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"

Publications and Online Shop |

Publications and Online Shop

A wide range of our books and pamphlets on the history of Ventnor, the Undercliff and the surrounding villages are available for sale online. Please contact if you have any queries about publications. Orders placed online or by post will be sent out once a week, by Royal Mail, on Fridays.

Ordering and paying online: use the ‘Add to Cart’ button below any publication you want to order. Payment can be made by bank card or by using your PayPal account if you have one.

Ordering by post: send your order with your name, address, phone number or email and a cheque (or postal order) made out to VDLHS to: Publications, Ventnor Heritage Centre, 11 Spring Hill, Ventnor PO38 1PE.

Overseas orders: contact us direct for overseas prices and availability at

Ventnor and the Undercliff: in search of lost time  is our new book, to be published in September 2020. It is about recovering life-worlds and discovering livelihoods through photographs, and draws on images from the Society’s archive as well as some in private hands. The 180 or so black and white pictures span the years from 1860 to 1950 and are accompanied by extended captions together with short narrative texts, including many personal memories.

Published price will be £12.95 (£10 for Society members)

Pre-publication orders for Ventnor and the Undercliff are available at a discounted price of £10.00 (£9.00 for VDLHS members).
Click here for pre-publication offer details



Publications listed by title in alphabetical order

Carnival!  (Spiral Bound £5.20 including p&p):

The story of Ventnor Carnival from the early days through to the 1990s, and its place in the history of the town.


Castaways – Collectable Containers  by Stephen H Day   (£3.00 including p&p):

History of Bottle Collecting Ventnor including information on the history of local Chemists and Mineral Water Manufacturers of the Victorian/Edwardian period.


Conflict and Conflagration Ed. Violetta Vokes (Spiral Bound £5.20 including p&p):

Ventnor area in times of war, from the 16th century to the Second World War (incorporates material from previous  publications: The Ventnor Area at War 1939-1945,  Radar at Ventnor 1939-1945 , and Repairing the Ravages of War )

Here Layeth by Joan Gordon (£4 including p&p):

A record of the memorials and inscriptions at the Old Church of St Boniface in Bonchurch, regarded as being of Saxon origin, and still one of the most complete Norman buildings on the Isle of Wight.


Inns & Ale – Bonchurch to Chale by Vincent Chambers (£3 including p&p):

A trip around the Undercliff, listing the inns and describing their colourful history, and the history of the breweries – from the Star Inn Chale to the Blenheim and Walmer Castle in Ventnor.


The French Attack on Portsmouth 1545 by C T Witherby, Ed Violetta Vokes (Spiral Bound, £7 including p&p):

King Henry VIII  was  at war with France, the English fleet was hard pressed, and an attack was feared on Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.  This account describes the events of that summer, including the French landings at Sandown Bay, Bonchurch and Bembridge.


It used to be like this . . . by George R Haynes (Spiral Bound, £7 including p&p):

George R Haynes was born in 1906 in Beach Cottage, Castlehaven and lived there most of his life. He recorded  in fascinating detail the day to day life of the time saying I have written all that I thought should be recorded before it is completely forgotten, about things now totally gone.


Old Men Remember Edited by Vincent Chambers (Spiral Bound, £5.20 including post and packing):

These recollections  give a two-faceted picture of life in and around Ventnor in the 19th Century: Mark Norman was a working man who in a long life turned his hand to many things, while Henry Griffin was from a wealthy upper class family whose lifestyle was in stark contrast to Norman’s.

Paddling to Ventnor Pier by Graham Bennett (Spiral Bound, £5.20 including p&p):

The story of the resort’s pleasure steamers, those vessels which epitomise the Victorian and Edwardian seaside scene (incorporating earlier publications Steamers into Ventnor by Peter Bray and Dandie Dinmont).


RAF Ventnor – The Cold War Years by Don Adams (Spiral Bound, £5.20 inc. p&p):

An account of the history of RAF Ventnor, the information covering both human and technical aspect of the Cold War Days.


A Seaside Story by Graham Bennett (Spiral Bound, £5.20 inc. p&p):

An illustrated history of Ventnor harbour and piers from the first attempt to make a landing place in about 1843  to the demolition of the Royal Victoria Pier in 1993 (incorporating earlier publications The Harbours and Piers of Ventnor 1843 – 1988  and  Peeps at the Pier).


The Undercliff Isle of Wight by Michael Freeman (£13.80 including p&p):

A geographic history of the Undercliff, a narrow ribbon of uneven (and often unstable) tableland that extends for seven miles along the south-east coast of the Island. It is elevated some 100 to 200 feet above the sea and backed by near vertical scarp faces or steep downs. It is renowned for its micro-climate, especially in winter, once the resort of well-off Victorians.


Ventnor Breweries by Richard Downing (Spiral Bound, £5.20 including p&p):

A history of brewing in Ventnor, in particular the story of Burts Brewery in Ventnor High Street.


Ventnor Isle of Wight – The English Mediterranean by Michael Freeman (£13.80 including p&p):

Historical guide to Ventnor from its time as a tiny fishing hamlet in 1830, through its runaway transformation as a winter health resort in the Victorian era, to its later incarnation as primarily a summer holiday destination.


Victorians in Search of Winter Health by Michael Freeman (£14.30 including p&p):

This is the detailed story of how the tiny fishing hamlet of Ventnor was transformed into a winter resort that earned the title ‘Mayfair-by-the-sea’, such was the wealth of its many visitors and the fine shops and businesses that grew to service them. The book draws from the many hundreds of entries in the pages of the Times newspaper which, extraordinarily, provided Ventnor with its window to the world.


Wight Wildlife (A Beginner’s Guide) by Jim Knighton   (£3.00 including p&p):

As the title says, this is a beginner’s guide to the wildlife on the Isle of Wight and where to find it.


While I Breathe I Hope by Fay Brown (Spiral Bound £5.20 inc p&p):

A brief history of the Royal National Hospital, a Hospital for Consumption patients in Ventnor.


A Winter Sanatorium by Michael Freeman (Spiral Bound £5.20 inc p&p):

Ventnor as a health resort in the Victorian era.



Ventnor & the Undercliff / Ventnor No Finer Place (£12.00 including post & packing)

This historical Tour of Ventnor & the Undercliff explores the halcyon days of the Victorian and Edwardian era, with the help of the  photographic collection from the Ventnor Heritage Centre, before progressing to the 1920s & 1930s, and through to  the 1970s and 1980s. (Includes also ‘Ventnor – No finer Place’)


Society Local History Pamphlets (A4)


We have many pamphlets written over the years by Society members on specific topics. Titles include a wide range of subjects, such as Railways into Ventnor 1966-1966, Lowtherville Life, St Catherine’s Home and School Ventnor and Sinking of HMS Eurydice off Dunnose 1878.

For visitors to the Heritage Centre, a full list of titles is available at the sales desk, and copies can be printed to order.

Exhibitions, stories, images . . .

Exhibition: ‘Once upon a time there were trains’

Ventnor once had two railway stations. And for something like 100 years, trains were the primary means by which visitors arrived in the town. The main line came in via a long tunnel under St. Boniface Down. It linked the resort with Ryde and the towns along the east side of the Island. The second line came from Newport and Merstone, terminating at a station behind Steephill Castle. The photograph here is of a Beyer Peacock 2-4-0 tank loco on the turntable at Ventnor’s main station circa 1910.