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"

The Museum |

The Museum

Museum interior

Here the Heritage Centre carries visitors back in time to explore Ventnor’s origins and the way it grew at phenomenal speed to become a premier Victorian resort town.

Our many display boards tell this story in words and pictures. There are finely detailed images from glass plate negatives that offer glimpses into vanished lives. There are reproductions of paintings from visiting artists of the time, fascinated as they were with the dramatic coastal scenery of Ventnor and the Undercliff and the people who came to visit. Other displays document the life-worlds of outlying villages in the earlier 20th Century, a time when horizons were limited and the pace of existence altogether different from today.

Current displays and exhibitions

Visitors will also see showcases of artefacts that recover lost material worlds. There are even models of the town’s vanished railway lines. We play several DVDs that offer voyages back in time. Finally, you can absorb our Victorian kitchen and laundry exhibits, telling of an age when household chores took on a scale that is difficult for many to appreciate today.


Exhibitions, stories, images . . .

Ventnor Carnivals

Ventnor’s first carnival in 1889 was a torchlight procession of ladies and gentlemen in fancy dress, followed by a Masquerade Ball. It was such a success that it became an annual event, attracting crowds of thousands. So each August, the town comes to a standstill to enjoy a parade of music and elaborate costumes with tableaux created by local groups and businesses, and a Carnival Queen chosen for the year and paraded round the town with her retainers. However there has always been another, more subversive side to 'Carnival’. Those taking part can step outside their day to day lives and turn the world upside down, dressing up, assuming different characters, and poking fun at established order and authority. It is a feast of dressing up, foolery, and music, perhaps best symbolised by the much loved Ventnor Comic Jazz Band. Our publication 'Ventnor Carnival', traces the colourful history of the event, and is available from the Heritage Centre and online from  Ventnor Heritage Centre Publications.

Sidebar