Ventnor’s Pier in the later 1950s

Ventnor’s Pier in the later 1950s: Ventnor’s pier was restored and refurbished in the early 1950s in a style that took inspiration from the 1951 Festival of Britain. Pleasure steamers once again began calling at the pier in the holiday season, with the new pierhead buildings including an avant garde ‘Calypso’ coffee bar as well as… read more »

The Enterprise Motor Launch

The Enterprise Motor Launch:  The Enterprise motor launch was the largest hand-crafted wooden boat constructed by local longshoremen. It was the work of Jim Blake and Viv Spencer, first taking to the water in the 1964 season. For ten years, it carried visitors along the Undercliff coast, as well as acting as a back-up rescue… read more »

Olivia Exhibition at Ventnor Heritage Centre

Olivia: Portrait of a Life Olivia Parkes (1881-1962) was born in Walsall in the Midlands, but for many years lived a solitary life in a wooden hut in Myrtle Bay in Ventnor, where local people referred to her as ‘Britannia’.Her Her has been a constant source of fascination to local people and visitors, and this… read more »

Ventnor and D-Day – 80th Anniversary Exhibition and Book

To mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Normandy Landings we have a special exhibition which concentrates on the experience of the  Island and Ventnor and the surrounding district in particular. The exhibition features the the log book from the St Boniface Down (Ventnor) Radar Station for the month of June 1944, and we… read more »

Ventnor’s Department Store

Ventnor’s Department Store: Sharpe’s department store in Ventnor High Street was founded in 1893 and continued to trade right up to 1982, by which time it occupied three sets of premises on Ventnor High Street, all extending over two floors, and a photograph shows staff posing for a photographer on the day of the Coronation… read more »

The Rugen, Park Avenue, Ventnor

The Rugen, Park Avenue, Ventnor  by Michael Freeman. ‘Park View’, the rather grand late-Victorian house that stands at the western end of Park Avenue in Ventnor, is familiar to many older residents as the building that was used to teach the children from Albert Street School during the 1939-45 war. It was built about 1890… read more »

New Publication: ‘Oh Day of Days!’

Our new publication, ‘Oh Day of Days!’ has been produced to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in June 1944, and is available in the Heritage Centre (price £4.50), and from our online shop (price £6.50 including postage and packing).  Along with a new exhibition, which will be available in the Heritage Centre… read more »

The Central Kitchen

The Central Kitchen, by Colin Beavis The Central Kitchen was built at the top of Lowtherville Road in Upper Ventnor in 1946. It adjoined St. Margaret’s School. A small army of cooks and support staff provided 500 meals a day to local schoolchildren. In the 1990s, the building was converted for community use as St. Margaret’s… read more »

Ventnor Beach by Wickenden & Co

Ventnor Beach by Wickenden & Co, by Michael Freeman A fine picture of Ventnor beach from the 1920s tells the story of how fast social proprieties over bathing were changing. While many of the wheeled bathing machines remain, a few have been converted to stationary huts and there are some new changing tents for bathers…. read more »

Wickenden & Co Photographers Ventnor

Wickenden & Co Photographers Ventnor, by Michael Freeman Robert Wickenden was a photographer and post-card seller who first opened a shop in Ventnor in 1901. He specialised in outdoor photography, as seen in many of his post-cards. By 1910, he was established in both High Street and Pier Street, with the firm remaining at 31… read more »