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The ISLE OF WIGHT /ˈaɪl əv ˈwaɪt/ (referred to informally as IoW ) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel , about 4 miles (6 km) off the coast of Hampshire
Hampshire
, separated by the Solent . The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations since Victorian times , and is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines .

The island has been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes . It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats , the hovercraft , and Britain's space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival , which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The Isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right . The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton
Southampton
and Portsmouth
Portsmouth
, and been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain
Battle of Britain
. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The island was part of Hampshire
Hampshire
until 1890, when it became a separate administrative county . It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant until 1974, when it became a ceremonial county . Apart from a shared police force, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, although a combined local authority with Portsmouth
Portsmouth
and Southampton
Southampton
is being considered. Until 1995 the island had a governor .

The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde
Ryde
to Southsea ; three ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington
Lymington
and Portsmouth.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Formation and early history * 1.2 Middle Ages * 1.3 Early modern period * 1.4 Modern history

* 2 Geography * 3 Geology * 4 Climate * 5 Wildlife * 6 Politics * 7 Main towns

* 8 Culture

* 8.1 Language and dialect * 8.2 Identity * 8.3 \'Hauntings\'

* 9 Sport

* 9.1 Cycling
Cycling
* 9.2 Rowing
Rowing
* 9.3 Sailing * 9.4 Trampolining * 9.5 Marathon
Marathon
* 9.6 Speedway * 9.7 Field hockey * 9.8 Football * 9.9 Cricket * 9.10 Island Games * 9.11 Motor scooter

* 10 Music

* 11 Economy

* 11.1 Socio-economic data

* 11.2 Industry and agriculture

* 11.2.1 Breweries

* 11.3 Services

* 11.3.1 Tourism and heritage * 11.3.2 Transport * 11.3.3 Media

* 12 Prisons * 13 Education

* 14 Notable residents

* 14.1 17th century and earlier * 14.2 18th century * 14.3 19th century * 14.4 20th century onwards

* 15 Places of interest * 16 Overseas names

* 17 Media references

* 17.1 Film * 17.2 Games * 17.3 Literature * 17.4 Music * 17.5 Radio * 17.6 Television

* 18 See also * 19 Notes * 20 References

* 21 External links

* 21.1 Photos

HISTORY

Main article: History of the Isle of Wight

FORMATION AND EARLY HISTORY

During the last Ice Age , sea levels were lower and the Solent was part of a river flowing south east from current day Poole
Poole
Harbour towards mid-Channel. As sea levels rose, the river valley became flooded, and the chalk ridge line west of the Needles breached to form the island.

The first inhabitants are assumed to have been hunter-gatherers migrating by land during the Paleolithic
Paleolithic
or Old Stone Age period, as the ice began to recede. From the Neolithic
Neolithic
era onwards, there are indications that the island had wide trading links, with a port at Bouldnor , evidence of Bronze Age tin trading, and finds of Late Iron Age coins.

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
reported that the Belgae took the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
in about 85 BC, and gave its name as Vectis. The Roman historian Suetonius mentions that the island was captured by the commander Vespasian
Vespasian
. The Romans built no towns or roads on the island, but the remains of at least seven Roman villas have been found, indicating the prosperity of local agriculture.

During the Dark Ages the island was settled by Jutes as the pagan kingdom of Wihtwara under King Arwald . In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla , who tried to replace the inhabitants with his own followers. In 686 Arwald was defeated and the island became the last part of English lands to be converted to Christianity
Christianity
, added to Wessex and then becoming part of England
England
under King Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
, included within the shire of Hampshire
Hampshire
.

It suffered especially from Viking raids, and was often used as a winter base by Viking raiders when they were unable to reach Normandy. Later, both Earl Tostig and his brother Harold Godwinson (who became King Harold II) held manors on the island. Carisbrooke
Carisbrooke
Castle just outside Carisbrooke
Carisbrooke
.

MIDDLE AGES

The Norman Conquest of 1066 created the position of Lord of the Isle of Wight , the island being given by William the Conqueror to his kinsman William FitzOsbern . Carisbrooke
Carisbrooke
Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle
Carisbrooke Castle
were then founded. Allegiance was sworn to FitzOsbern rather than the king; the Lordship was subsequently granted to the de Redvers family by Henry I, after his succession in 1100.

For nearly 200 years the island was a semi-independent feudal fiefdom, with the de Redvers family ruling from Carisbrooke. The final private owner was the Countess Isabella de Fortibus , who, on her deathbed in 1293, was persuaded to sell it to Edward I . Thereafter the island was under control of the English crown and its Lordship a royal appointment.

The island continued to be attacked from the continent, raided in 1374 by the fleet of Castile , and in 1377 by French raiders who burned several towns, including Newtown, and laid siege to Carisbrooke Castle before they were defeated.

EARLY MODERN PERIOD

Under Henry VIII , who developed the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
and its Portsmouth base, the island was fortified at Yarmouth , Cowes, East Cowes, and Sandown
Sandown
.

The French invasion on 21 July 1545 (famous for the sinking of the Mary Rose on the 19th) was repulsed by local militia .

During the English Civil War , King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight, believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond ; but Hammond imprisoned the king in Carisbrooke Castle
Carisbrooke Castle
. Osborne House and its grounds are now open to the public. Eugene Manet on the Isle of Wight, 1875 painting by Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot
.

During the Seven Years\' War , the island was used as a staging post for British troops departing on expeditions against the French coast, such as the Raid on Rochefort . During 1759, with a planned French invasion imminent , a large force of soldiers was stationed there. The French called off their invasion following the Battle of Quiberon Bay .

MODERN HISTORY

In the 1860s, what remains in real terms the most expensive ever government spending project saw fortifications built on the island and in the Solent, as well as elsewhere along the south coast, including the Palmerston Forts , The Needles Battery and Fort Victoria , because of fears about possible French invasion.

The future Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
spent childhood holidays on the island and became fond of it. When queen she made Osborne House her winter home, and so the island became a fashionable holiday resort, including for Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
, Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron
, and Charles Dickens (who wrote much of _David Copperfield _ there), as well as the French painter Berthe Morisot
Berthe Morisot
and members of European royalty. Until then, the island had been rural, with most people employed in farming, fishing or boat-building. The boom in tourism, spurred by growing wealth and leisure time, and by Victoria's example, led to significant urban development of the island's coastal resorts.

The world's first radio station was set up by Marconi in 1897, during her reign, at the Needles Battery , at the western tip of the island. In 1898 the first paid wireless telegram (called a 'Marconigram') was sent from this station, and the island is now the home of the National Wireless Museum, near Ryde.

Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
died at Osborne House on 22 January 1901, aged 81.

During the Second World War
Second World War
the island was frequently bombed. With its proximity to German-occupied France, the island hosted observation stations and transmitters, as well as the RAF radar station at Ventnor . It was the starting-point for one of the earlier Operation Pluto pipelines to feed fuel to Europe after the Normandy landings .

The Needles Battery was used to develop and test the Black Arrow and Black Knight space rockets, which were subsequently launched from Woomera , Australia. Statue of Jimi Hendrix outside Dimbola Lodge

The Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
was a very large rock festival that took place near Afton Down , West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable both as one of the last public performances by Jimi Hendrix and for the number of attendees, reaching by some estimates 600,000. The festival was revived in 2002 in a different format, and is now an annual event.

GEOGRAPHY

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
is situated between the Solent and the English Channel , is roughly rhomboid in shape, and covers an area of 150 sq mi (380 km2). Slightly more than half, mainly in the west, is designated as the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty . The island has 100 sq mi (258 km2) of farmland, 20 sq mi (52 km2) of developed areas, and 57 miles (92 km) of coastline. Its landscapes are diverse, leading to its oft-quoted description as " England
England
in miniature".

West Wight is predominantly rural, with dramatic coastlines dominated by the chalk downland ridge, running across the whole island and ending in the Needles stacks. The southwestern quarter is commonly referred to as the Back of the Wight , and has a unique character. The highest point on the island is St Boniface Down in the south east, which at 791 feet (241 m) is a marilyn . The most notable habitats on the rest of the island are probably the soft cliffs and sea ledges, which are scenic features, important for wildlife, and internationally protected.

The island has three principal rivers. The River Medina flows north into the Solent , the Eastern Yar flows roughly northeast to Bembridge Harbour, and the Western Yar flows the short distance from Freshwater Bay to a relatively large estuary at Yarmouth . Without human intervention the sea might well have split the island into three: at the west end where a bank of pebbles separates Freshwater Bay from the marshy backwaters of the Western Yar east of Freshwater, and at the east end where a thin strip of land separates Sandown
Sandown
Bay from the marshy Eastern Yar basin.

The Undercliff between St Catherine's Point and Bonchurch is the largest area of landslip morphology in western Europe.

The north coast is unusual in having four high tides each day, with a double high tide every twelve and a half hours. This arises because the western Solent is narrower than the eastern; the initial tide of water flowing from the west starts to ebb before the stronger flow around the south of the island returns through the eastern Solent to create a second high water.

GEOLOGY

Main article: Geology of the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
is made up of a variety of rock types dating from early Cretaceous
Cretaceous
(around 127 million years ago) to the middle of the Palaeogene (around 30 million years ago). The geological structure is dominated by a large monocline which causes a marked change in age of strata from the northern younger Tertiary beds to the older Cretaceous beds of the south. This gives rise to a dip of almost 90 degrees in the chalk beds, seen best at the Needles .

The northern half of the island is mainly composed of clays , with the southern half formed of the chalk of the central east–west downs, as well as Upper and Lower Greensands and Wealden strata. These strata continue west from the island across the Solent into Dorset
Dorset
, forming the basin of Poole Harbour (Tertiary) and the Isle of Purbeck (Cretaceous) respectively. The chalky ridges of Wight and Purbeck were a single formation before they were breached by waters from the River Frome during the last ice age , forming the Solent and turning Wight into an island. The Needles , along with Old Harry Rocks on Purbeck, represent the edges of this breach.

All the rocks found on the island are sedimentary , such as limestones , mudstones and sandstones . They are rich in fossils; many can be seen exposed on beaches as the cliffs erode. Lignitic coal is present in small quantities within seams, and can be seen on the cliffs and shore at Whitecliff Bay . Fossilised molluscs have been found there, and also on the northern coast along with fossilised crocodiles , turtles and mammal bones; the youngest date back to around 30 million years ago.

The island is one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils . The eroding cliffs often reveal previously hidden remains, particularly along the Back of the Wight . Dinosaur
Dinosaur
bones and fossilised footprints can be seen in and on the rocks exposed around the island's beaches, especially at Yaverland and Compton Bay . As a result, the island has been nicknamed " Dinosaur
Dinosaur
Island".

The area was affected by sea level changes during the repeated Quaternary
Quaternary
glaciations. The island probably became separated from the mainland about 125,000 years ago, during the Ipswichian interglacial .

*

Ordnance Survey map of the island. *

Geological map of the island. *

Blackgang Chine , circa 1910. *

A view of the Needles and Alum Bay .

CLIMATE

Like the rest of the UK, the island has an oceanic climate , but is somewhat milder and sunnier, which makes it a holiday destination. It also has a longer growing season . Lower Ventnor and the neighbouring Undercliff have a particular microclimate, because of their sheltered position south of the downs. The island enjoys 1,800–2,100 hours of sunshine a year. Some years have almost no snow in winter, and only a few days of hard frost. The island is in Hardiness zone 9.

CLIMATE DATA FOR SHANKLIN

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 8.1 (46.6) 7.9 (46.2) 10.0 (50) 12.3 (54.1) 15.6 (60.1) 18.2 (64.8) 20.4 (68.7) 20.5 (68.9) 18.3 (64.9) 15.0 (59) 11.3 (52.3) 8.8 (47.8) 13.87 (56.95)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 3.5 (38.3) 2.9 (37.2) 4.3 (39.7) 5.4 (41.7) 8.4 (47.1) 11.1 (52) 13.4 (56.1) 13.5 (56.3) 11.8 (53.2) 9.5 (49.1) 6.2 (43.2) 4.0 (39.2) 7.83 (46.09)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 90.8 (3.575) 65.5 (2.579) 66.0 (2.598) 53.4 (2.102) 52.1 (2.051) 46.3 (1.823) 47.1 (1.854) 54.6 (2.15) 70.5 (2.776) 115.0 (4.528) 108.6 (4.276) 101.0 (3.976) 870.9 (34.288)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 1.0) 13.1 9.8 10.4 9.1 8.2 7.6 6.9 7.4 8.9 12.7 12.7 12.9 119.7

MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS 68.2 89.8 132.9 201.4 241.1 247.7 262.3 240.9 173.1 122.3 82.6 60.7 1,923

Source: Met Office Climate Averages, Shanklin, 1981-2010

WILDLIFE

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
is one of the few places in England
England
where the red squirrel is still flourishing; no grey squirrels are to be found. There are occasional sightings of wild deer, and there is a colony of wild goats on Ventnor's downs. Protected species such as the dormouse and rare bats can be found. The Glanville fritillary butterfly's distribution in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
is largely restricted to the edges of the island's crumbling cliffs.

A competition in 2002 named the pyramidal orchid as the Isle of Wight's county flower .

POLITICS

Main article: Politics of the Isle of Wight Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Andrew Turner at Downing Street
Downing Street
in 2010.

The island has a single Member of Parliament and 138,300 permanent residents in 2011 , being one of the most populated constituencies in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(more than 50% above the English average). However, in 2011 the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act was to have changed this, as part of the Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies , but this was deferred to no earlier than October 2018 by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 . Thus the single constituency remained for the 2015 general election . However, two separate East and West constituencies are proposed for the island under the 2018 review now underway.

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county. Since the abolition of its two borough councils and restructuring of the county council as Isle of Wight Council in 1995, it has been a unitary authority.

Elections in the constituency have traditionally been a battle between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats . The Member of Parliament since 2001, Andrew Turner , is a Conservative, while predecessor Dr Peter Brand was a Liberal Democrat. In recent years Turner has been embroiled in controversy over his expenses, health, and relationships with colleagues, with local Conservatives having tried but failed to remove him in the runup to the 2015 election.

The Isle of Wight Council election of 2013 saw the Conservatives lose the majority which they had held since 2005 to the Island Independents . Island Independent councillors currently hold 16 of the 40 seats, with a further five sitting as independents outside the group.

There have been small regionalist movements: the Vectis National Party and the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Party; but they have attracted little support in elections.

MAIN TOWNS

High Street in Newport , the county town . Main article: List of places on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight

* Newport is the centrally located county town, with a population of about 25,000 and the island's main shopping area. Located next to the River Medina , Newport Quay was a busy port until the mid-19th century. * Ryde
Ryde
, the largest town with a population of about 30,000, is in the northeast. It is Victorian with the oldest seaside pier in England and miles of sandy and pebble beaches. * Cowes
Cowes
hosts the annual Cowes
Cowes
Week and is an international sailing centre. * East Cowes is famous for Osborne House , Norris Castle and as the home from 1929 to 1964 of Saunders-Roe , the historic aircraft, flying boat, rocket and hovercraft company. * Sandown
Sandown
is a popular seaside resort. It is home to the Isle of Wight Zoo , the Dinosaur
Dinosaur
Isle geological museum and one of the island's two 18-hole golf courses. * Shanklin , just south of Sandown, attracts tourists with its high summer sunshine levels, sandy beaches, Shanklin Chine and the old village. * Ventnor , built on the steep slopes of St Boniface Down on the south coast of the island, leads down to a picturesque bay that attracts many tourists. Ventnor Haven is a small harbour.

Graveyard on the grounds of the church in the town of Brading .

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of the Isle of Wight

LANGUAGE AND DIALECT

The local accent is similar to the traditional dialect of Hampshire, featuring the dropping of some consonants and an emphasis on longer vowels . It is similar to the West Country dialects heard in South West England
England
, but less pronounced.

The island has its own local and regional words. Some, such as _nipper/nips_ (a young male person), are still commonly used and are shared with neighbouring areas of the mainland. A few are unique to the island, for example _overner_ and _caulkhead_ (see below). Others are more obscure and now used mainly for comic emphasis, such as _mallishag_ (meaning "caterpillar "), _gurt_ meaning "large", _nammit_ (a mid-morning snack) and _gallybagger_ ("scarecrow", and now the name of a local cheese).

IDENTITY

There remains occasional confusion between the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
as a county and its former position within Hampshire
Hampshire
. The island was regarded and administered as a part of Hampshire
Hampshire
until 1890, when its distinct identity was recognised with the formation of Isle of Wight County Council (see also _ Politics of the Isle of Wight _). However, it remained a part of Hampshire
Hampshire
until the local government reforms of 1974 when it became a full ceremonial county with its own Lord Lieutenant .

In January 2009, the first general flag for the county was accepted by the Flag Institute .

Island residents are sometimes referred to as 'Vectensians', 'Vectians' or, if born on the island, "caulkheads". One theory is that this last comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking or sealing wooden boats; the term became attached to islanders either because they were so employed, or as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from elsewhere. The term 'overner' is used for island residents originating from the mainland (an abbreviated form of 'overlander', which is an archaic term for 'outsider' still found in parts of Australia
Australia
).

Residents refer to the island as "The Island", as did Jane Austen in Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park
, and sometimes to the UK mainland as "North Island".

To promote the island's identity and culture, the High Sheriff Robin Courage founded an Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Day; the first was held on Saturday 24 September 2016.

\'HAUNTINGS\'

The island is said to be the most haunted in the world, sometimes referred to as 'Ghost Island'. Notable claimed hauntings include God\'s Providence House in Newport (now a tea room), Appuldurcombe House , and the remains of Knighton Gorges .

SPORT

CYCLING

The island is well known for its cycling , and it was included within Lonely Planet 's _Best in Travel Guide_ (2010) top ten cycling locations. The island also hosts events such as the Isle of Wight Randonnée and the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Cycling
Cycling
Festival each year.

ROWING

There are rowing clubs at Newport, Ryde
Ryde
and Shanklin, all members of the Hants and Dorset
Dorset
rowing association.

There is a long tradition of rowing around the island dating back to the 1880s.

In May 1999 a group of local women made history by becoming the first ladies crew to row around the island, in ten hours and twenty minutes. Rowers from Ryde
Ryde
Rowing
Rowing
Club have rowed around the island several times since 1880. The fours record was set 16 August 1995 at 7 hours 54 minutes.

Two rowers from Southampton
Southampton
ARC (Chris Bennett and Roger Slaymaker) set the two-man record in July 2003 at 8 hours 34 minutes, and in 2005 Gus McKechnie of Coalporters Rowing
Rowing
Club became the first adaptive rower to row around, completing a clockwise row.

The route around the island is about 60 miles (97 km) and usually rowed anticlockwise. Even in good conditions, it includes a number of significant obstacles such as the Needles and the overfalls at St Catherine\'s Point . The traditional start and finish were at Ryde Rowing
Rowing
Club; however other starts have been chosen in recent years to give a tidal advantage.

SAILING

Boats in the marina during Cowes
Cowes
Week .

Cowes
Cowes
is a centre for sailing, hosting several racing regattas . Cowes
Cowes
Week is the longest-running regular regatta in the world, with over 1,000 yachts and 8,500 competitors taking part in over 50 classes of racing. In 1851 the first America\'s Cup race was around the island. Other major sailing events hosted in Cowes
Cowes
include the Fastnet race , the Round the Island Race , the Admiral\'s Cup , and the Commodore\'s Cup .

TRAMPOLINING

There are two main trampoline clubs on the island, in Freshwater and Newport, competing at regional, national and international grades.

MARATHON

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Marathon
Marathon
is the United Kingdom's oldest continuously held marathon , having been run every year since 1957. Since 2013 the course has started and finished in Cowes, heading out to the west of the island and passing through Gurnard, Rew Street, Porchfield, Shalfleet, Yarmouth, Afton, Willmingham, Thorley, Wellow, Shalfleet, Porchfield, and Northwood. It is an undulating course with a total climb of 1,043 feet (318 m).

SPEEDWAY

The island is home to the Wightlink Warriors speedway team, who compete in the sport's third division, the National League .

FIELD HOCKEY

Following an amalgamation of local hockey clubs in 2011, the Isle of Wight Hockey Club now runs two men's senior and two ladies' senior teams. These compete at a range of levels in the Hampshire
Hampshire
open leagues.

FOOTBALL

The now-disbanded Ryde
Ryde
Sports F.C. , founded in 1888, was one of the eight founder members of the Hampshire
Hampshire
League in 1896. There are several non-league clubs such as Newport (IW) F.C. There is an Isle of Wight Saturday Football League with three divisions, and a rugby union club.

CRICKET

Newclose County Cricket Ground .

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
is the 39th official county in English cricket , and the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Cricket Board organises a league of local clubs. Ventnor Cricket Club competes in the Southern Premier League, and has won the Second Division several times. Newclose County Cricket Ground near Newport opened officially in 2009 but with its first match held on 6 September 2008. The island has produced some notable cricketers, such as Danny Briggs , who plays county cricket for Hampshire
Hampshire
.

ISLAND GAMES

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
competes in the biennial Island Games , which it hosted in 1993 and again in 2011.

MOTOR SCOOTER

Riders and passengers waiting for the ferry after the Isle of Wight scooter rally in August 1983.

The annual Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
International Scooter Rally has since 1980 met on the August Bank Holiday . This is now one of the biggest scooter rallies in the world, attracting between four and seven thousand participants.

MUSIC

The crowd at the Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
1970 is believed to have been 600,000.

The island is home to the Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
and, up to 2016, Bestival . In 1970, the festival headlined by Jimi Hendrix attracted an audience of 600,000, some six times the local population at the time. It is the home of the band The Bees , which performs at smaller local concerts. Trixie\'s Big Red Motorbike as well as three of the founding members of Level 42 (Mark King , Boon Gould and Phil Gould ) came from the island. It has also hosted a one-day festival called 'Summer Madness', which started in 2009 headlined by Madness ; in 2010 Paul Weller headlined. In January 2011 it was reported that the promoter of Summer Madness was insolvent.

ECONOMY

SOCIO-ECONOMIC DATA

The table below shows the regional gross value (in millions of pounds) added by the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
economy, at current prices, compiled by the Office for National Statistics :

YEAR REGIONAL GROSS VALUE ADDED AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY SERVICES

1995 831 28 218 585

2000 1,369 27 375 800

2003 1,521 42 288 1,161

2008 2,023

2012 2,175

According to the 2011 census, the island's population of 138,625 lives in 61,085 households, giving an average household size of 2.27 people.

41% of households own their home outright and a further 29% own with a mortgage, so in total 70% of households are owned (compared to 68% for South East England).

Compared to South East England, the island has fewer children (19% aged 0–17 against 22% for the South East) and more elderly (24% aged 65+ against 16%), giving an average age of 44 years for an island resident compared to 40 in South East England.

INDUSTRY AND AGRICULTURE

The largest industry is tourism, but the island also has a strong agricultural heritage, including sheep and dairy farming and arable crops . Traditional agricultural commodities are more difficult to market off the island because of transport costs, but local farmers have managed successfully to exploit some specialist markets, with the higher price of such products being able to absorb the transport costs. One of the most successful agricultural sectors is now the growing of crops under cover, particularly salad crops including tomatoes and cucumbers . The island has a warmer climate and longer growing season than much of the United Kingdom. Garlic
Garlic
has been successfully grown in Newchurch for many years, and is even exported to France. This has led to the establishment of an annual Garlic Festival at Newchurch, which is one of the largest events of the local calendar. A favourable climate supports two vineyards , including one of the oldest in the British Isles at Adgestone . Lavender
Lavender
is grown for its oil. The largest agricultural sector has been dairying, but due to low milk prices and strict legislation for UK milk producers, the dairy industry has been in decline: there were nearly 150 producers in the mid-1980s, but now just 24.

Maritime industries, especially the making of sailcloth and boat building , has long been associated with the island, although this has diminished somewhat in recent years. GKN operates what began as the British Hovercraft Corporation , a subsidiary of (and known latterly as) Westland Aircraft , although they have reduced the extent of plant and workforce and sold the main site. Previously it had been the independent company Saunders-Roe , one of the island's most notable historic firms that produced many flying boats and the world's first hovercraft .

Another manufacturing activity is in composite materials , used by boat-builders and the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas , which has a wind turbine blade factory and testing facilities in West Medina Mills and East Cowes .

Bembridge
Bembridge
Airfield is the home of Britten-Norman , manufacturers of the Islander and Trislander aircraft. This is shortly to become the site of the European assembly line for Cirrus light aircraft. The Norman Aeroplane Company is a smaller aircraft manufacturing company operating in Sandown
Sandown
. There have been three other firms that built planes on the island.

In 2005, Northern Petroleum
Petroleum
began exploratory drilling for oil at its Sandhills-2 borehole at Porchfield , but ceased operations in October that year after failing to find significant reserves.

Breweries

There are three breweries on the island. Goddards Brewery
Brewery
in Ryde opened in 1993. David Yates, who was head brewer of the Island Brewery, started brewing as Yates Brewery
Brewery
at the Inn at St Lawrence in 2000.

Ventnor Brewery, which closed in 2009, was the last incarnation of Burt's Brewery, brewing since the 1840s in Ventnor . Until the 1960s most pubs were owned by Mews
Mews
Brewery, situated in Newport near the old railway station , but it closed and the pubs were taken over by Strong's, and then by Whitbread . By some accounts Mews
Mews
beer was apt to be rather cloudy and dark. In the 19th century they pioneered the use of screw top cans for export to British India
British India
.

SERVICES

Tourism And Heritage

See also: List of tourist attractions in the Isle of Wight

Its heritage is a major asset that has for many years supported the island's tourist economy. Holidays focused on natural heritage, including wildlife and geology, are becoming an alternative to the traditional British seaside holiday, which went into decline in the second half of the 20th century due to the increased affordability of foreign holidays. The island is still an important destination for coach tours from other parts of the United Kingdom. Compton Chine , looking east towards Blackgang .

Tourism is still the largest industry, and most island towns and villages offer hotels, hostels and camping sites. In 1999, it hosted 2.7 million visitors, with 1.5 million staying overnight, and 1.2 million visits day visits; only 150,000 of these were from abroad. Between 1993 and 2000, visits increased at an average rate of 3% per year.

At the turn of the 19th century the island had ten pleasure piers including two at Ryde
Ryde
and a "chain pier" at Seaview . The Victoria Pier in Cowes
Cowes
succeeded the earlier Royal Pier but was itself removed in 1960. The piers at Ryde, Seaview, Sandown
Sandown
, Shanklin and Ventnor originally served a coastal steamer service that operated from Southsea on the mainland. The piers at Seaview, Shanklin, Ventnor and Alum Bay were all destroyed by various storms during the 20th century; only the railway pier at Ryde
Ryde
and the piers at Sandown, Totland Bay (currently closed to the public) and Yarmouth survive.

Blackgang Chine is the oldest theme park in Britain, opened in 1843. The skeleton of a dead whale that its founder Alexander Dabell found in 1844 is still on display.

As well as its more traditional attractions, the island is often host to walking or cycling holidays through the attractive scenery. An annual walking festival has attracted considerable interest. The 70 miles (113 km) Isle of Wight Coastal Path follows the coastline as far as possible, deviating onto roads where the route along the coast is impassable.

A major contributor to the local economy is sailing and marine-related tourism.

Summer Camp at Camp Beaumont is an attraction at the old Bembridge School site.

Transport

Main article: Transport on the Isle of Wight One of the Wightlink FastCats which provide a high-speed ferry service between Portsmouth
Portsmouth
and Ryde
Ryde
. A Southern Vectis bus at Newport bus station.

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
has 489 miles (787 km) of roadway. It does not have a motorway, although there is a short stretch of dual carriageway towards the north of Newport near the hospital and prison.

A comprehensive bus network operated by Southern Vectis links most settlements, with Newport as its central hub.

Journeys away from the island involve a ferry journey. Car ferry and passenger catamaran services are run by Wightlink and Red Funnel , and a hovercraft passenger service (the only such remaining in the world ) by Hovertravel .

The island formerly had its own railway network of over 55 miles (89 km), but only one line remains in regular use. The Island Line is part of the United Kingdom's National Rail
National Rail
network, running a little under 9 miles (14 km) from Shanklin to Ryde
Ryde
Pier Head , where there is a connecting ferry service to Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Harbour station on the mainland network. The line was opened by the Isle of Wight Railway in 1864, and from 1996 to 2007 was run by the smallest train operating company on the network, Island Line Trains . It is notable for utilising old ex- London Underground
London Underground
rolling stock , due to the small size of its tunnels and unmodernised signalling. Branching off the Island Line at Smallbrook Junction is the heritage Isle of Wight Steam Railway , which runs for 5 1⁄2 miles (8.9 km) to the outskirts of Wootton on the former line to Newport.

There are two airfields for general aviation, Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Airport at Sandown
Sandown
and Bembridge
Bembridge
Airport .

The island has over 200 miles (322 km) of cycleways, many of which can be enjoyed off-road. Major Trails are:

* The Sunshine Trail, which is a circular route linking Sandown, Shanklin, Godshill, and Wroxall of 12 miles (19 km); * The Troll Trail between Cowes
Cowes
and Sandown
Sandown
of 13 miles (21 km), 90% off-road; * The Round the Island Cycle Route of 62 miles (100 km).

Media

The main local newspaper is the _ Isle of Wight County Press _, published most Fridays.

The island has one local commercial radio station: Isle of Wight Radio has broadcast in the medium-wave band since 1990 and on 107.0 MHz (with three smaller transmitters on 102.0 MHz) FM since 1998, as well as streaming on the Internet. The island is also covered by a number of local stations on the mainland, including the BBC station BBC Radio Solent broadcast from Southampton
Southampton
.

The island's not-for-profit community radio station Angel Radio opened in 2007. Angel Radio began broadcasting on 91.5 MHz from studios in Cowes
Cowes
and a transmitter near Newport.

Local online radio station Vectis Radio has broadcast since 2010, broadcasting from the Riverside Centre in Newport.

Online news sources for the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
include _On the Wight_ and _The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Chronicle_. _The Chronicle_ was originally an island local paper during the later 19th and early 20th century.

The island has an online 24/7 breaking news source _Island Echo_, which was founded in May 2012.

The island has had community television stations in the past, first TV12 and then Solent TV from 2002 until its closure on 24 May 2007. iWight.tv is a local internet video news channel.

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
is part of the BBC South region and the ITV Meridian region.

Important broadcasting infrastructure includes Chillerton Down transmitting station with a mast that is the tallest structure on the island, and Rowridge transmitting station , which broadcasts the main television signal both locally and for most of Hampshire
Hampshire
and parts of Dorset
Dorset
and West Sussex .

PRISONS

Its separation from the mainland yet being near the densely populated south of England
England
led to it hosting three prisons: Albany , Camp Hill and Parkhurst , all located outside Newport near the main road to Cowes. Albany and Parkhurst were among the few Category
Category
A prisons in the UK until they were downgraded in the 1990s. The downgrading of Parkhurst was precipitated by a major escape: three prisoners (two murderers and a blackmailer) escaped from the prison on 3 January 1995 for four days, before being recaptured. Parkhurst enjoyed notoriety as one of the toughest jails in the United Kingdom, and housed many notable inmates including the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe , New Zealand drug lord Terry Clark and the Kray twins .

Camp Hill is located adjacent but to the west of Albany and Parkhurst, on the very edge of Parkhurst Forest, having been converted first to a borstal and later to a Category
Category
C prison. It was built on the site of an army camp (both Albany and Parkhurst were barracks); there is a small estate of tree-lined roads with the former officers' quarters (now privately owned) to the south and east. Camp Hill closed as a prison in March 2013.

The management of all three prisons was merged into a single administration, under HMP Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
in April 2009.

EDUCATION

Main article: Education on the Isle of Wight

There are sixty-nine Local Education Authority -maintained schools on the Isle of Wight, and two independent schools . As a rural community, many of these are small and with fewer pupils than in urban areas. The Isle of Wight College is located on the outskirts of Newport.

From September 2010, there was a transition period from the three-tier system of primary, middle and high schools to the two-tier system that is usual in England. Some schools have now closed, such as Chale C.E. Primary. Others have become "federated", such as Brading C.E. Primary and St Helen's Primary. Christ the King College started as a "middle school" but has now been converted into a secondary school and sixth form.

Since September 2011 five new secondary schools, with an age range of 11 to 18 years, replaced the island's high schools (as a part of the previous three-tier system).

NOTABLE RESIDENTS

Main article: List of people from the Isle of Wight

Notable residents have included:

17TH CENTURY AND EARLIER

* King Arwald , last pagan king in England * King Charles I of England
England
, who was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle * Viking Earl Tostig Godwinson * actor, highwayman and conspirator Cardell \'Scum\' Goodman * soldier and regicide of Charles I Thomas Harrison , imprisoned at Carisbrooke
Carisbrooke
with John Rogers -webkit-column-count: 2; column-count: 2;">

* Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria
and Prince Albert
Prince Albert
(monarch and consort), who built and lived at Osborne House * photographer Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron
, who lived at Dimbola Lodge * Irish Republican Thomas Clarke * naval captain Jeremiah Coghlan CBG , who retired to Ryde * writer Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
* poet John Keats * inventor and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
* geologist and engineer John Milne * regency architect John Nash * novelist Miss Harriet Parr * early Hong Kong Government administrator William Pedder * New Zealand PM Henry Sewell * poet Algernon Charles Swinburne * poet Alfred Tennyson
Alfred Tennyson
* philosopher Karl Marx
Karl Marx
, who stayed at 1, St. Boniface Gardens, Ventnor * surgeon James Mann Williamson, at the Royal National Hospital, Ventnor

20TH CENTURY ONWARDS

* scriptwriter Raymond Allen * Indie rock group The Bees * concert organist E. Power Biggs * darts player Keegan Brown * inventor of the hovercraft Sir Christopher Cockerell * presenter and actor Ray Cokes * actor Marius Goring * survival expert and Chief Scout Bear Grylls * actress Sheila Hancock * folk-rock musician Robyn Hitchcock * actor Geoffrey Hughes * author and conspiracy theorist David Icke * actor Jeremy Irons * comedian Phill Jupitus * actor Laura Michelle Kelly * Iranian poet Mimi Khalvati
Mimi Khalvati
* musician Mark King * radio presenter Allan Lake * writer James Leavey * musician Jack Green * yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur * film director Anthony Minghella * actor David Niven * cyclist Kieran Page * TV personality Anneka Rice * heptathlete Kelly Sotherton * gardener and presenter Alan Titchmarsh

PLACES OF INTEREST

KEY

Abbey/Priory/Cathedral

Accessible open space

Amusement/Theme Park

Castle

Country Park

English Heritage

Forestry Commission

Heritage railway

Historic House

Museum (free/not free)

National Trust

Theatre

Zoo

* Alum Bay * Appuldurcombe House * Amazon World Zoo * Bembridge
Bembridge
Lifeboat Station * Blackgang Chine * Brading Roman Villa * Carisbrooke Castle
Carisbrooke Castle
* Classic Boat Museum , East Cowes * Dimbola Lodge * Dinosaur
Dinosaur
Isle * Fort Victoria * Godshill village and model village * Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
Bus ">

OVERSEAS NAMES

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
has given names to many parts of former colonies, most notably Isle of Wight County in Virginia
Virginia
founded by settlers from the island in the 17th century. Its county seat is a town named Isle of Wight.

Other notable examples include:

* Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
- an island off Maryland, United States * Dunnose Head, West Falkland * Ventnor, Cowes
Cowes
on Philip Island , Victoria, Australia * Carisbrook, Victoria , Australia * Carisbrook , a former stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand * Ryde, New South Wales , Australia * Shanklin, Sandown, New Hampshire
Hampshire
, United States * Ventnor City , New Jersey, United States * Gardiners Island , New York, United States shown as "Isle of Wight" on some of the older maps.

MEDIA REFERENCES

FILM

* The film _ Something to Hide _ (1972; US title _Shattered_), starring Peter Finch, was filmed near Cowes, including a scene on the Red Funnel ferry; * The British film _That\'ll Be the Day _ (1973), starring David Essex
Essex
and Ringo Starr , included scenes shot in Ryde
Ryde
(notably Cross Street), Sandown
Sandown
(school), Shanklin (beach) and Wootton Bridge (fairground); * _Mrs. Brown _ (1997), with Dame Judi Dench and Billy Connolly, was filmed at Osborne and Chale; * The film _Fragile _ (2005), starring Calista Flockhart , is based on the Isle of Wight.

GAMES

* John Worsley's Commodore 64 game _ Spirit of the Stones _ was set on the Isle of Wight.

LITERATURE

The Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
was:

* the setting of Julian Barnes 's novel _England, England
England
_; * called _The Island_ in some editions of Thomas Hardy 's novels in his fictional Wessex ; * selected for the development of a new base by the supercomputer 'Colossus', in D. F. Jones ' novel _Colossus _ (1966); * the setting for D.H. Lawrence 's book _The Trespasser _, filmed for TV on location in 1981; * the setting of Graham Masterton 's book _Prey_; * mentioned in J.K. Rowling 's first Harry Potter
Harry Potter
book, which refers to Uncle Vernon's sister Marge on holiday on the island, who got sick after eating a whelk; * a major element in Daniel O'Malley's series The Rook (2012) * the refuge of the British monarchy * one of the destinations to which the British government evacuates in Frank Tayell's post-apocalyptic novel _Surviving the Evacuation Book One: London_ (2013), guided by the mistaken impression that it would be defensible against the zombie hordes; * featured in John Wyndham 's novel _ The Day of the Triffids _ and Simon Clark 's sequel _ The Night of the Triffids _.

MUSIC

* The Beatles
The Beatles
' song "When I\'m Sixty-Four " (1967), credited to Lennon-McCartney and sung by Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney
, refers to renting a cottage on the island; * Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
recorded " Like a Rolling Stone " (1965), "Minstrel Boy", " Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) " (1967), and "She Belongs to Me " (1965) for the album _Self Portrait _ (1970) live on the island; * " Wight Is Wight " (1969), a song by French artist Michel Delpech , also spawned an Italian cover by Dik Dik , titled "L\'isola di Wight"(IT) (1970).

RADIO

* There was a running joke in radio sitcom _ The Navy Lark _ involving Sub-Lieutenant Phillips's inability to navigate and subsequently tail the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
ferry.

TELEVISION

* ITV's dramatisation of Dennis Potter 's work _Blade on the Feather _ (19 October 1980) was filmed on the island; * A 2002 _Top Gear _ feature showed an Aston Martin
Aston Martin
being driven around Cowes, East Cowes, and along the Military Road and seawall at Freshwater Bay.

SEE ALSO

* Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
portal

* List of civil parishes on the Isle of Wight * List of places on the Isle of Wight * List of current places of worship on the Isle of Wight * List of High Sheriffs of the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
* List of Lord Lieutenants of the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
* List of Governors of the Isle of Wight * List of hills of the Isle of Wight * Isle of Wight gasification facility * Isle of Wight NHS Trust * Isle of Wight Rifles * Yaverland Battery

NOTES

* ^ As well as the former Princess Beatrice during World War II, most otherwise notable was Lord Mountbatten in 1969–1974, after which he became Lord Lieutenant until his assassination in 1979.

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* Hansard , Wednesday 14 November 2001 column 850

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