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)

Your Stories: Local Voices |

Your Stories: Local Voices

Stories of ‘How it was then’ are always fascinating, as well as being  valuable records of the past which need to be kept safe for future generations.

We would like to hear from anyone who has memories of growing up, living and working in the Ventnor area  in the past.  We are particularly interested in memories of the hurricane of October 1987, when houses in Ventnor lost their roofs, families huddled together through the storm, and the Botanic Garden lost many of its trees.  We are also collecting stories of ‘Growing up in Lowtherville’.  But any memories of life as it was in this part of the Island are valuable and very welcome.

If you search this website for ‘Your Stories’ you can see some of the stories that we have collected.

Please get in touch if you have memories you would be happy to share with us – ring us (01983 855407) or drop in to the Heritage Centre, or write to us, or send us an email (

Or if you are  happy to, please write it all down fill in the form below, and upload any photographs you are happy to share.


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...