all visitors of the museum love. The museum atmosphere brings you back to those times and allows you to better understand what it was like to live back then.

Brighstone Shop and Museum
North Street, Brighstone, Isle of Wight PO30 4AX
Telephone: 01983 740689

Classic Boat Museum

Classic Boat Museumphoto source Classic Boat Museum & Gallery

The Classic Boat Museum currently houses an exciting collection of sailing and power boats, of both local and national interest and importance that allows tourists the opportunity to discover more about the culture and lifestyle of the Isle of Wight. The aim of the museum is to preserve and present the best of those boats that demonstrate the workmanship of past generations for the delight of the present and it is run entirely by volunteers. The collection contains not only classic boats, but also tools, artefacts, books, photographs, film and archival items that relate too much of the history of boat building, sailing, yachting, cruising and racing over the last century.

Find more information – Classic Boat Museum & Gallery

Cowes Maritime Museum

Cowes Maritime Museum  is another museum that displays the part of the national maritime heritage. This museum will tell you everything you ever wanted to learn about the maritime history of the island. The collection of photographs and paper archives from the yachting and shipbuilding industry tell the tale of the high seas, yachting, and shipbuilding traditions in the area. The collection is situated inside a library which includes over 7,000 books and periodicals.

Museum Of Island History

The Museum of Island History explores the history of the Isle of Wight from the time of the dinosaurs to the present day. The museum contains touch screen computers, microscopes, hands on exhibits, quizzes, and games. It is a fun place to visit for the entire family.


Smuggling on the Isle of Wight

Smuggling became evident on the Isle of Wight probably due to high taxes and low incomes for the locals. So smuggling became a way of generating income whilst avoiding high taxes which also meant more profit for the smuggler. The Island was well known for its exports of wool and had significant trade in this area. Up until towards the end of the end of the 18th century the Isle of Wight was relatively lacking in defences against smuggling. This led to the Island being almost a smugglers paradise with its many landing points along its south coast. The numerous chines became the sights of a whole number of routes for smuggling on the Isle of Wight providing cover so the many smugglers were less likely to be caught.

For some time in certain areas of the Island the smugglers were almost unchallenged and had a roaring trade. The Isle of Wight was up until the end of the 13th century an independent principality and many of the islanders distrusted and despised rule from the mainlanders. Smuggling tales are widespread throughout the Island and many are well known to locals. It must be said however that the smugglers did not go unchallenged and the local preventive forces gradually became more and more effective at stopping the smugglers from carrying out their criminal activities.

Of all the smugglers havens on the Isle of Wight, Rookley is known for having been the smugglers capital of the Island. The main reason for this is that Rookley is located at the epicentre of the Island. On the south coast Chale was well known for being the home of the notorious smuggling clan the ‘Wheelers’ they lived in the infamous ‘Box cottage’. Bembridge was famous for its crossings to and from France.

Bembridge today is famous for its windmill which harks back to more historic times and was used by smugglers as a helpful landmark for approaching ships.

Niton was known and written of that almost its whole populace were smugglers with many posing as having normal respectable day jobs such as farmers and fishermen. However they did little farming and fishing but somehow still had plentiful amounts of cash to spend on whatever they so desired. However it was along the north coast of the Island that most of the confrontation between the smugglers and customs officials of the time took place. For a while the smugglers had little fear of the authorities and their reprisals.
This wasn’t to be forever and in September in the year of 1777 William Arnold took up the post of collector of customs based in Cowes. This was the start of the wind of change for smuggling on the Isle of Wight and gradually William gained more support in stamping out smuggling in this local area not to mention resources to do so.


Relax And Open Your Mind to The Eternal Universe…

When you first take your first few steps on the soil of the Isle of Wight, you will discover and be amazed by its beautiful natural flora and fauna. The second thing that astonishes your imagination will be that of its wonderful deluxe beaches, the blue waters and the wild countryisde.  We must all realise the Isle of Wight is famous for its golden sandy beaches, spectacular bays and rough cliffs, many attaining high standard of water quality and safety.

The Isle of Wight and the islanders themselves are all very hospitable. The island is ready to welcome holiday makers any time during the year.

The Isle of Wight is a fabulous opportunity to have a great holiday with the whole family whether you want to have an exciting activity or a calm one indulging in simple pastimes such as taking relaxing walks along the beaches and paths of the Island. You can be sure that your children will be busy with an abundance of entertainment and
amusement. The Isle of Wight has many things for children to get their teeth into such as the fabulous Tiger Zoo, many museums, playing crazy golf, bowling; ice skating to name but a few, they may also enjoy some of the many joyful and pleasurable times in theme parks.

If a person wants to meditate and look into his or her inner essence, there is a wonderful isolated place in Ventnor where it is possible to calm down your thoughts, think upon life fishing or collecting shells. It’s a time to relax and open your mind to the eternal universe…

The history of the island is rather appealing and cultured. Almost everybody knows that Osborne House was the favorite summer residence of Queen Victoria. However, there are so many more places of interest to visit. Carefully memories of the past for the future generations to see are dotted all over the Island. Why not explore Carisbrooke Castle or the famous Needles chalk cliffs or attend and pop over to Cowes annual regatta!

A vacation spent on the Isle of Wight will enlighten your soul and fill your mind with vivid memories and plenty of wonderful pictures. Having visited the island I can give you a really good piece of advice: if you do not want to miss any special detail of this natural beauty, explore this green island on foot and at a leisurely pace so as not to miss anything!
Believe me; you will gain a great satisfaction full of positive emotions!