Ventnor Heritage Centre

"To make the past present, to bring the distant near . . . to call up our ancestors before us with all their peculiarities of language, manners, and garb, to show us over their houses, to seat us at their tables, to rummage their old-fashioned ward-robes, to explain the uses of their ponderous furniture . . . " Thomas Babington Macaulay describing what the study of history can do (written in 1828)

Ventnor Heritage Centre

Ventnor Heritage Centre, with its museum and archive, records how the town grew from a tiny fishing hamlet in 1840 to a fashionable Victorian resort complete with two railway stations and a pier, and how the villages of Bonchurch and St Lawrence became a favourite destination for writers and artists including Dickens and Macaulay. We have an extensive collection of photographs and documents, and books, prints and postcards are available for sale in our shop.  We are open all year – see Visit us for opening times, location and admission charges.
Read more about the Heritage Centre.

From our archives

Your Stories: Ventnor Roller Skating Club and dances at the Winter Gardens

Win Salter was born in 1935 at Moorhills Farm in Whitwell where her father, Fred Salter,  had followed his father Charles as the farmer. The photo of her father Fred on his hunter, dressed as a hussar, is from the early 1920s and taken in Whitwell; he was on his way to be a Marshall at the Ventnor Carnival. When Win was three, the family moved from Moorhills to Stenbury Lodge in Whitwell, where they were living throughout the second world war.  Although she was only a child at that time, Win recalls that when Southampton was bombed you could see it alight from Stenbury.  There were soldiers billeted on the downs, and she remembers them coming to the house sometimes for meals.  Her father caught rabbits, and mother would make a huge rabbit stew, followed by apple pie, and the soldiers  would park their rifles in a big pile in the porch and come in for the feast; they brought sugar for her mother, and bits of chocolate for the children - and nylons for Win's elder sister.  When D Day finally came  the sky was black with planes, droning across all day long. The family moved again, this time to Sussex …Read more...