Ventnor Heritage Centre

"To Collect, Record and preserve the rich heritage and history of Ventnor and surrounding villages, and share it with local and wider communities"

Local voices, local lives |

Local voices, local lives

Stories of ‘How it was then’ are always fascinating, as well as being valuable records of the past which need to be kept safe for future generations.

We would like to hear from anyone who has memories of growing up, living and working in the Ventnor area in the past.  We are particularly interested in memories of the hurricane of October 1987, when houses in Ventnor lost their roofs, families huddled together through the storm, and the Botanic Garden lost many of its trees.  We are also collecting stories of ‘Growing up in Lowtherville’.  But any memories of life as it was in this part of the Island are valuable and very welcome.

If you search this website for ‘Local voices’ you can see some of the stories that we have collected.

Please get in touch if you have memories you would be happy to share with us – ring us (01983 855407) or drop in to the Heritage Centre, or write to us, or send us an email (ventnorheritage@btconnect.com).

Or if you are  happy to write it all down, click here to fill in the online form.


Exhibitions, stories, images . . .

Paddle Steamers

In 1863 the PS (Paddle Steamer) Chancellor was wrecked attempting a landing a Ventnor Harbour pier, holed on the Lion Rock. In 1887 Southsea-Ventnor-Sandown  & Shanklin Steamboat Co started services, and in 1888: P S Dandie Dinmont , 'Ventnor's own steamer', was brought down from Scotland.  Despite a chequered career, including sinking in Portsmouth Harbour, she lasted until 1899. By 1900 there were many fine paddle steamers in Solent waters, and  most, if not all, called at Ventnor Pier, including Balmoral, Lorna Doone, and the Solent Queen. Between 1940 and 1945 many steamers had an heroic war. A lot were lost or returned in run down condition and had to be scrapped, and the 1960s saw the end of 'paddlers' although the PS Waverley can still be seen passing on her annual visits to the South coast.  

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