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)

About Ventnor Heritage Centre |

About 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.

The Heritage Centre is also the headquarters of the Ventnor and District Local History Society.

We are involved in community events, providing talks and slide shows on local history, and local heritage walksl  We also take part in the Ventnor Carnival and Fringe programme – in 2017 we collaborated with Ventnor Guitar Group on ‘Playing with History’, and in 2016 we showed  ‘Ventnor Unseen’,  a compilation of archive film clips with a soundtrack specially provided by local artists, which included  ‘Storm of 87’ written and performed by Paul Armfield.

One of the most interesting parts of our work is collecting local stories and memories; you can see some of these by searching this website for ‘Your Stories’, and if you would like to contribute your own stories or photographs, please see our main Your Stories page.

The Ventnor Heritage Centre and Local History Society are both entirely run and managed by volunteers. If you think y ou might be interested in joining us, please have a look at our Volunteering Opportunities – we would be delighted to  hear from you!

 


From our archives

New exhibition and book: ‘It used to be like this . . . “

"I was born at Beach Cottage, Castlehaven, Niton Undercliff in the year nineteen hundred and six. Beach Cottage was built for my father by my grandfather of the local hard stone which we call Rag Stone. . . It was a most excellent cottage." These are the words George Roland Haynes used to begin his memories of life in Niton Undercliff in the last century; the picture here is a sketch he made of Beach Cottage. We have now published his memories as a book, ‘It used to be like this . . .’ available from the Heritage Centre (see our publications page for details), and we have a new exhibition in the museum, using some of his words along with historic photographs from our archive.Read more...

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