Explore life afloat in Bembridge at heritage society's exhibition next week

·2-min read
Launching the Queen Victoria lifeboat at Bembridge. Photo: Bembridge Heritage.
Launching the Queen Victoria lifeboat at Bembridge. Photo: Bembridge Heritage.

Bembridge Heritage will be holding its annual exhibition — Bembridge Afloat — in Bembridge Village Hall from next Thursday to Saturday (August 11-13).

The exhibition will be open from 10am to 4pm each day and admission is free.

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The exhibition will feature displays from the Bembridge Heritage archives with contributions from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s Secrets of the Solent initiative and material from the Bembridge Sailing Club archives.

Local author, diver and former lifeboat coxswain Martin Woodward will sign copies of his recent book, The Forgotten Shipwreck.

Isle of Wight County Press: Messrs Mursell and Caws setting off to go fishing. Photo: Bembridge Heritage.
Isle of Wight County Press: Messrs Mursell and Caws setting off to go fishing. Photo: Bembridge Heritage.

Messrs Mursell and Caws setting off to go fishing. Photo: Bembridge Heritage.

Visitors can dip into the Bembridge Heritage database with more than 7,000 images to view, and there will be local history books for sale, a tombola and refreshments.

Once an island off an island, Bembridge has been, and still is, heavily influenced by the sea.

The sheltered waters of Brading Haven proved an attraction for early invaders and defenders and the village began as a collection of hamlets with few inhabitants, earning their living from the land and sea.

The coming of the railway, with the construction of the Embankment to form Bembridge Harbour, was a massive influence, sparking rapid and dramatic changes to the village in Victorian times.

Bembridge has developed into a popular and thriving village where the influence of the sea plays a major role for business and leisure.

Bembridge Heritage is the custodian of the community archive. This exhibition will focus on how the sea has shaped the story of Bembridge over time.

Displays will feature building and servicing boats for work and leisure, fishing, smuggling, shipwrecks and the story of the local lifeboat.

The beaches have attracted visitors for decades with regattas, sailing and building sandcastles still part of the appeal and this is explored too.

Like reading stories about the Isle of Wight and its characters in bygone days? Click here to visit our Looking Back section for more interesting tales.