East Cowes Heritage Centre

East Cowes Heritage Centre: Address, Phone Number, East Cowes Heritage Centre Reviews: 5/5

East Cowes Heritage Centre
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16 reviews
Very good

Michael at Bragbury End.
Hertfordshire, UK116 contributions
Full of information
Sep 2020
East Cowes Heritage Centre. Full of information about East Cowes and the Isle of Wight. Very helpful volunteers.
Written September 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Bridgnorth, UK337 contributions
A quick visit to the Heritage Centre
Oct 2019
Unfortunately we arrived at 11.00 am and sadly had to vacate the premises at 12.30 pm as the centre closed completely for the weekend. It was interested to read of the local history which included the shipwrecks along the coast and the smuggling which took place. There were many photographs of beach scenes and the bathing huts. It's worth a visit.
Written October 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dr John
Reading, UK7 contributions
Quirky place, helpful staff
Aug 2018 • Couples
The temporary exhibition was small but interesting. It's primarily an archive for researchers - but selling loads of local-interest books and a few post cartds. The staff are very knowledgeable about the IoW and can assist with buses and best ways around the Island.
Written September 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Emsworth, UK729 contributions
Aug 2018 • Solo
East Cowes is a quiet place compared with its more affluent neighbour, West Cowes. However it does have a history which is celebrated in this modest one room gallery. The displays are mainly photos, drawings and maps. If you are a local resident then it probably is of some interest but I did not feel that I really learnt much.

It needs investment in some professionally produced display panels. I often think these very local museums are there more for the benefit of the volunteers.
Written August 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Maggie N
Ventnor, UK130 contributions
From Grand Houses to Shipbuilding Innovation, East Cowes History is Amazing
Jul 2018 • Solo
This small museum in East Cowes town centre was established, is funded and entirely run by volunteers. Not only are the permanent displays very well presented, but there are also temporary displays to commemorate anniversaries, such as the current Seventy Years of the NHS and Ordinary People of East Cowes (who achieved extraordinary things). The archives are also impressive, a compilation of books, documents, maps, charts, photographs, engravings and newspaper articles about the town's events, buildings, businesses, families, etc. Whether you want to research your family tree or learn more about the history of this extraordinary small town, I would highly recommend a visit. The main displays are of interest to both local people and holiday visitors. The centre is open every morning except Sundays, from 10 to 1, and also on Wednesday afternoons from 1 to 4. It is closed throughout January.

The highlights for me are the permanent displays that tell the story of the town over the past two hundred years. They focus on the two most significant aspects of East Cowes history: its grand houses and its highly innovative shipbuilding industries. Unfortunately, these appear to have been incompatible, as I read in the concise text that an ambitious scheme to create a botanical garden in the town centre, surrounded by grand houses, each in an individual style, failed to attract enough wealthy buyers, even though Queen Victoria purchased several of the properties, including well-known Albert Cottage, that are still there today. The proximity of the expanding shipbuilding yards with all their noise and hundreds of labourers may well have been the reason why. The upside of this was that this exclusive area was soon taken over by housing development for the ordinary working people.

Displays on grand houses focus on East Cowes Castle, designed by the famous Regency architect John Nash for his own private home; Norris Castle, high above the town with fine views over the Solent, built in a pseudo Norman style at the end of the eighteenth century; and Osborne House, designed by Prince Albert as a family home for Queen Victoria and their many children.

One display on ship building focuses on the nineteenth century shipyard owned and managed by Thomas White and his sons and grandsons, who expanded an already successful business in warships and fast crafts with new ideas. During the two world wars, they built destroyers, while in peacetime they produced merchant vessels. This provided employment for the men of East Cowes until 1965, when the yard closed down.

A second display features the other great shipyard at East Cowes, Saunders-Roe, founded by Sam Saunders who had already specialised in building fast launches on the Upper Thames, and now began putting petrol engines in them. He developed a very strong but lightweight material to make speedboats, then built the world's first successful seaplane. In wartime the yard built many aircraft, in peacetime speedboats and yachts, including Bluebird, the famous speedboat that set a new world water speed record in the 1930s. The hovercraft was invented and developed here in the 1950s, and so were Britain's first satellite-carrying rockets that were tested in great secrecy, on the Island's far west peninsula, The Needles.

The heritage centre acts as a tourist information point, and it sells a variety of books and booklets about East Cowes and the Isle of Wight. If you have any questions, the best people to ask are Sarah and David Burdett, who have devoted many years to studying local history and building up the impressive collections. I was a little disappointed that at my last visit the volunteers could not answer some of my questions, and they closed the museum over an hour early, but volunteers are hard to come by, and I am grateful that they keep the centre running. Entry is free of charge.
Written July 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Whippingham, UK55 contributions
Really informative
Feb 2018 • Couples
Popped in here on a cold day to check out information on the area. The two ladies in there are a fountain of knowledge, there asked where we lived and were able to find out information on how it got the street name and the origins of the name. It is a really interesting find, we left there an hour later with more background knowledge on where we now live. A must for people that care about the area they live or just want more information about the area they live.
Written June 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

East Cowes, UK28 contributions
Instant information from a living museum
Oct 2017 • Solo
Just a little shop which has been lovingly transformed into a living museum. The windows are crammed with interesting information on subjects which change from month to month. As soon as you open the door to enter you are greeted by a welcoming volunteer who asks how they may help you find out something particular about the town of East Cowes or you just want to browse their wide range of projects. If further detail is needed another research appears from the back office to assist you find your way through the plethora of data available.
Written November 6, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

56 contributions
Jul 2017 • Couples
Have been meaning to pop in and have a look round before and I'm so glad I did. What an amazing place!! It's packed full of information on everything you could wish to learn about east cowes. There is so much to see and look at that it would certainly take numerous visits to see it all. Really can't recommend this place enough for anyone interested in anything particular to east cowes or just in east cowes in general. The people who run it are all cheerful and friendly and have a wealth of knowledge themselves. I will be making many more return visits.
Written October 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom58 contributions
A nortical adventure awaits
Jun 2017
A really nice relaxed stroll round with something of interest to us all if not the same thing?? My Dad was in the Navy WW2 and my Grandfather in the Marines WW1 so I was enthralled at the sea bearing media worth a trip but not if it's not likely to float your boat!?
Written July 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Newport, UK121 contributions
Family history search
Apr 2017 • Solo
Lots of local information that has increased over the years. I started my family history using some of the information they held. They now have a name index which is helpful. Run by volunteers who themselves are worth a chat to and only open in the mornings.
Written April 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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