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

October 2017

October 2017
Carisbrooke Castle Museum and the IW Heritage Service have embarked on a major grant funded project to generate a renewed interest in Island history, by focusing attention on less well known Island achievers - the Hidden Heroes. The scheme is seeking the support and involvement of Island museums and heritage centres, with the aim of raising their profile and attracting more visitors.
   The theme of the project is to shine a light on the Island's unsung achievers: enterprising individuals whose contribution to past events have never been widely credited and largely ignored by local history. The project was given a pre-launch presentation to interested parties at the Quay Arts Centre last month. There are apparently a good number of hidden heroes to be revealed following the public launch and it seems likely more will come to light as a result of the publicity. Some examples may be well known within particular disciplines but relatively unknown to the general public.
  There is some confusion as to the criteria that determines a hidden hero. A few examples of hidden heroes were given at the Quay Arts Centre but they bizarrely included the prominent historical figures Isabella de Fortibus and Julia Margaret Cameron. The promotional material talks of  'famous' hidden heroes - a contradiction in terms. It's difficult to know quite what to expect.
  The underlying objective is to bring Island history to a wider local audience, with ambitious plans for the promotion and marketing of our past to sections of the community who might not normally be drawn in. The method is to target schools, business, heritage groups and the general public with a high powered, branded campaign. These are areas that council services have engaged with in the past but the new element is likely to be social media, which has yet to be exploited by the Island's heritage establishment.
   It will not be enough to merely generate lots of Facebook and general internet activity. The aim must be to get people away from their keyboards and making use of the Island's heritage facilities. A mobile app is probably on the cards.
  Below are a couple of our own suggested hidden heroes, deserving of wider local recognition.
Anthony Henday
An Island born fisherman and convicted smuggler who became an adventurer, ending up in Canada in the 1750s. There he was employed by the Hudson Bay Company as an explorer and given the task of probing the vast distances of the unknown Canadian west, where he became one of the first white men to encounter the native Indian tribes.
Peter Jackson
A cutting-edge electronics engineer who developed an advanced analogue computer at Saunders-Roe in the late 1940s, at the dawn of such technology. It was part of a range of electronic test sets associated with guided weapons and aircraft design, at a time when the company was developing jet powered flight. Sections of this unique computer still exist, now in private hands.