to Isle of Wight History Centre Archive of Monthly News Items
As previously featured in the History Centre

July 2019


July 2019
WILL NEWPORT FINALLY GET ITS OWN HERITAGE CENTRE?
Almost every major Island town has a heritage centre, developed and run by dedicated volunteers. It is something of an anomaly that the Island's capital has never enjoyed such a facility. Now a group of Newport's historians are looking at the possibility of creating just such an attraction.
   Newport has a more diverse and influential past than any other Island town. It has been subject to intense research by local historians for generations, so there is a considerably body of archive material and artefacts, much of which has never been available to the general public. Some of the historians who have accumulated much of this material are only too keen to find a way of making it accessible. It is they who are now seeking to establish a Newport Heritage Centre.
  As many heritage centre operators know, it takes a great deal of dedication and time to establish the attraction. There is also the question of premises. In some circumstances premises can be donated but they are generally difficult to acquire without funds. Heritage Lottery funding may well be necessary to get up and running.
  The council's museum service have already offered their support and advice. They liaise with local heritage centres, giving guidance on the storage and presentation of materials, and helping with promotions. Once a centre is established and meets the necessary security levels, the council can loan artefacts from its own collection.
  Local heritage centres fulfil a slightly different function from that of the Island's major museums, in that they probably rely less on tourism and more on local interest. Indeed their archives generally expand as a result of locals contributing from their own knowledge and private collections. If the centre's proponents can provide the energy to get it going, Newport's rich history and substantial population should insure it develops into a highly successful focal point for exploring the town's heritage.


EC Heritage Centre
One of the Island's longest running heritage centres is at East Cowes. It is a fine example of the facilities such centres can provide, with a museum, extensive archives, knowledgeable staff and regularly changing displays.