Isle of Wight History Centre
The first port of call for online Island history
Isle of Wight History Centre is a comprehensive resource for news and links to the Island's past, from prehistory to recent times, including new discoveries and established work.
On this page . . .
Our regular monthly publication of selected items from the council's heritage collection is now concluded and the page contains over 40 items, most of which rarely find their way into public exhibitions. The page is here
Our series of extracts from the Isle of Wight Historic Environment Record included nearly 300 sites. They are archived here
Heritage Statements are raised as part of the planning process. They can sometimes involve comprehensive research and/or archaeological evaluation. Unfortunately they frequently only exist imbedded in online planning records. We have created links to a selection of statements here
Monthly News Item
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The National Archives
The major national resource now offers comprehensive online facilities. Over 11 million documents are referenced and can be searched via keywords. Copies of documents can be ordered online
A list of books and maps in print, complete with some reviews. A page from the Isle of Wight Nostalgia site, a useful source for recent history
Medieval Resource Assessment
An extensive record of archaeological reports, published history, research documents and existing structures. A summary of Medieval Wight
Britain From Above
The first batch of photos from the huge Aerofilms archive have now been posted, including those of the Island. This site should provide a useful record of post WW1 developments.
The Isle of Wight in Google Books
A growing number books and journals can be accessed. Here are links to a list of historic IW books which are available for full viewing.
Carisbrooke Castle Museum
A comprehensive local history library and a large collection of artefacts available for research. They also offer museum study days and teaching resources
A comprehensive starting point for local Family History enquiries, covering a range of occupations, together with some more general features
A detailed survey of archaeological resources and what they tell us about Roman activity on the Island
Military HEAP Type Report
From the Archaeology Service, covering personnel, equipment and the physical area occupied by armed forces during human occupation of the Island.
Enter wight in the quick search for details of WWII bombing raids on the Island. The details are limited. You need to pay to register for full access to a considerable range of digitised wartime documents.
The Yarmouth Archives
A comprehensive list of historical documents and artefacts held by Yarmouth Town Trust.
Pathe News Archive
A treat for students of modern history. Download free film clips from the entire Pathe archive, dating from the 1920s. A search on 'wight' has over 170 hits. Read FAQ's before embarking on the download process
Browse or search the text in a range of trade directories dating from the 18th century. Select Hampshire location for IW entries.
East Cowes Heritage Centre
In addition to regular exhibitions, this centre now has a considerable archive, particularly covering local industrial and municipal developments
Maritime Vectis in the Pre-Roman Age
A detailed analysis and interpretation of evidence for the Island's cross-Channel pre-Roman trading, providing a comprehensive guide to Iron Age sites.
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IW Historic Postcards
An excellent record of much that is lost, including railways and piers, plus outline histories of West Wight towns and the story of Cowes Customs
Click on 'Island History' and select the type of features you're interested in to see them located on a map, with access to further information.
The Island's past on YouTube
A growing number of You Tube movies are on subjects pertaining to the Island's past. A selection are listed here
BBC h2g2 Pages on the Isle of Wight
This page opens with details of IW shipwrecks. From here there are links to pages on various Island subjects including a comprehensive survey of Anglo-Saxon Wight plus reviews of piers, hovercraft and more. This site is worth a revisit as it continues to gain subjects
Isle of Wight Photographs
Search for Isle of Wight to bring up hundreds of Island photographs from the 1870s to 1960s, covering over 30 locations
British History Online
An extensive history for each of the Island's towns and villages; covering manors, churches and other features. Complete with source references.
Excellent introduction to archaeological periods and significant local features
IW Towns and Parishes
A family history site which includes a history of each parish, concentrating on churches and their associated clergy and patrons.
Images of England from English Heritage
An illustrated database of listed buildings. Select IW County to see local items. Note the Quick search limits selection. Register (free) for Advanced to gain full access
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Wight Air Crashes
The results of a major research project identifying air crashes in and around the Island from 1913 onward
The story of one of the Island's most historic towns and its surviving features
Naval Ships of J S White
A list of naval ships built by J S White from 1914. Includes full size photo and various details of each ship
Paddle Steamer 'Ryde'
The story of the paddle steamer rusting away at Island Harbour, now to be dismantled
New website for the society, with features and galleries covering Cowes and the surrounding area.
Historic Ryde Society
Formed to raise funds for a permanent visitor centre. The website contains forthcoming events, articles and galleries.
The Island's Walled Kitchen Gardens
Results of the survey carried out by the IW Gardens Trust. Includes background, history, distribution maps and details of each location. (PDF file)
The Rowlandson Collection
Images of the council's collection of paintings by Thomas Rowlandson and others, capturing Island life in the 1790s
A highly detailed account of the numerous people and places involved in Niton's extensive smuggling past.
Island Sea Forts
Location map of Island forts together with a brief history of coastal defences
Red Funnel History
A comprehensive history of the company and cross solent travel from 1820, including details of the vessels
The Mary Rose
The history and current preservation of the Solent's most famous ship, from the official site
Isle of Wight Aviation
An outline history of the Island's airfields, aircraft and manufacturers, dating from the First World War
Historic Island Art at the Tate
The Tate collection has numerous Island paintings and sketches, including many by Turner. Enter wight in the search box.
Ryde Social Heritage Group
Previously concentrating on Ryde cemetery, this site is now extended to cover the town's social history
More about dinosaurs. The history of Island palaeontology, with links to fossil details and local geology
Postcard photos covering dozens of ferries, from the 1880s to the present day
Details and some pictures of prehistoric monuments. Opens at page giving guidelines for care when visiting. Enter 'wight' in search box at top left for Island locations
Palaeolithic Priory Bay
All too brief report on one of the nations richest palaeolithic sites, recovering over a thousand flint artefacts.
Covering all aspects of the RAF's presence, including a comprehensive explanation of the main radar station and its system
Vision of IW Through Time
Search for wight and select various options including statistics showing two centuries of change in various social categories.
Classic Boat Museum
Website of the Newport museum, including details of their collection and archive facilities.
Vectis Cement Works
A page on the Medina Cement Works from a website covering nationwide cement operations
The story of dinosaur discoveries in general and on the Island in particular. What they were and where they can be found locally
Professor 'Earthquake' Milne
The Shide scientist who fathered seismology. Honoured by the Japanese, but for many years, all but unknown here. (UPDATED)
Past Ordnance Survey Maps
This site now includes maps covering 19th and 20th cent. Search for a particular town or click on 'GAZ' to use the gazetteer
Brading Roman Villa
Future plans and appeals for preserving the Island's premier villa plus archaeological background and the history of its discovery
Dinosaurs, fossils and much more. A comprehensive site centred around the dinosaur museum at Sandown.
The Wanton Worsleys
Full transcript of the sensational 1782 adultery trial that exposed her Ladyship's promiscuity and Sir Richard's shame (temporarily unavailable)
Full text of the book. The story of smuggling stripped of its mythology. Select 'Southern England' for IW section.
George Brannon's Vectis Scenery
Complete text and engravings of Brannon's famous 1848 publication. High resolution versions of the pictures on separate page
The Needles Battery
The full story of the old and new batteries, plus the rocket site. Includes photo gallery
Wootton Bridge Historical
A very comprehensive site, covering every historical aspect of Wootton and the surrounding district.
A review and photographic record of many of the Island's village pumps.
The 1775 John Andrews Map
Second edition of one of the Island's most important maps. It can be fully enlarged to show detailed topography.
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The Alum in Alum Bay
Investigation into the obscure 17th cent alum working from which Alum Bay takes its name
A background to the archaeological importance of Newtown plus an insight into its medieval layout
Isle of Wight Fulling Mills
The history and location of Island fulling mills plus a review of the fulling process and its place in the wool industry
Isle of Wight Rocket Man
John Dennett of Carisbrooke was at the forefront of rocket development from the 1820s. Designed, tested and manufactured on the Island
Science Sex and Suicide
A 17th century saga involving the Scientist, the Grocer, the Governor and Grace. Events surrounding Robert Hooke.
From East Cowes to St Petersburg
An Island contribution to a site on Russian shipbuilding history. The story of Joseph Noy, an Island shipbuilder who became a key naval architect to Peter the Great
A Database of Island Photographers
This site is the result of considerable research, providing many photos and biographies of trading photographers over the period 1860-1940
IW Furniture Makers
Extensive research shows the Island had many 18/19th century cabinet and chair makers, but what became of their products?
Newport's Tide Mill
The location of Newport's early 18th century tide mill, together with the history of its surroundings
Isle of Wight Brickmaking History
An extract from the wealth of data now available on past brickmakers. Includes site location map, brickmaking methods and local brickwork (updated)
The 'Time Team' Yaverland Excavations
Channel 4's web coverage of the TV dig. Scroll down to episode 12. An important Island site, with evidence of Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman and Saxon settlement.
Portable Antiquities Scheme
Important finds of metal detectorists are recorded in this national site. Select IW county to raise details of local finds.
Calbourne Roller Mill
The story of one of the Island's most important pieces of industrial archaeology. Updated: now includes a movie explaining the roller mill
The Minor Defences of Yarmouth
There were probably a considerable number of minor redoubts supplementing our known forts. This research locates and explains a 'lunette' fortification at Yarmouth
Historic Environment Action Plan
Scroll down the page for links to an introduction and detailed assessmant of each area. The council are inviting comments on planning considerations arising out of the project
PLUTO Pump-houses at Shanklin
A comprehensive survey of the pump-houses that were located at Shanklin, with technical details illustrating this feat of wartime engineering.
The Hidden Heroes project is now well underway. This page links to the story of each individual as they are included.
The King's Highway
A comprehensive survey of how the Island's 19th century Highway Commissioners established the toll gates that shaped our roads.
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-Unusual kiln discovered -Iron Age Vineyards at Mersley ? -Ice House Uncovered -Archaeological Coastal Audit
-Sherd of Roman flagon found
-New historical organisation -Mysterious skeleton found
- WW1 Pacifist Graffiti
-Brading Amphora Identified -Fort Victoria Searchlight
-Limekiln industry at Brading
-Internet research traces shipbuilder -Chillerton Iron Age rampart
-Forthcoming Iron Age archaeology
-Underground chamber at Shanklin -Ryde inventor of the tin opener
-Robert Hooke portrait controversy
-Heritage plan for Osborne Stables -Carisbrooke Roman Villa
-Unofficial site of Roman Occupation
-John Speed's dotted line -Cowes hammerhead crane
-The Halsgrove history series
-Mottistone limekiln -East Cowes archaeology
-17th century low income housing
-Local History Month -Parkhurst Forest water features
-Hammerhead crane trust
-Cowes 17th cent glassworks -Mottistone limekiln renovation
-Inexplicable military structures
-The local list project -Carisbrooke leper hospital
-Charles I and the maid
-Isle of Wight Heritage Centre -Medina valley geophysical survey
-Newport's paraffin pump
-Sandown spy documents: part 2 -Carbon dating of coastal features
-Newport's medieval boundary
-Heritage Review postponed -Town Museum for Ryde
-Decisions on Whippingham School
-Saxons at Wellow -Unexplained building at Newtown
-Guide to maritime archaeology
-Georgian sketchbook -Archaeological ambivalence
-The Heritage Service Review -Motkin Boundary gets a date -13th century Medina timbers
-The Wootton-Quarr project -Heritage Service cuts -The future of Yaverland Battery
-Council reconsider guildhall project -Progress on crane repairs -Brading Villa prehistory
-Arreton's Gore Cross archaeology -Conference on Island Heritage -Council assets at risk
-The white sand trade -The Asda site and Neanderthals -The Local List reorganised
-Museum for J.S. White's shipyard -Budget cuts to the Heritage Service -Flowers Brook archaeology
-Hammerhead crane progress -Flowers Brook archaeology -The Stenbury Manor collection
-WWII raid at St Lawrence? -Lidar technology in archaeology -Ravens return to the crane
-Bouldnor's mesolithic archaeology -Enclosure on Tennyson Down -The Marine Antiquities Scheme
-J S White events -PLUTO and the Grand Hotel -Changes in industrial archaeology
-Hammerhead crane repairs -Robin Hill archaeology -The Sandown pavilion dispute
-Cowes shipbuilding museum -Dodnor cement kilns -Newport Power Station and planning
-Historic England scandal at Sandown -Cement kiln Open Day at Dodnor -The Hidden Heroes project
-Dodnor archaeology report published -Last chance for Pan archaeology -Conserving Roman mosaics
-A proposed Newport heritage centre -The future of Cowes Medina Yard -Renovation of St Cross Mill
-The record office merry-go-round -Medina Yard development -Carisbrooke planning application
-Recording WW1 shipwrecks -Heritage venues post-lockdown -Regenerating high streets
-The mysterious lookout -Local motorcycle connections -Archaeology at Golden Hill Fort
-Romano-British site at Gunville
-The changing high streets -The Island gets a new museum
-Yet another Newport Guildhall review
-Gov minister and the Grade II listing -Golden Hill Fort reports
-Old Island map recovered -Bronze Age hurdle at Ryde -Neolithic stone axe found
-Bronze Age burial mound found -New discoveries of ''Vectis Ware' -Island alum history challenged
-Our New County Archaeologist -Earliest record of shipbuilding -Prehistoric hearths
-Isle of Wight Doughnuts -Recent Intertidal Archaeology -Earliest Island paintings
-Yaverland Discoveries Revisited -Needles mythology questioned -Island son Robert Hooke
-Industrial heritage demolished -WW2 German landing on IW -The face of Robert Hooke?
-Early gas generator -Farm feature uncovered -Medina Cement site cleared
-Council cuts in historical facilities -Alverstone causeways -Locating the little forts
-Early parish register discovered -County Archaeology Service budget -Cellar complex discovered
-Reorganisation of Heritage Services -Military map revealed -Medina Valley archaeological survey
-IW Timeline film -Subterranean structures -Engine at Priory Bay
-Post alignment on Seaview sands -18th century raid on Sandown Fort -The Historic Environment Record
-The Island's only heliochronometer? -Missing file on the Sandown spy -The vanishing cement kiln
-High-tech community archaeology -East Cowes motor manufacturing -Whippingham conservation
-Hammerhead crane at risk -Hillis brick kiln listed -Derivation of 'Wight'
-Major Newport archaeology -Powerless to save power houses -The skeleton key
-A lesson in industrial conservation -The hulk of the 'Bee' -The truth about the crane
-Unique barn at Brading -Iron Age site at Northwood -Portable Antiquities Scheme
-Movie of our industrial past -Reassessment of a Stone Age tool -Pan finally delivers archaeology
-Saxon helmet revealed -World War II Y-station at Ventnor -Kids field walking project
October-December 2013 -The county archive crisis -The Heritage Strategic Framework -Why Little London was so named
April-June 2014 -Walled kitchen gardens -Reflecting on Rowlandson -The County Press Archive
October-December 2014 -Hammerhead crane progress -More council cuts to heritage? -Industrial archaeology rescued
April-June 2015 -Cist burial at Freshwater -The future of Island museums -Locating East Cowes Castle
October-December 2015 -Brick museum to be re-established -Ventnor Y-station Grade II listed -Confidential collections
April-June 2016 -Historic timbers at Fishbourne -The forgotten wrecks of WWI -The Medina Yard development
October-December 2016 -Smuggling clothes out of Cowes -Archaeology Service relocated -Browns pavilion not a PLUTO site
April-June 2017 -The future of Newport Harbour -Archaeological sites discovered -Renovation of St Cross Mill
October-December 2017 -The Hidden Heroes project -The location of portable antiquities -A site for the new Record Office?
April-June 2018 -Future of the crane secured -Archaeology and planning -Community archaeology
October-December 2018 -Geophysics survey at Arreton -Rural community terrorised -A new County Record Office?
April-June 2019 -Sandown Grade II listing destroyed -Mystery items -Newport's harbour walls
October-December 2019 -Archaeology discoveries at Bouldnor -The overgrown Dodnor cement kilns -Freshwater's vanishing oddities
April-June 2020 -Coronavirus and heritage venues -Newport Harbour Masterplan -Suppressed record office proposal
October-December 2020 -Crowd funding to support a myth -The reopening of heritage venues -How to beat the planning process
April-June 2021 -How did so many get it so wrong? -Changes to planning guidelines -The reopening of heritage centres
October-December 2021 -Protracted Medina Yard planning
-The missing Roman Villa -Dodor cement kiln application
April-June 2022 -Heritage Service meets Facebook
-Puckpool's heritage -Ventnor's WWII Y-station
October-December 2022 -Ministry withholding documents
-New Medina Yard ownership -Struggling heritage venues
Hopefully the links on this page, or email contacts therein, can answer any specific question you may have on Island history. If all else fails, email us at Queries or comments welcome. email@example.com
The Isle of Wight History Centre was established in 1999. This page is updated on the 1st of the month.