Secret Isle of Wight by Andy Bull


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The Isle of Wight, lying off the south coast of England, has been a popular tourist destination for 200 years but has played an important role in the history of Britain for centuries. It was settled by Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, and following the Norman Conquest it became a kingdom in its own right for two centuries. After the Reformation the Worsley family became governors of the island, transforming Appuldurcombe Priory into the family home, but misfortune was to haunt them and the house over ensuing centuries.

The island was transformed by royal patronage, George IV supporting the Royal Yacht Club and Victoria making Osborne her favoured retreat, and the island was home to many famous names in the Victorian world including Tennyson. The island has also been at the forefront of technology and defence with the world’s first radio station, established by Marconi, and the development of Britain’s Black Knight ballistic missile and Black Arrow space rocket. As well as all this, the island’s story includes the remarkable tale of how Bob Dylan was persuaded to play the Isle of Wight Festival instead of Woodstock and much more.

With tales of remarkable characters, unusual events and tucked-away or vanished historical buildings and locations, Secret Isle of Wight will appeal to all those with an interest in the history of this unique island across the Solent.


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