Local History Articles

Shopping in Ventnor in 1972 . . . under candlelight

Shopping in Ventnor one Friday morning in 1972…but under candlelight, by Michael Freeman. In 1972, during the miners’ strike electricity was rationed and shops and businesses operated in darkness, and the Isle of Wight Mercury writer, Stanley Cotton, wrote an article entitled Ventnor under Candlelight. The article includes photos of Field’s and Nigh’s shops and… read more »

March’s Bakery, Ventnor

March’s Bakery, Ventnor, by Colin Beavis The article describes the bakery business of Clement Harry March, always known just as Harry March.  It includes photos of the old bakehouse in Down Lane, the front of Harry’s  shop and café in Church Street, and an advertisement from the Isle of Wight Mercury – Harry had shops… read more »

One hundred years of Smugglers Haven

One hundred years of Smugglers Haven, by Colin Beavis The landslip on 10 Dec 2023 had an enormous effect on property, especially the Smugglers Haven Tea Gardens. The article includes a photo showing the area as it was in the 1920s, while a second one shows the extent of the 2023 landslide. PDF of article… read more »

Church Hill, Ventnor, 1862

Church Hill, Ventnor, 1862 by Michael Freeman This 1862 engraving reveals a town in transition, depicting an amalgam of low thatched cottages and farm tracks on the one hand, and tall modern buildings and paved walkways on the other. The Vectis stage-coach still rules, its proprietor, Sydney Robinson, living at Vectis House opposite the church…. read more »

A Time Traveller in Ventnor

A Time Traveller in Ventnor by Michael Freeman William Mew Judd gave a series of lectures in 1905 about Ventnor and the Undercliff in the 1830s. He talked of the Crab Inn, Chickenpit, Ventnor Farm, St. Catherine’s Church and it’s majestic Clerk, John Wheeler. Thoroughfares were then mostly muddy tracks with streams coursing alongside. Article… read more »

Ventnor under a blanket of snow and ice

Ventnor under a blanket of snow and ice: 18 January 1985, by Michael Freeman. The second week of January 1985 saw Ventnor experience snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures. Roads became ice-rinks and vehicle accidents followed. When the thaw came the week after, burst pipes wrecked a number of properties, including the Westfield Holiday Centre. PDF… read more »

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel Lowtherville by Colin Beavis

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in Lowtherville was the first place of worship in the growing settlement, opening in 1882. A Sunday school room was added in 1895, eventually become a key social centre for Lowtherville. The chapel and school room were closed in the 1960s and demolished for development. Read article here as PDF The… read more »

Christmas 1913 in Ventnor

Christmas 1913 in Ventnor by Michael Freeman. There was entertainment all round in Ventnor that December according to The Mercury newspaper. Films at the Electric Picture Palace on High Street. More films at the Hippodrome on the Esplanade, where the youngsters could also roller skate. Then, on Evening of 22nd December, there were illuminations and… read more »

Southern Television is Broadcast to Ventnor

Southern Television is Broadcast to Ventnor,  by Michael Freeman. ITV’s Southern Television started broadcasting to the South of England on the evening of 30 Aug 1958, and the article highlights some of the shows viewers enjoyed over the years included The Army Game, Cheyenne, Take Your Pick, and children’s programmes like Noddy.  Popular performers including… read more »

Ventnor Quarry, site of the town’s first railway station

Ventnor Quarry, site of the town’s first railway station. By Michael Freeman.  The article includes contemporary photographs of the entrance to the new railway tunnel through St Boniface Down, and of the the station site with construction underway (shown here). PDF of the article available to read here:  Ventnor Quarry, site of the town’s first… read more »