Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Isle of Wight, England

More postcards bringing back memories, this time from England. This is from a favourites swap with dear Jane. Back in 1998 (it's been so long!) I went on a language course on the Isle of Wight, and while it wasn't always too fantastic, I still really liked it there and got to visit lots of wonderful places and experience a bit of English life. My host family (a couple in their 20s with two (or three?) small children) lived in East Cowes, right in the north of the island in a terraced house, which at the time I thought was really fascinating (maybe that's partly why I still wouldn't mind living in one??). I remember visiting Ryde a few times, as well as Newport, plus Sandown, Shanklin and Alum Bay, possibly other places as well (Ventnor sounds familiar).

The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island in England, located in the English Channel, on average about 3–7 km off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent. The Island has many resorts which have been holiday destinations since Victorian times.

The Island has a rich history, including a brief status as an independent kingdom in the 15th century. Until 1995, like Jersey and Guernsey, the Island had its own Governor—most notably Lord Mountbatten from 1969 to 1974, after which he became Lord Lieutenant until his assassination in 1979.

The Isle of Wight was home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson, and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. The Island's maritime and industrial history encompasses boat building, sail making, the manufacture of flying boats, the world's first hovercraft and the testing and development of Britain's space rockets. It is home to the Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival, Bestival and the recently revived Isle of Wight Festival, which, in 1970, was the largest rock music event ever held. The Island has some exceptional wildlife and is one of the richest locations of dinosaur fossils in Europe.

No comments: