HISTORICAL ISLE OF WIGHT
OSBORNE HOUSE Osborne House was built between 1845 and 1851 to provide Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with a private family home. It was built in the Italian style as it reminded Prince Albert of the Bay of Naples.
Queen Victoria’s bed was changed to a single bed as her doctor found it difficult to care for her when she had a large double bed. Victoria used the house until her death there on 22 January 1901. She died on the small couch bed, surrounded by her children.
Technology at Osborne House: The range of technological innovations introduced at Osborne is extensive and substantially intact. Most of the regular technical advances of the 19th century are represented at Osborne, and in some areas it was ahead of its time, thanks in great measure to Prince Albert’s scientific and technological interests and enthusiasm. Radical and progressive features in the initial building of Osborne were the use of fireproof construction throughout, the partial heating and ventilation systems, and the hot water bath and shower arrangements. Later advances – the lift, telephone and electric lighting – show the queen’s ready adoption of further innovations.
Servants at Osborne House: Abdul was the first of the Queen’s Indian servants, he came from a humble Muslim family, and was gifted to the Queen as a servant by India as part of her Golden Jubilee celebrations. The two struck up an unlikely friendship. He ended up as her Urdu teacher and close companion. Their friendship caused turmoil within the royal household, however Victoria defended Abdul against all opposition.
Carisbrooke castle is over 1000 years old. During this time it has been a Saxon fortress and a castle of the Norman conquest. It was remodelled during the Middle Ages and then again under Elizabeth I. Climb the steep steps up the massive castle mound to enjoy unrivalled birds-eye views from the ancient castle keep. The earthworks and keep were begun around 1100, when the whole Isle of Wight was granted to the de Redvers family. You can walk right around the castle on the battlements and see across the island in all directions. Imagine life as a medieval soldier, try on armour and have a go at firing a minicannon in the gatehouse.
For hundreds of years the castle’s resident donkeys have drawn up water in the well-house. All the donkey’s names begin with the letter ‘J’. This tradition was started when Charles I was a prisoner at Carisbrooke.
At the beginning of the Civil War in 1642 the castle passed into the hands of the Parliamentary forces. It was used as a prison for important Royalists, until the 1660s, the most notable inmate being Charles I in 1647–8. During his imprisonment, Charles tried to escape twice. He was eventually sent to London and his execution in Whitehall on 30 January 1649.
The Roman villa dates to 99 AD which means it is nearly 2000 years old. Brading villa is the remains of a roman house. Five of the ground floor rooms contain original Roman mosaics. The villas excavated remains are now undercover in the exhibition and visitors centre. Medusa There is a mosaic at Brading Roman Villa depicting the Greek Goddess Medusa. In Greek mythology Medusa was described as a monster, those who looked at her would turn into stone. Some historians believe that people saw her as a protector, which is why she was present on many works of art and mosaics. The Cockerel-Headed Man (Gallus) One of the most famous mosaics found at Brading Roman Villa is the one that depicts a Cockerel-Headed Man who is dressed as a Gladiator trainer. There are many different theories as to what The Cockerel-Headed Man mosaic represents. One of them is that it depicts a gladiator called Gallus, which means cockerel in Latin. Another theory is that it is mocking a Roman Emperor named Constanius Gallus who was Eastern Emperor from 351-354. Our award-winning Forum CafĂŠ serves local food and drink and is open all year round, whether you are visiting the museum or not. The mosaics, for many years were enclosed within a large steel-framed agricultural structure, clad in corrugated iron. This was financed by Lady Louisa Oglander. An average of 20,000 visitors a year paid 3 pence per head to view the three rooms containing the figured mosaic panels. Sadly, with the passing of time, the steel-framed structure began to show its age. Therefore, a structural survey of the building, organised by the newly formed (1994) Oglander Roman Trust, which was a new registered charity, revealed that the iron stanchions were rusting at ground level. Under the Trusts driving determination and aided and supported with advice from English Heritage, the fruits of their work stand before you, an innovative new cover building. It has a grass sedum roof with a D-shaped ground plan.