East Cowes

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Coordinates: 50°45′25″N 1°17′11″W / 50.757079°N 1.286522°W / 50.757079; -1.286522

East Cowes
East Cowes fingerpost.JPG
East Cowes Town Centre.
East Cowes is located in Isle of Wight
East Cowes
East Cowes
 East Cowes shown within the Isle of Wight
Population 6,166 [1]
OS grid reference SZ493958
Unitary authority Isle of Wight
Ceremonial county Isle of Wight
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town EAST COWES
Postcode district PO32
Police Hampshire
Fire Isle of Wight
Ambulance Isle of Wight
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Isle of Wight
List of places
UK
England
Isle of Wight

East Cowes is a town and civil parish[2] to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes.

The two towns are connected by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry operated by the Isle of Wight Council which runs continuously between the two towns.

East Cowes is the site of Norris Castle, and Osborne House, the former summer residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Prince had a major influence on the architecture of the area, for example on the building of St Mildred's Church in Whippingham near East Cowes, which features distinctive turrets imitating those found on a German castle.

History[edit]

The name Estcowe (East Cowes) originally comes from one of two sandbanks each side of the River Medina estuary, so called after a supposed likeness to cows. The name was subsequently transferred to fortifications built during the reign of Henry VIII on the east bank to dispel a French invasion, referred to as cowforts or cowes, which subsequently gave the name to the town. The naming of Cowes was done in a similar fashion. They replaced the earlier name of Shamblord.

The settlement of Shamblord at East Cowes was first recorded in 1303. It grew as East Shamblord, and became a much more significant settlement than the Western Shamblord. As the Isle of Wight was the target of frequent French invasions, with some notable incursions, the fort built at East Cowes was later destroyed and should not be confused with East Cowes Castle built subsequently by John Nash.

During the reign of Queen Victoria, who made her summer home at Osborne by acquiring and rebuilding Osborne House, East Cowes was the subject of planned estate of grand houses, groves and parks. The scheme, not finding the finances it needed, was folded, but a few residences built in the early stages still survive to this day such as the former Albert Grove residences of Kent House and Powys House on York Avenue.

In East Cowes Norris Castle was designed in the Norman style by James Wyatt in the late eighteenth century. The building survives and today remains a private home. In 1798, the architect John Nash, began building his home, East Cowes Castle, where he later entertained the Prince Consort and other prominent guests. East Cowes Castle was notable for its Gothic towers and turrets, and elaborate castellation. Nash died in 1835 and is buried in the tower of East Cowes Church which he also designed. East Cowes Castle was demolished during the 1960s, although the ice house remains and is visible in Sylvan Avenue. Cowes and East Cowes became a single urban district in 1933.

The Union Flag hangar

During World War II, both Cowes and East Cowes became the targets of frequent bombing due to its industry and proximity to Southampton and the Royal Navy's home at Portsmouth. The shipyard of J. Samuel White was badly damaged by air attack in early May 1942 but, when rebuilt, innovative ship construction methods had been introduced. The first warship completed by the renewed yard was HMS Cavalier. During the air raid, the local defences had been fortuitously augmented by the Polish destroyer Blyskawica (itself built by White's), which put up such a determined defence that, in 2002, the crew's courage was honoured by a local commemoration lasting several days to mark the 60th anniversary of the event. Later in 2004, and over to the west, an area of Cowes was named Francki Place in honour of the ship's commander.[3]

To celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Queen's coronation in 1977, the main hangar doors of what was then the British Hovercraft Corporation (a successor to Saunders Roe) were painted with the world's largest image of the Union Flag, which can still be seen today.[4]

Transport[edit]

East Cowes is linked to the mainland by Red Funnel’s vehicle ferry service. The Cowes Floating Bridge links East Cowes with Cowes throughout the day. It is a chain ferry, and is one of the few remaining not to be replaced by a physical bridge.

Southern Vectis operate bus route 4 linking the town with Ryde and bus routes 5 and 25 linking the town with Newport including intermediate villages.[5]

The Isle of Wight Coastal Path runs through East Cowes.[6]

Industry[edit]

Saunders Roe East Cowes works in 1954 with Princess flying-boat

Local industry in both Cowes and East Cowes has always centred on the building and design of marine craft and materials associated with boatmaking, including the early flying boats, and sailmaking.

East Cowes was also once home to the aircraft manufacturer Saunders Roe, who built the large, advanced, flying boat The Saunders-Roe Princess, as well as the Black Knight rocket and the Black Arrow satellite carrier rocket. They also developed and tested the first hovercraft, the SR.N1.

The former Saunders-Roe factory at Venture Quays, which still boasts the world's largest Union Flag, now produces wind turbines, which can be seen laid on the quay for shipping out. Due to local objections no wind turbines have been allowed to be erected on the Isle of Wight.

Sport and leisure[edit]

East Cowes has a Non-League football club East Cowes Victoria Athletic A.F.C., which plays at Beatrice Avenue.

Famous residents[edit]

Redevelopment Project[edit]

The progress as of the new East Cowes Waitrose store which is now open.

The East Cowes Redevelopment Project was set up by SEEDA for the flagship project for the Cowes Waterfront Initiate, this includes redeveloping the town centre of East Cowes. Thus creating better employment opportunities and create a better environment for residents & visitors alike. This also includes a unique opportunity to make East Cowes better and creating better investment for businesses alike.

On the 6th April 2010 worked started on the new Waitrose store which is situated on Well Road on the old site of the hovercraft development building. Recruitment for jobs for the new Waitrose Store started during August/September 2010 there were 160 jobs going throughout the store and over 800 people applied.

Also part of the redevelopment included building more houses known as "Victoria Walk" and David Wilson[7] was chosen to be the builder, advertising boards have been placed on Old Road in East Cowes with building work to commence very soon.

In 2013 work began to create a new 300 berth marina inside a new breakwater. The plan includes a new hotel, restaurant and 100 new homes.

During August 2012 a new Medical Centre opened at Church Path near to Waitrose. The former Medical Centre at Down House, York Avenue was closed.[8]

Council Library Cuts[edit]

During December 2010, under a cost cutting plan by the Isle of Wight Council it was decided most local libraries would close in March 2011 across the Island with just Newport & Ryde remaining open. Sandown, Cowes, Ventnor & Freshwater remained opened til March 2012 whilst community groups were sought to continue the upkeep and running of the libraries.

East Cowes was among one set to close in March 2011, luckily being saved by East Cowes Town Council who asked for volunteers to continue running the library. It remains at the town centre premises near to Co-Op with an outlook to move to newer premises in the near future, whilst under the Council ownership it opened around 30 hours a week which was cut to around 12 hours per week.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2001 Census Neighbourhood Statistics - Civil Parishes on the Isle of Wight". www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  2. ^ "English Parishes & Welsh Communities N&C 2004". www.statistics.gov.uk. Retrieved 2007-05-03. 
  3. ^ "Special celebration of ship that saved Cowes". Isle of Wight County Press. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  4. ^ "BBC H2G2 - East Cowes, Isle of Wight". BBC. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  5. ^ "Southern Vectis bus routes". www.islandbuses.info. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  6. ^ "About Britain - Isle of Wight Coastal Path". www.aboutbritain.com. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 
  7. ^ David Wilson Homes. "David Wilson Homes". David Wilson Homes. David WIison Homes. Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Island Pulse: New medical centre to open in East Cowes

External links[edit]