An exhibition focusing on the history of shops and public houses in Cowes, Gurnard and Northwood prompted a note of concern from its guest of honour about the future of such businesses.
While describing Cowes Heritage’s ‘Turn Back Time’ event at the town’s Regatta Centre as ‘wonderful’, Cowes Business Association chairman Rod Ainge said the exhibition showed just how much the town and the two villages have changed, even during the 25 years he had been in business in Cowes.
He was concerned, though, about further, imminent, changes; as he understood that perhaps six to eight existing shops in Cowes were about to close. In response to this problem his association in conjunction with the town council was planning to hold an open forum at which individuals and organisations could have their say on how to make the town more attractive for shoppers. “It is important that we come together as a community at this time,” he said.
Engaging the young
He also wanted local school children to study the heritage of Cowes and the villages of Gurnard and Northwood, and to this end had spoken to an assistant head teacher at the local high school – better known now as Cowes Enterprise College.
He noted Cowes Heritage had never yet had an exhibition that was less than excellent. Gazing at the numerous displays, he said, “The small body of dedicated people must have taken hours and hours of work to put this on. I hope lots and lots of people will come and see the result.”
Rod Ainge was introduced at the preview by David Jones, hon treasurer of Cowes Heritage and a former manager of a local store, who thanked the association for helping to pay for the hire of the Regatta Centre and for allowing an advertising banner to go over the High Street.
Visit the exhibition
The ‘Turn Back Time’ exhibition opened its doors to the general public on Saturday (22 October) and the event is open daily between 10 am and 4 pm until Sunday 13 November.
Admission is free. The exhibition has many photographic reminders of shops and public houses in past decades. There are also a number of items once used in shops including a very basic calculator, and lists of shops that operated at different points in time.
Image: Pictured at the preview event (left to right): Cowes Heritage chairman John Groves, David Jones and Rod Ainge.