Rene Howe: one among Ventnor’s finest

Rene Howe: one among Ventnor’s finest. By Michael Freeman. The recently reopened Rene Howe Walk outside the entrance to the Winter Gardens down by the Cascade to the Haven and Esplanade was named after Rene,  a teacher at Ventnor Junior School for some 30 years, and remembered by two generations of Ventnor children. PDF of… read more »

Dorcas Barnett

Dorcas Barnett by Colin Beavis. Dorcas Barnett will always be remembered as a key driving force behind Ventnor’s successful carnivals in the 1970s and 1980s. But she will also be familiar from Barnet’s Pork Butchers on Ventnor High Street, where she took the money at a tiny ticket window at the rear of the shop… read more »

Standpipes in Lowtherville, February 1963

Standpipes in Lowtherville, February 1963, by Colin Beavis The winter of the early months of 1963 was one of the coldest on record. In Lowtherville, some residents of older homes faced almost permanently frozen water pipes and had to queue regularly at standpipes in the road to obtain water. Read PDF version of the article… read more »

Beach Hotel Soda Fountain

Beach Hotel Soda Fountain by Michael Freeman. The soda fountain was an American invention of the early 20th Century that was introduced to Britain from the 1920s. Ventnor’s Beach Hotel became part of the Southern Hotels Group at that time (along with the Metropole) and its seafront cafe was soon offering American style soda drinks… read more »

St Boniface Villa or Hotel

St Boniface Villa or Hotel. By Michael Freeman. St. Boniface Villa was one of Ventnor’s earliest buildings, imitating an Italian style. It was a hotel until 1859, but then became the residence of the Revd. John Roper and his two sisters. By 1888, it had been turned into a rest home for London cabmen. Then… read more »

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 »

Society Meeting: Friday 23rd February 2024

At our meeting on Friday 23 Feb 2024  Alan Clark will be our speaker, with a talk on The Island’s Unstable Coast – a very topical subject! The meeting will be at Yarborough Masonic Hall Grove Road, Ventnor 7:30 – 9:00 pm, 26th January 2024 All Welcome Admission: Free for VDLHS members £2 for non-members… 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 »