Claire shares this latest news following the Heritage Open Days. Ed
Behind the bright deckchairs lining the shore each summer, the Isle of Wight’s seaside resort of Sandown is the perfect place to trace the history of a coastal town through its architecture; sandy cove to military outpost, then Victorian must-stay and on to a Deco sunshine capital.
Some of this fascinating hidden heritage was revealed this month through Celebrating Sandown walks, workshops and open days run especially for this year’s Heritage Open Days.
Everyone chipped in
Thanks to help from a range of volunteers and organisations chipping in time and expertise, Celebrating Sandown made a weekend of this national event, with opportunities for new views on the past, present and even future of some of Sandown Bay’s most familiar or forgotten streets, buildings and landscapes.
Vectis Housing Association’s community project Wild About Wight chose Sandown’s Carnegie Library for its home-base for heritage walks and art workshop.
County archivist and historian Richard Smout (pictured below) led a whole day of walks showing visitors how to interpret architectural fashion and purpose, from use of decorative bricks to church design, from the early Victorian hotels and High Street, to Art Deco and modern day.
Wild About Wight art studio
Meanwhile, upstairs at the library became a pop-up Wild About Wight art studio with artist Ian Whitmore teaching the tradition of sand painting, Marmotinto.
The resulting sand art scenes inspired by Sandown Bay will join the collection Wild About Wight art exhibition at Quay Arts next spring.
Other activities included exploring Sandown Barrack Battery and meeting the National Poo Museum, discovering the history of the 1930s Browns Golf Course and the PLUTO pipeline story, and meeting the Men in Sheds spear-heading the Pavilion machinery restoration… something for everyone!
History of Browns
At the Yaverland end of the Bay, visitors could explore Browns in black & white or meet Men In Sheds in a Pavilion! Early photos of the golf course’s first days and its life as an Ice Cream factory were loaned from London to Browns Café especially for the weekend by the attraction’s founders, the Kennedy family.
Men In Sheds in a Pavilion
At the end of the Willow Walk nature trail, Age UK’s Men In Sheds hosted over 100 people throughout the weekend at the Pavilion. The Pavilion’s machinery is being restored thanks to the collective expertise of Men In Sheds with the help of The Common Space and Down to the Coast.
Sandown Battery Barracks
Sunday saw Sandown Battery Barracks busy too with around 80 people visiting the cliff-top fort in glorious sunshine. Conservation officers from both the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth Councils, Lee Byrne and Ben Cracknell (pictured below) reimagined the views from the Battery across the Bay to the AONB at Culver with tales of Napoleon and naval warfare, while the National Poo Museum inventor Dan Roberts was on hand to talk about future plans and meanwhile uses.
Volunteers and partners from The Common Space and the Bay Coastal Community Team, Shaping The Bay, Vectis Housing Association, Down to the Coast, Isle of Wight Men In Sheds and Age UK, Quay Arts, the Isle of Wight Council Conservation Team, Arc, Browns Family Golf and Cafe, Sandown Library, the Kennedy family too all contributed in some shape or form.. phew!
2019 is all about Biosphere we hope, so fingers crossed even more people, places and spaces could be joining in for Heritage Open Days next year.