Cowes and ones immediate thoughts turn to yachting! For here is one of the
worlds most famous yachting venues and the home of the Royal Yacht Squadron.
The sound of 22 small cannon start the races and are the only ornaments on
the curved platform in West Cowes where the Royal Yacht Squadron has its
is left of the Tudor forts or the old castle but near to the Squadron can be
found the 19th century Church of the Holy Trinity with its many memorial
tablets to past members of the Squadron one of them depicting a yacht
sailing towards a rising sun.
Westborune which is an 18th century house there once lived a collector of
customs whose son, born here in 1795, lived to become as immortal as Dr
Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School.
House, was the home of the Ward family, William George being Tennyson's
great friend and in whose memory the poet wrote six lines which included
Farewell, whose living like I shall not
My friend, the most unworldly of mankind.
church is near to Northwood House, and was founded during the Commonwealth
and restore in the 19th century. The tower was built by George Ward and a
tablet in his and his wife's memory can be found on a wall inside. The
south aisle has a bras to Dr Arnold.
the road is the Roman Catholic Church which contains a small picture
depicting the death of the Madonna and painted by Antonello da Messina who
is thought to have taught the Venetian artist how to use oil paint. There is
an altar painting which shows the Descent from the Cross.
beyond Princess Green and past a small column that holds a powerful light
for shipping is Gurnard and here were discovered the remains of what was
once a Roman villa, Gurnard Head is world renowned for its fossils. There is
a plaque on the parade which was given by the people of Maryland in memory
of the sailing of the Ark and the Dove, the two ships which set sail with
the fist settlers to Maryland over 300 years ago.
Cowes has busy shipyards and is also the home of Osborne House whose grounds
join Norris Castle. Osborne House is one of the most famous tourist
attractions on the island and thousands flock here to see the seaside home
of Queen Victoria. It was here that she died and with it the end of the
Victorian Era the most famous and prosperous 60 years in the history of the
British Empire. The house is now a memorial to the queen and is looked after
by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works and there is also a part of it
which is a convalescent home for both serving and retired members of the
armed services. The house was build in the classical style in 1846 and has
lofty apartments that seem to overflow with furniture and ornaments,
paintings and sculptures.
Durbar Room is famous for its teak carving and ornamental plasterwork with a
beautiful ceiling. A peacock made from plaster takes pride of place on the
top of a mantelpiece and there are further examples of Eastern work in glass
portrait of the queen as a young mother with her children about her and
Prince Albert at her side, hangs in the Dining Room and in the floor a brass
plate shows where she lay in state.
grounds have some splendid trees growing in small copses which allow brief
glimpses of the Solent to shine through and a long path takes the visitor to
the Swiss Cottage where the Royal children played at housekeeping, and has
now been transformed into a museum, and includes Queen Victoria's writing
desk and the cradle which is shaped like a small boat hung between two
posts. There is also a model of Jerusalem which was given to the Queen by
Dean Stanley and a model shop with the name Spratt above the door and with
"Grocer to Her Majesty" printed above. Collections of porcelain ornaments
which she collected as a child are displayed in glass showcases, and King
Cetewayo's hide shield, the skull of a crocodile and fossils and various
curios from all over the world are on display.
Cottage has a white kitchen with gleaming pots and pans and the walls are as
spotless as the white china, only princes and princesses have been the
allowed to cook here and they being the children of Victoria.
Victoria died on the evening of January 22nd 1901 and had lived from the end
of the second decade of the 19th century into the first month of the 20th,
she was known as the queen of peace but died in the midst of war and one of
her last acts was to welcome Lord Roberts on his return from the Boer War
where he had given command to Lord Kitchener, and the earldom she bestowed
on Roberts was the last title she every gave. On 10th January she had had
her last meeting with Joseph Chamberlain and on the 15th she took her last
drive, by the 19th January she became so week her children were called to
German Emperor came and was there when she passed away at the age of 81
years 7 months and 2 days, the longest reign of a British monarch, Her
coffin was placed aboard the yacht Alberta on 1st February and was carried
past long lines of warships from which a last salute was fired.
Text courtesy of:
Southern Life (UK)