Skip to main content

About Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has a long and sometimes violent history, which was exacerbated by its isolation from the mainland, and at the same time its proximity to it. Much of its history is linked to the hardships which were encountered in the everyday living circumstances of the islanders, from smuggling and shipwreck salvage, to rural farming and fisheries. Many postcards depict previous times in reprints of old photographs, and artwork. Some of the most iconic images include pictures of the Isle of Wight ferry and images of Cowes, a seaport which is based on the west coast of the island. Isle of Wight collectables and souvenirs often include steam train memorabilia, since the island historically had a steam train network, which, although it was largely phased out from 1952 onwards, still exists in the form of a single 5½ mile heritage line which is operated and maintained by volunteers. A few collectable souvenirs commemorate past times for the public transport services, such as vintage ferry and steam train timetables. Cowes and the Isle of Wight as a whole have been known as boat-building areas since around the 1500s, when they built a vessel for the use of Elizabeth I. During the 1800s, Cowes was known as the yachting capital of the world, and the Cowes Regatta was patronised by George IV. The first flying boats were created on the Isle of Man, and hovercraft were also first tested there. Many souvenirs, including pottery plaques, cups, and postcards show images of yachts, boats, boat-building, and ferries, in various weather conditions. Also available are aerial photographs of the island, and these are both contemporary and vintage.