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 Monthly Meetings |

Ventnor Heritage Centre Monthly Meetings

 When the Ventnor & District Local History Society was first established in the early 1980s it began by giving a variety of talks on Ventnor and the Undercliff. Today the society continues to give local history talks at the popular monthly meetings, which take place on the last Friday of the month except for August and December.

The speakers cover a wide range of topics and focus on the history of Ventnor, surrounding area and the Isle of Wight. Meetings are very well attended and are held at the Masonic Hall in Grove Road, Ventnor, starting at 7.30 pm.  Entry is free to members of the Society,  visitors are very welcome, entrance is £2.00


Upcoming Meetings for 2018:

13th April – Ventnor & District Local History Society, Annual General Meeting

27th April – ‘A Victorian Tour of the Isle of Wight’ By Bob Longton

25th May – ‘Lowtherville 1878 – 2018’ By Colin Beavis

29th June – ‘An Island Legacy’ By Kenneth Hicks

27th July – ‘A Victorian Boarding House & Renovation’ By Jonathan Collins

August – No Meeting

28th September – ‘Further Extracts from a Naturalist’s Journal’ By Andy Butler

26th October – ‘Isle of Wight Chapels’ By Len Pullinger

30th November – ‘Curiosities of the Isle of Wight No 2, Fact, Fiction or Fantasy’ By Mark Earp

December – No Meeting


Recent speakers include:

Professor Robin McInnes – ‘British Coastal Art’

Richard Smout – ‘The History of Island Elections’

Michael Freeman – ‘Mayfair by the Sea or Ventnor As You Never Saw It’

Colin Beavis – ‘History of Ventnor Bowling Club’

Jonathan Collins – ‘Researching British Soldiers of The Great War 1914-1918’

Janet Griffin – ‘The Ventnor Connection’

Andy Butler – ‘Extracts from a Naturalists Journal’

Judy Ballinger – ‘Pitfalls of Family History Research’

Roger Silsbury – ’50 Years of Railway Preservation on the IOW’

Richard Downing – ‘Ventnor Saved My Life’

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our past guest speakers for sharing their time and knowledge with us.

A Society Meeting

From our archives

Madeira Hall

Madeira Hall in Trinity Road is believed to date from the 1820s when it was occupied by a Miss Dick, thought to have been the inspiration for Charles Dickens' character Miss Havisham in Great Expectations.  Miss Dick had been jilted at the altar and shut herself away, becoming a recluse. It was said that she lived in one room, had her meals lowered to her through a trap door (perhaps a dumb waiter), and took long walks in Bonchurch and Madeira Vale in the early  hours of the morning. Later, Thomas Babington Macaulay,  Politician, Historian and Essayist stayed at the house for several months during 1850 while writing a 'History of England' and in 1896 it was owned by Major and Mrs Bell, who were famous for the bicycle gymkhanas they held in the grounds at a time when cycling was becoming very popular.Read more...