The Permanent Exhibitions

A permanent exhibition is set up in the ground floor of the shop looking at the development of the town since 1700. It covers many aspects of the town and includes information about East Cowes Castle, Osborne House and there are models of the town’s development. Ship, Aircraft and Hovercraft production are shown with photographs and models.

Other aspects, including Queen Victoria and her estate, shops, schools and everyday life plus East Cowes’ role in WW2 and the development of rockets and satellites.

Temporary Exhibitions

Temporary exhibitions are usually mounted on at least four topics through the year, with interesting window displays frequently changed for the passing public. A large range of files on all subjects to do with East Cowes is available for visitors to look at. During Covid conditions the temporary indoor exhibitions have been put on hold.

We sometimes hold separate, large exhibitions at the Town Hall, such as “The effect of Victoria and Albert living at East Cowes” shown in 2019. The plan for 2022 is: If we cannot be fully open we will be placing the material in the windows.


East Cowes Heritage is commemorating 70 years since the death of King George VI with a feature in the window of the Centre.

King George (Albert) spent the first two years of his formal education here in East Cowes. He attended the Osborne Royal Naval College from January 1909 until December 1910.  This was the start of his training to become a Naval Officer, and with the rest of his cohort then went on to Britannia College, Dartmouth.

While in East Cowes, young Albert had not only a general education, with a focus on mathematics, but also regular sessions in engineering and seamanship.  ORNC had been set up quickly in 1903 to introduce engineering to every aspiring young naval officer, whether they wanted to be engineering officers or not.  The Royal Navy had finally woken up to the fact that the days of sail were past, and the engines were a very important part of the modern navy.  

The engineering works were beside the River Medina at Kingston, on the site of the present Cowes Harbour Commission site next to the Power Station.  Here the boys learned all about engines and boilers, turning metal on lathes, working in the foundry and other exciting tasks.   

Cadets’ Walk is the route of their march to the works from the college.  A first-hand account stated that the boys looked very neat and tidy on the way to the works, but rather messy as they returned back to college!

February 2022 window display marking the death of King George VI
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