The Isle of Wight Society

Isle of Wight Society and East Cowes Heritage



The Isle of Wight Society

The Society was formed in 1969 by concerned residents in response to poor planning decisions, unsympathetic architectural design and mediocre construction of new developments. One of the first activities was to fight the Government over proposals to site a nuclear power station on the Solent coastline. 

The Isle of Wight Society is an amenity and conservation organisation, registered with the Charity Commission, number 276986, and affiliated to the national organisation Civic Voice.

Our Constitution states that the Objects are: 

1. To stimulate public interest in the Isle of Wight.

2. To promote high standards of planning and architecture in or effecting the Isle of Wight.

3. To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in the Isle of Wight.

The Society achieves the objectives by:

Writing articles for publications and a monthly column in the IOW County Press.

Holding an annual conservation award competition in conjunction with the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Submitting comments on building developments to the IOW Council Planning Department.

Supporting the East Cowes Heritage Centre and other organisations dealing with planning issues.

What makes this Island special?

The character of the Island is basically rural with enough undulations to provide vistas of the countryside, the surrounding sea and the busy sheltered water of the Solent. 

The mainstay of the Island is tourism and this is bolstered by marine and engineering industries, some agriculture, forestry and fishing. As a popular retirement destination the care of the elderly is also a factor in the economy.

The geology, from chalk cliffs to sheltered valleys, provides a variety of soils that support a wide selection of flora and fauna 

The people who have lived on the Island have left a rich heritage that supports the history of a developing community that has been industrious, involved with civil and international wars and produced some word leading engineering achievements. 

Nowhere else in Britain can boast of human history ranging from pre-Neolithic times through to the present day.

East Cowes Heritage Centre

The Isle of Wight Society operates from the Heritage Centre in Clarence Road, East Cowes. The centre is run by volunteers. It is an archive and exhibition space for artifacts and records of the town and the Island. Entry is free but opening times vary. See here.


We are closing the Facebook page for the Society, please see Helena Hewston's page for any IOW Society news.


Free for IWS members, £3 for non members.

There will be a guided walk around the remaining buildings and foundations of the Osborne Royal Naval College on Thursday 12th October, starting at 4pm. from outside the Petty Officers Quarters ( English Heritage Ticket Office).  We will not actually be going inside the Osborne gated grounds, so do not buy a ticket!
Following the walk there will be a powerpoint presentation in one of the College classrooms, so the evening should finish at about 6.30 pm.
Osborne Royal Naval College existed from 1903 until 1921. Edward VIII, George VI and Lord Louis Mountbatten were among the 4000 Cadets who completed the first two years of their Naval Officer training there.

Talk and exhibition Saturday 7th October
At East Cowes Town Hall.  An exhibition of local maps and estate plans to celebrate 25 years of East Cowes Heritage Centre.  10 - 4  Free entry.  Refreshments and Heritage Raffle. 
At 4pm. there will be a talk by Ruth Waller on the "Archaeology of East Cowes, Neolithic to Medieval"    (Retiring Collection)

Current concerns

The Island Council is permitting housing development in line with Government targets, it also has a PFI contract for the maintenance of the roads. The Island has fairly comprehensive medical services with strong links to Southampton and Portsmouth hospitals.

Floating Bridge issues.

Housing developments, devolution of services and infrastructure support feature greatly in the present political climate. The Society, along with other bodies, are monitoring the issues and are voicing their concerns.

The developments in and of East Cowes in conjunction with Red Funnel Ferries.

Major planning developments for the 1. The Red Funnel Terminal and 2. Victoria Quays in West Cowes are also under consideration.

The Red Funnel plans have been passed on appeal. For further details go to IOW Council planning web page. Ref: TCP/31812/B and TCP/32737

The East Cowes group of the Isle of Wight Society are concerned at the height of the landmark tower apartment blocks proposed next to the Barracks on the seafront and have written objections.

Come and join us

Isle of Wight Society
East Cowes Heritage Centre, 8 Clarence Road
East Cowes, PO32 6EP

Tel: +44 (0) 1983 280310

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