The Isle of Wight Society

December 2023

Celebrating fifty years of building Conservation on the Island

In 1973 the Isle of Wight Society presented their first Conservation Award.  This was to the newly restored Brigstock Terrace, Ryde.  This impressive terrace, originally houses, stands proudly looking seaward towards Portsmouth.  It was built in 1832 and time had taken its toll.  The building was carefully restored into apartments, and the Isle of Wight Society wanted to congratulate the owner and builders who had completed the work.

A Conservation Award has been made nearly every year since 1973. There has been so much excellent work on the Island in the last fifty years to celebrate.  

Rural buildings, such as barns, a gin house (where a patient horse walked round and round operating machinery), hop kilns and stables have been carefully restored.  Some still serve their original use.  Others have been converted to new uses, but the character of the farm and countryside is still preserved by their conservation.

Bridllesford Hop Kilns, now converted to a Farm Heritage Centre

In Island towns and villages, the character of the built environment is most important.  Much Island stonework has been conserved, using lime mortar and the correct techniques.  Many old churches have benefitted from the attention of our excellent Island craftsmen, stonemasons and stained glass glaziers.  Cottages have been restored from crumbling ruins to characterful homes.

Whitwell Church restored stonework and walling.

The street scene has often been preserved in a way that matches the local buildings, even when new buildings or terraces have been constructed.   Sometimes a new construction can make its own contribution to an already varied street scene, and not be out of character.

St Nicholas Place, Newport, a new terrace of houses matching the existing street scene.

Attention to small details is often very important when restoration, extension, or conservation takes place.  Decorative brickwork may need to be replaced, either by finding the right bricks in a reclamation yard, or having the exact match specially made.

New brick work on the East Cowes Coastguard Lookout on the esplanade.

Railway stations, both in current use and on lines long since closed, all have a distinctive style of architecture.  Yarmouth Station even had a signal box added when it was restored – which makes an excellent bird observatory today!  At Brading the original signal box has been carefully preserved, although it is no longer required by Island Line.

Yarmouth Station restored with a new signal box.

Ryde Cemetery chapels, carefully restored.

The Society is now looking for entrants for their 2024 Conservation awards, which will be presented at Northwood House next June.  Grand houses or small cottages, a simple stone wall or a small in character extension to an old house, a new build or conversion – anything can be considered.  There are Certificates for various categories, including small projects.   

At the same time, RIBA IoW will be presenting their New Build Award to RIBA architects.

All the details for both Awards can be found on the Isle of Wight Society website  together with the entry form – just go to the Conservation Awards page.  Entries must be complete by 31st December 2023 and entries must be submitted by 1st March 2024.

Help us to celebrate the best of the recent Conservation work on the Island.  Will your conservation work be a winner in 2024?

Sarah Burdett

[Go Back]

Isle of Wight Society
East Cowes Heritage Centre, 8 Clarence Road
East Cowes, PO32 6EP

Tel: +44 (0) 1983 280310

Website design by Netguides